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Helping your kids through the holidays after a divorce

We realize for some of our readers that this Thanksgiving and Christmas season may be the first holidays after a divorce. And while this can be a trying time for any couple, it is possibly the most demanding on parents who may feel overwhelmed by the upcoming holidays.

Though we may not be able to take away all of your frustration, we wanted this week’s post to focus on helping you and your family through the holiday season and hopefully relieve some of the stress that can arise for newly divorced parents.

The first thing to consider is your custody arrangement. For many families across the nation, including many here in New York, holidays are split from year to year. It’s important to make sure that your children are aware of the arrangements that were made during you and your spouse’s separation. Keep their feelings in mind and let them express any regrets or frustrations they may be having. Showing compassion, many experts say, can not only help to open the lines of communication with your children but can help them through what is often considered to be a trying time.

The next thing to consider is how you and your spouse treat each other. Studies have proven that children of divorced parents adjust easier to the change in family dynamic better when both parents treat each other respectfully and keep negative comments to themselves. This can be hard, especially in contentious divorces. But as many experts point out, putting the focus on what’s best for the children and making sure that they aren’t stressed is not only beneficial for the child but for parents as well.

The last thing to consider is really a joint effort between you and your ex-spouse. A fresh divorce can easily ruin anyone’s holiday spirit and create lasting negative memories. By actively trying to create new memories, you and your spouse can actually take a child’s mind off of the divorce and can also help them adjust better to their new situation. In the end, seeing your children adapt to the divorce in a well-adjusted way could help you and your spouse heal too in the end.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorced Parents: How to Help Your Kids Get Through the Holidays," Rosalind, Sedacca, Nov. 11, 2013

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