During the holidays, the losses from divorce can too easily become the focus, causing negative emotions to escalate. Over time, families can overcome these strong negative emotions. But, during the painful early stages of the divorce process, tension is high and emotions are often too confused to expect everything to go smoothly. Here are some tips to help you avoid conflict and manage activities in a way that results in a happier holiday season for everyone involved.
1. Do Not Put Your Children in Situations in which They are Forced to Choose Between Mom and Dad.
Overall, children and parents all benefit most when holidays and other special occasions are amenably and equally shared. Of course, children’s ages and the travel distance between the two parents’ homes will much determine how kids’ time can be most realistically divided between homes during holidays.
2. It’s Not Too Early to Collaborate with Your Ex-Spouse, as Divorced Parents Must, to Plan in Advance for Managing Holiday Logistics.
Create some new holiday traditions by obtaining buy-in from extended family members, and letting your children choose some activities. Since children have little or no control over holiday schedules set for them, allowing them to participate in the decision-making about their activities can help them look forward to family holidays, instead of dreading conflicts and imposed changes.
3. Prioritize Maintaining a Sense of Continuity for Your Children through the Holidays, Although Changes are Inevitable During Divorce.
While some traditions may have to change due to the divorce, preserve those that can be kept. Give children openings to talk about how they’re feeling, and about their hopes and desires. Let them know that you recognize the difficulties they’re experiencing. And, structure their days and events in ways that lend them the strongest sense of security and the best opportunities to happily share holidays and build important family traditions with both parents.
4.Keep Perspective that Your Children Need to Feel Free to Enjoy their Time with Both Parents, without Feeling Guilty or Worrying about Your Emotional State.
For parents going through divorce, the holidays can bring on an even greater sense of loneliness and sadness, especially while the children are away with the other parent. Let your children know that you will be just fine while they are with their other parent, and that you will be thinking about them and hoping they are having a great time. Ensure that your children are not made to feel responsible for your happiness or emotional stability. And, plan to spend time with family or friends during this time, to help you enjoy your own time while the kids are with their other parent.
5. Of Course, it’s Important for your Children’s Optimal Emotional and Social Development that they Have the Benefit of a Healthy Network of Family and Friends Involved in their Lives.
Ensure that your kids connect with their siblings, grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts, friends, school peers, and others for holiday celebrations. This helps them grow to appreciate the support of their wider community. And, it helps remind you of the value of your own support system and that you do not have to go through divorce alone.
Remember What the Holidays are Truly About
Going through the divorce process naturally causes intense feelings of sadness and anger. And, the holidays can bring on even stronger negative emotions. Keep in mind what is really most important during the holidays. Divorce is a rough process. But, let yourself enjoy this time for sharing love and kindness and creating special memories with, and for, your children and extended family members.
Finally, don’t forget that holidays are usually not perfect. It’s more normal for even one or two seemingly important things to slip through the cracks. Make a To Do list, know you’ve done the best you can, and let that be enough. Enjoying being together is the important memory to make for your family and yourself.
Attorney David Pedrazas, Salt Lake City UT
Attorney David Pedrazas is a Salt Lake City divorce lawyer who helps families through the process of separation and divorce. He and his devoted professional team are dedicated to providing you with the real help you need in order to move past the difficult period of divorce and on to your new future of happier times, beyond divorce. The goal of the Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC is to help clients make well-informed decisions that lead toward the best possible outcomes for themselves and their families.
David Pedrazas is recognized among Salt Lake City’s best divorce attorneys. He has been selected for the following honors:
- National Academy of Family Law Association—Top 10 Attorneys in Salt Lake City, UT.
- American Academy of Trial Attorneys—Premier Top 100 Trial Attorneys in Family & Divorce.
- American Institute of Family Law— one of the 10 Best Divorce Attorneys, in both 2014 and 2015.
For More Information
If you need more information about managing your separation and divorce, or to make an appointment for a Legal Case Review, contact the Law Office of David Pedrazas. Just call (801) 263-7078. We’re here to answer all of your questions.