For those who are newly divorced, the holidays can be a difficult time. A card might come in the mail that is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs.” when that is no longer the case. A commercial on television may show a child being held up by their father and placing the angel on top of the tree — something that was once a tradition in your household. The emotion might hit when your child looks up at you and asks what present mom would like the best.
No matter what causes the flow, emotions often run high during the holiday season, and that is completely natural. There are certainly some things that can make the holidays go a little easier for newly single parents. The first is to accept the fact that you are going to feel some strong emotions. Preparing for them is one way to start.
If you know that you might need a little extra help and support this holiday season, think of those who are a positive force in your life. Some may think they are helping when they bad-mouth your ex, but focusing on the negatives — even they are true — can often bring a person down. Schedule events with these people who give you positive support and fill up your time, keeping you distracted.
Also, control the things that you can. It might mean clarifying ambiguities in a child custody plan so that responsibilities and expectations are clear. Is there a certain tradition that you want to reserve for your time with the kids? When something is out of your control, it is okay to let it go. A spouse might not agree to extending visitation hours or allowing the kids to travel out of state. If there is problem, don’t focus on it.
Source: Columbia Daily Tribune, “Facing the holidays after a separation or divorce,” Kathy Leonard, Nov. 16, 2012