Facing an upcoming holiday season after a recent divorce can be especially challenging for families. Thanksgiving is equated with being grateful, but post-divorce families can experience levels of stress, fear, and anxiety instead. Deciding who spends time with whom can create conflict, but it also presents unique opportunities to create new bonds and traditions.
Combatting Bad Feelings
Children of divorce often feel guilty and blame themselves for their parents’ separation. This can be especially true in younger children. Parents can step in and ask their children why they are feeling sad and have them to explain their reasoning. It is important to assure them that the divorce was not their fault, and to tell them it is an adult problem.
This should be an ongoing dialogue, as children need to be reassured that they are loved and appreciated. Asking them how they feel and seeking their input about the Thanksgiving schedule and activities will go a long way toward making them feel included and important.
Importance of Flexibility
Depending on logistics, children of divorced parents may be pushed to spend different parts of Thanksgiving Day with various family members. Being shuffled from house to house can be upsetting for children; shaking up their routines can lead to anger, resentment, and depression. Parents can change this by being more flexible. Children can spend Thanksgiving day with one parent and celebrate the holiday with the other parent on a different day. Another idea is to incorporate new activities into the holiday weekend. Many towns have other fun events, such as Turkey Trots and 5K races. There is also no shortage of holiday movies, brunches, and other special family activities this time of year.
One of the best ways to teach children about being grateful is volunteering. A quick scan of the local papers and websites will show numerous ways to help this time of year. Parents can narrow it down to three or four choices and let the child choose one, as this will let them know that they have some control over the situation. Children can devote a little time and reap great rewards volunteering at soup kitchens, delivering meals to the needy, or visiting a sick friend or relative.
South Jersey Divorce Lawyers Help Clients Develop Parenting Plans for the Holidays
Whether it be custody arrangements, child support, or visitation rights, the South Jersey divorce lawyers are experienced in all areas of family law. Contact us today for a free case evaluation by calling us or complete our online form. Located in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County.