Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, filling some newly-divorced men and women with anxiety or sadness – especially those who will not be spending the day with their kids.
Many couples say one of the toughest parts of divorce is navigating the holidays. Having to share the children on these special days can be especially painful. But like everything else, life after divorce can be a beautiful new beginning, filled with new traditions and special family memories.
But you can make it a great experience, regardless of how you celebrate.
Here are some tips to make your first Thanksgiving after divorce not just bearable, but wonderful.
Put the kids first: As a parent, this comes naturally. Your children are the innocent witnesses of the end of your marriage. Conceal your negative feelings for your former spouse. Let children share their feelings. Allow kids to enjoy the day without drama or fighting.
Some particularly amicable former spouses even spend Thanksgiving together to show their kids that even though their parents are no longer married, they are still a family.
Make new traditions: Divorce changes everything, for better or for worse. Looking back on holidays spent together as a family can be difficult. Use the first Thanksgiving after your divorce to create brand new traditions that symbolize this new chapter of life.
Try new recipes. Play silly games. If the kids are spending Thanksgiving with your former spouse, host a “Friendsgiving” with friends who might otherwise be spending the day alone. Different does not have to be bad.
Model thankfulness: Focus on what the day is truly about, and you will likely have a great Thanksgiving. Emphasize all the things your family has to be thankful for, rather than the things that have been altered by divorce. Slow down and enjoy every moment with your loved ones. Your kids will pick up on your positive perspective and hopefully adopt it for themselves.
Stay connected: Technology has its benefits. If your former spouse has custody of the children for Thanksgiving, you can still stay in touch. Schedule a time to video chat with the kids at some point during the day. It will help you feel connected to them and ease those pangs of sadness during this first Thanksgiving.
If you have the kids for the day, encourage them to reach out and contact your former spouse.
Practice self-care: Finally, make time in this busy day to take care of you. Whether it means going for a run or spending a few moments with a good book, give yourself time and space to process your new reality.
Lean on others for support. If you are not with the kids this year, reach out to friends and family to feel connected and avoid feeling alone.
To learn more about your legal options regarding a divorce or parenting time matters, call (856) 512-1461 or contact us online to get started. With locations in Somers Point and Marlton, we proudly represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey.