One of the toughest times of year for family members following divorce is the holiday season. Let’s face it, it’s a challenge for parents to create new traditions and to let go of grudges and bad memories of past holidays. For the recently divorced parent, the holidays can be an emotional, stressful, and perhaps a lonely time of year – especially if they don’t have new traditions and support systems in place.
For children and adolescents, the holiday season can remind them that their family is now divided and can elicit loyalty conflicts because they may feel that they are pulled in every direction and will ultimately disappoint both of their parents. Children may worry that they won’t get their needs met and they can benefit from new traditions and activities to replace the memories of holidays in the past. Young children may be particularly vulnerable during the holiday season post-divorce because they crave and thrive with predictability and routine – which go out the window this time of year.
First and foremost, you need to do everything in your power not to intensify your children’s loyalty conflicts during the holiday season.
It’s wise to be flexible and understanding as you negotiate schedules – your children may feel torn between their parents’ two disparate worlds. Show compassion for your kids if they seem stressed or worried. Remind them that it’s normal to feel more stress this time of year and you will help them to navigate through rocky patches any way you can.
Story via movingpastdivorce.com