First Holiday After a Divorce: Tips on How to Care for Your Child and YourselfBy Moskowitz Law Group, LLC |
Following a divorce, the health, happiness, and safety of your family are the top priorities. While the holidays are designed to be a time of enjoyment, they can end up being stressful, difficult, and lonely for so many people. These emotions may be heightened after going through the process of a divorce.
Here are several ways you can make it through the holiday season while keeping yourself and your family happy and healthy.
Open Communication with Everyone Involved
Before the season begins, it is important to prepare your child for what the holidays may look like. Refer to your holiday parenting time schedule so you know what to expect. Avoid hiding any details about what things may be different. It won’t be the same, but let your child know that it can still be fun. Remind them that spending time with family is the most important part of the holiday season, no matter which side of the family they may be spending it with. Let them know of any changes to the usual holiday plans they have always known as soon as they are finalized and reassure them that both of their parents still deeply love them and care for them.
Encouraging an open and honest flow of thoughts and feelings with your child can help tremendously. It is also important that you and your ex discuss the arrangements ahead of time so nothing you do violates custody agreements or goes against what you had previously planned for the holidays. It may not be easy to freely communicate with your ex based on the situation you were in before the divorce, so make sure you are safe and mentally prepared to have a mature conversation about the safety and wellbeing of your child.
Rely On Your Family
The holidays are centered around being with family and being grateful for the people in your life. The situation in your own family may have changed over the past year, but they are not the only people you’ve got. Ask your parents, siblings, or cousins what plans they have for the holidays. You can still surround yourself with people you love this holiday season, even if your usual plans and traditions must change due to your custody agreement. It is also a great way for your child to build on their relationships with extended family.
Family doesn’t have to be biological. Your friends can also be a support system during this difficult period. Your friends are a fantastic resource for you to trust and confide in about any personal details about your new setup. Spending time with them and your child over the holidays may be a good option if biological relatives do not live within traveling distance. This way, you and your child will not have to spend time alone and still get that feeling of togetherness with others over the holidays. This may also be a good option if it is your ex’s turn to have your child on a holiday.
Create New Traditions
While the holidays are a time to embrace and participate in your traditional holiday activities, some of them may need to be put on hold or modified while your family finds their new normal. However, there are so many ways to create new traditions. Ideally, a tradition is a simple holiday-themed activity with other people, like baking sweet treats together or going for walks to look at all the lights in the neighborhood. Find new ways to create lasting memories together with your children.
Seek Professional Support
Speaking with a therapist or counselor can be a wonderful way for you and your child to navigate through negative emotions that may arise during these winter months. Divorce isn’t an easy thing for anyone to manage. So developing these skills with a professional is one of the best ways to ensure your mental health is protected and strengthened. Speak with a family lawyer at Moskowitz Law Group if you have any questions about your custody arrangement and how to handle the holiday season.