Surviving the holidays after or during a divorce can be a very difficult time. This is especially true if you have children. Here a couple tips to make surviving the season a bit earlier.
1) Remember, Christmas is only 1 day of the year.
2) Schedule changes in parenting time over Christmas break as early as possible so there are not disputes in the middle of the holidays.
3) If you cannot agree, get a nuetral third party, like a trained mediator, to assist you in reaching a quick resoluton.
4) DO NOT let your children see conflict between you. They will be hurt by it regardless of the result.
5) Encourage your children to see the other parent and enjoy the holidays with them. In fact, be the better person and encourage your children to make a special gift for the other parent. It will make them feel better and often relieve a great deal of the holiday tension. Do not make it about being the better Santa, the more fun parent, or the better friend.
6) Even if you are despressed about the breakup, get out there and try to remain upbeat. Go to hoiday parties, get together with friends, and seek out support groups if you need a little more push. Our resources page with counseling resources has a number of professionals who run regular support groups for divorced parties.
7) Dont forget your children will also have feelings of loss during the holidays. Encourage them to talk about their feelings. Check in with them every day to make sure they are doing okay. Nothing intense, but just sharing a moment of knowing you care is very powerful.
8) Loss of family traditions can leave an empty feeling. So start new ones. A few examples could be chocolate fondue on Christmas eve or night, stringing candy strings for the tree, making homemade ornaments, a growing wrapping paper chain with the leftovers as you wrap presents for people, or any other new creation you can think of.
9) Finances are often strained during separation. You can still plan joint gifts with your ex for the larger gifts for your children.
10) Give yourself a gift. You deserve it.
11) Volunteer at a shelter or agency that needs assistance. Most are understaffed and overtaxed this time of year. You will feel the real spirit of Christmas helping out others in need this tiem of year.
Happy Holiday from everyone at Mediation Partners