Lessening Stress on Children of Divorce During Holidays
With the holidays in full swing, there’s going to be a plentiful amount of food, family, and stress. For some, it could be relieving to not have to spend this time with the family. For others however, these gatherings can be extremely stressful, especially for children of divorced parents. Each parent might have certain expectations for the day and how it’s supposed to play out that are impossible for a child to fulfill. Here are a few tips that might help reduce the anxiety that the child may feel.
Share a meal. Try cooking with your child and making something that they can bring to the other parent’s house. For example, you could make a pumpkin pie or some turkey stuffing together the day before or day of that the child can bring to the other house. This allows the child to show the other parent that even when away, they aren’t leaving the other parent behind.
Be understanding. Try to sympathize with your child and realize that there’s nothing worse for a child than if they think they are going to leave one of the parents alone on a holiday. If it’s a split location holiday and they have to go to the other house, be strong, understand they feel torn too, and keep your emotions in check. Let them know you’re going to be fine and that you want them to have a good time.
Avoid competition. Try to not duplicate holiday meals or activities where the intent is to outperform the other. As difficult as it may be to accomplish, everyone wants to relax during the holidays. If each parent tries to outshine the other with overly extravagant meals or activities, it can add pressure to reassure the parents that they are having a good time. Sometimes, less is more.
Start new traditions. This can also be a perfect time to start new traditions. Adding a new and unique activity or even rearranging an old routine can open the day up for all kinds of possibilities. That new thing can become something the child attaches new memories to.
Try to incorporate some of these tips into your holiday season, and help your child create memories they can cherish forever.
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