Divorce can be stressful for children as their lives begin to dramatically change from what they were before their parents decided to separate. The holidays can be an exceptionally difficult time because they are often focused around family traditions and rituals. When one parent is suddenly missing from the festivities, it can be an emotional time for children of divorce.
The author of “Simply Parenting” gives parents either going through a divorce suggestions on how to keep a child’s focus on the holiday celebrations. The first suggestion that the author makes is to think of the children first. Although most parents already put their children first in their lives, the holidays are a good time to put a little extra effort into the goal.
Parents can also create some of the family unity that is lost when one parent cannot attend the celebrations by scheduling phone time between the child and the missing parent. Although it may be difficult to do, mom or dad can help the child buy or make a small present that the child can give to the other spouse when they reunite. Even though the husband-wife relationship is ending, it is important to remember that the parent-child relationship will continue.
Planning is one of the most important tools that a parent has to keep the holidays free of conflict. If both parents can work out a detailed schedule sufficiently before the holidays they may be able to avoid some of the stress on the children that miscommunication can lead to. Lastly, it is important to keep to the schedule that you have planned together.
Source: wptv.com “Keeping the ‘joy’ in the holiday season for families of divorce” Connie Colla 12/15/10