Easing the Stress for Divorced Parents & Their Children
The holiday season is here, meaning many divorced parents are preparing themselves and their children for what’s to come. The reality is that many visitation and child custody schedules restrict divorced parents from spending time with their children during the holidays, making it challenging for them to keep their spirits bright while bearing the burdens of their divorce.
If you are unable to see your children during the holidays this year, you are not alone. Nearly 800,000 US couples are divorced, therefore it’s fair to say that thousands of parents are in your shoes. As such, our Dutchess County divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC are here to help alleviate some of the stress and emotional trauma you may be experiencing as you brace yourself for the holiday season.
The considerations below are not legal advice by any means but rather intended for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or want to speak with our family lawyer about your situation, please contact us at (845) 605-4330. With that being said, we encourage you to read the 5 tips below to help prepare you for the holidays without your children.
Reach out to friends and family
Although you may not have your children around this holiday season, that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Consider contacting your friends and family and invite them over for dinner, suggest going holiday shopping together, or simply meet up for coffee with them. Doing this will serve as an important reminder of all the wonderful people you have in your life who will be there for you through good times and bad.
Be kind to yourself
Oftentimes, divorced parents can be their own worst enemies during the holidays, especially when they don’t have custody of their kids during this time. If you are in this position this year, remember that you have the power to shift your perspective to a more optimistic, gentle frame of mind. Rather than beating yourself up for things you can’t control, treat yourself better than that, and participate in self-care activities. Such activities may include sleeping in, exercising, reading a book, cooking a nice meal, getting a massage, and watching your favorite movie.
Validate your children’s feelings
While the holidays are difficult for divorced parents, they are even more difficult for children of divorced parents. Your children may be feeling sad, angry, and confused as they try to navigate the holidays without both parents in the picture, which is why it may help to recognize their feelings, so they feel understood. Rather than saying “At least you get two holiday celebrations,” consider shifting the narrative to “I understand that you are feeling sad about not seeing me this year” or “How can I help make this holiday special for you despite the circumstances?”
Do not make your children feel guilty
Whether they realize it or not, many divorced parents make their children feel guilty about spending the holidays without them. Although children do not always get to choose who gets custody of them, it is crucial to avoid “guilt-tripping” them, as it will only add to the guilt they’re likely feeling already. It is common for divorced parents to lightly say things like “It will be lonely without you” and “I wish you could spend the holidays with me instead of Mommy/Daddy,” but in the interests of the children, it’s best to avoid saying those things altogether.
Create new holiday traditions
Every family has their own holiday traditions, so when a divorce changes those traditions, it will help to establish new ones. If you choose to do this, it may help strengthen your relationship with your children because your new holiday traditions will be tailored to your unique family dynamic and yours alone. It will also help get your children’s minds off of the idea that their family picture is “incomplete” this holiday season.
Providing Legal Support During Life’s Toughest Times
We understand that nothing can prepare you for a holiday celebration without your children, but fortunately, there are ways to help you regain some peace of mind. By considering the 5 tips above as you enter the holiday season, you will be able to navigate your circumstances confidently and realistically, managing your expectations well enough to better avoid feeling disappointed.
With this advice in mind, we invite you to schedule a consultation at (845) 605-4330 to get answers to your questions from our tried-and-true family attorneys.