Divorce and the Holidays
Whether or not a family is going through a divorce, the holidays can be a stressful time. For families who have experienced loss and trauma, the entire holiday season can be full of frustration and tension, rather than the usual joy that their friends and neighbors experience. It can be hardest for the children, some of whom may still be reeling from the divorce or are in the midst of a confusing and chaotic time. Because much of the focus during this time is family togetherness - festivities, eating, drinking, and spending time together – it can make formerly fond memories of a family that is no longer together very painful.
Overcoming Holiday Blues
Many families rely on tradition: for example, baking cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. For some, it is a welcome, familiar comfort. However, trying to replicate something that holds so much weight in a child’s memory can be could be even more upsetting when it fails to live up to their expectations.
Consider creating new traditions: taking a trip somewhere where you and the children haven’t been. Begin a new activity that bonds the family together that is also stress-free. Try not to dwell on residual, bitter feelings. Though they may still be there, you do not want those negative emotions to spiral out of control or affect your children’s new holiday traditions.
Maintain a Support System
Do not be ashamed to look to others for support: friends, family, neighbors, pastor, or others in your community. Money can be tight around the holidays, particularly when you are going through or have been through a divorce. You should not have to feel obligated to shower your children with lavish gifts or throw large parties—keeping it simple will make the celebration all the more meaningful as you build a new life.