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If you’re a child, odds are the holidays are your favorite time of year. But if you’re a child of divorce, the holidays might be less than merry. Regardless of whether the parents are newly divorced, or it has been years, the holidays- a time for families, large gatherings, and family traditions; can easily evoke feelings of resentment for a child.

How Can You Help Children of Divorce Through the Holiday Season?

Divorced families can survive the Holidays by keeping a few things in mind.  If you’re a parent of divorce, it’s difficult to watch your children come to terms with how much life changes from year to year. Odds are you’re waiting for the other parent to slip- up. Just one mistake and the entire system unravels. This year, instead of expecting the worst, put your best foot forward for the sake of your children, and try some of these tricks instead:

Get into the season Thinking jingle bells? Try jingle bells times 10. If you think your child might have or is having a difficult time feeling the holiday spirit after a divorce, there’s no better remedy than extra holiday cheer, both internal and external. On the external, this means extra decorations, more lights, louder holiday music, cozier pajamas! Don’t let your child forget the joys of the season because of your new family situation. On the internal side, getting into the season also means practicing peace and forgiveness, giving back, not being a Scrooge this winter. Don’t let your child see you only as enemies with your ex, use this time to set an example and forgive one another.

Remember it’s not a competition
In light of getting into the season, another good solution is, this holiday remind yourself it’s not a competition. Materialistic items, toys, games, and money are not going to win your child’s heart over. The key is to spend time, make memories, and display your love, not buy it. If your ex spouse is in a better position financially to purchase gifts, support one another since you both have the same ultimate goal; making your child happy.

Coordinate and communicate
Maybe this was the hardest part of your marriage, don’t make it the hardest part of your divorce. Communication can save all the trouble this holiday season. Plan ahead of time with your ex about gifts, meals, traditions. This way you won’t end up with confused, stuffed, or disappointed children. With communication constantly at your fingertips, a text, and email, a phone call can save a lot of strife this Christmas. And the soother it is for your child, the happier your holidays will be.

Create new traditions Just because your marriage ended, doesn’t mean everything has to. Creating new traditions is a definite way to give your kids new hope and cheer this holiday. This goes to show them that your family isn’t broken, it’s just different. New traditions can be inviting family members to dinner, maybe ones they haven’t seen in awhile. Going to a new family member’s home; the more family time you can involve, the better. Traditions can be baking together, reading together, crafting; as long as it’s together, it’s sure to make a lasting difference.

New traditions can also show your child a new side of you, at a time when they might think how they knew you before is lost. Doing something new together gives them something that’s just between you both and makes it yours.

Prepare for next year As unexpected as the divorce may have been for you, it was surely 10 times more unexpected for your child. It’s difficult for any child to look forward to the unknown, and an unfamiliar holiday season could be more scary than merry. So as your holidays come to a close, plan ahead for next year. Give your kids something to rely on and look forward to. This reassures them that not everything changes unexpectedly.

We know it is difficult, but the worst part is behind you, behind all of you. This holiday season should be a time for rekindling and strengthening bonds with your children. Try some of these tips and tricks and your holidays can be joyful.

The Law Offices of Rappleye and Rappleye P.C., have been providing comprehensive divorce and family law representation to clients in Jackson County and surrounding areas for over 60 years. Our practice covers a wide range of divorce and family law matters and is here to help. Extensive knowledge and expertise is at the cornerstone of our practice. We handle divorce and family law cases throughout our wonderful state. Call us today for a consultation!