Holidays are a time for family, friends and spending time together, but this can be very complicated if you’re divorced and are trying to figure out how to make it a great holiday for your kids. And if it’s your first Christmas after a divorce, there will definitely be challenges.
I still remember my first Christmas after my divorce. I struggled to keep our family routines as close to “normal” as possible, especially for my then-toddler. And honestly, it was very tough - dealing with my own emotions while trying to make the season special for my kids.
So, if you’re going through this, I feel for you right now. It will get better (I know, it doesn’t feel like it, but it will). I do think that with some planning you and your co-parent can create a happy Christmas for your kids, and hopefully these five tips will help.
1. Make Plans in Advance
As the holidays get closer, emotions can get more intense as we often become stressed...
Divorce can be a bit like a special club that you never anticipated having access to. That time before divorce is confusing, hurtful, and a host of other emotions. Once you’re on the other side, you truly can see clearly again.
So, if you’re in the fog and not sure what to expect, you’re not alone. Trust me, even with the best of advice and resources, every person who’s going through a divorce is unique and has some level of anxiety about it.
While I don’t recommend listening to just any old advice about divorce, I do recommend seeking out people who have experience with it to guide you, both when speaking candidly with others and when seeking expert support (like a mediator, financial advisor, and so on).
As such, I asked a group of divorced and soon-to-be divorced women, “What do you wish you knew before your divorce?” I got so many responses, I couldn’t fit them into one (or even two!) blog posts!
(Both of my previous posts...
If love is a battlefield, then co-parenting teens is a battlefield with landmines. Teenagers can swing from adolescent to grown-up feelings (and back again) in the snap of your fingers. This confusing age is hard enough already for them to navigate. Throw in the challenges of being a teen with divorced parents and watch the fun multiply!
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be fraught with turmoil and anxiety all the way. Knowing where some of the landmines are hidden, or what to do to avoid them outright, will make this period smoother for everyone.
The thing to remember is that right now, teens are becoming independent and striving to express themselves. They will have their own ideas about how things should be, and those ideas may go against what you’re thinking. At the end of the day, I know you want to keep them safe and happy. With these suggestions, you can navigate the challenges you may face as you co-parent your teen through divorce.
It's that time of year again where many of us are considering how we might be better or do better in the new year with New Year's resolutions. If parenting with your ex has been a significant struggle in your life, I want to challenge you to resolve to be a better co-parent this year. If you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for your children.
Divorce not only takes a toll on the divorcing couple, but it also affects the rest of the family. This is especially evident if you have young children. Even though it's tough to hide the negative feelings that surface during a divorce, it's extremely important that you work at managing those feelings constructively if you don't want them to affect the kids.
Avoid the mistake of believing that your adult problems are too complicated for your children to understand. Although young children may not understand words like "irreconcilable differences," they're very intuitive and impressionable. Even babies can tell when their parents are at...
When you’re trying to co-parent with your ex, it can make things more difficult for you and your child. Successful co-parenting results in happier children, parents who are less stressed, and an overall greater level of contentment after divorce. While it can be difficult to get adjusted to having a healthy and happy co-parenting relationship, use these strategies for overcoming co-parenting conflicts!
The reason you’re doing this is for the one who is most important to you, right? It’s all about your child and making sure they have the healthiest childhood for them. Keep that in mind during any type of conflict and you’ll immediately diffuse the situation with your ex. It’s also important to kindly remind your ex why you are both doing this. By keeping the common denominator, your love for your child, in mind, you’ll make it easier to negotiation and compromise during all conflicts with your...
Telling parents about divorce can be hard enough. I have seen the tension in a divorce increase too many times as a result of meddling family members or friends. During the holidays, we tend to interact with family members and friends more than we do all year long, so there is even more opportunity for meddling than there typically is.
From my professional experience, it is so hard to watch when a couple has committed to handling their settlement in a mature and amicable way, but someone gets in one of their ears and tears the whole thing apart.
When I sit down with my clients who are going through mediation, I always encourage them to keep the conversations that happen in mediation in the mediation room. I know that when you're emotional, you may want to vent to a friend or a family member. However, divorce is a difficult process for everyone who is involved, and a meddling family member can make it even more complicated.
Related post: How to Ask Your Spouse to...
If it's your first Christmas after your divorce and you are feeling sad or lonely or even angry, that's completely normal. Feelings often intensify around the holidays.
I remember my first Christmas after my divorce well. My ex and I didn't have a lot of conversation regarding how it was going to go. We didn't have a plan. Our divorce was still relatively new, and we were barely on speaking terms at the time.
I was overwhelmed by simple things like getting the tree and other decorations out of the basement without my ex to help.
No matter the circumstances, divorce is one of the most traumatic events you can go through in your adult life. The impact of divorce on your psyche could have you gearing up for a Christmas in the dumps. It t doesn’t have to be that way, though. Here’s how to make your first Christmas after divorce feel like something special again.
To the Father of My Children, My Partner in Parenting:
I know that I haven't always been grateful. And I know there was a time in our lives when I could not think of a nice thing to say to you. There was a time when I was filled with so much hurt and anger that gratitude felt like an impossible idea. But that time has passed.
We've had our moments - but we had a lot of good times, too. For more than ten years, you were there for me. You were there for me in the dark hours when my dad was sick, and you were there for me when my father passed away. For that, I am grateful.
You were also there for wonderful memories. We went on trips together, and we grew up together in many ways. We explored new faith communities together. We shared a life together, and for that, I am grateful.
Together, you and I created an incredible family. Words cannot even begin to describe the depth of my gratitude for that.
Change can be difficult whether you choose to make changes in your life or someone else has made that choice for you. Let's face it. Divorce changes many facets of your life and will test your ability to handle change to an extreme.
Some people struggle more than others with change. They fight it, they avoid it, fear it, and sometimes feel guilty about it. These notions would make anyone want to keep things as same as possible. One would think that only adrenaline junkies and dysfunctional people would want to disrupt what could be a perfectly normal situation for something that could be worse. Keep in mind that the situation could be better.
If you've been in an unhappy marriage, your divorce can bring about a lot of positive change in your life. I remember how real the fear was when I was going through my own divorce. I had fears about parenting and about money and about basic things like taking care of the house. As it turned out, when I committed to dealing with the changes I...
One of the hardest things to do as a divorced parent is to encourage your kids to go with your ex when they don’t want to. However, consistency is key to making those transitions easier over time. When my ex and I first separated, my youngest was a toddler. We all know how toddlers act when they're not happy. He would throw a tantrum every time he had to transition between our homes. It used to break my heart the way that he would cry and fuss.
As long as the kids aren’t avoiding going due to neglect or abuse, it's your job to encourage them to. Some children don’t do well with change, so the transition between households can be especially difficult. Keep in mind that it doesn't have anything to do with the other parent. You'll be doing your children a favor if you work to make transitioning as smooth as possible.
Use the following tips to encourage your children when...