Your children can be happy this Christmas even if you are divorcing. When we hear the words “Christmas Story” most people think of either the birth of Jesus or the arrival of Santa Claus. But if you are divorced, or facing a divorce this holiday season, did you know that YOU are writing your children’s Christmas Story this year? You are helping to shape their memories and impressions of the year they were, 6 or 9 or 12. What will your children’s story be?
How can your children be merry and
bright this Christmas?
There is no topic that justifies the need for the tissue box in our office more than the topic of Christmas parenting time. Immediately I see sadness envelope my clients as they contemplate being away from their children during this holiday. And it is sad.
That wasn’t part of the plan when you had them. It wasn’t how it was supposed to be. And yet…it is how it will be. Your children can be happy this Christmas even if you are divorcing. How? Here are a few ideas:
1. Your children can be happy this Holiday if you decide that your children’s peace and sheer joy is more important than YOUR time with them.
Yes, that time matters. But spare them the tension that can surround Christmas when parents war over the clock. That gift will matter far more than spending more time with you versus the other parent, or getting an iPad or bike or anything else this Christmas.
2. Assure your children you will be fine when they are with the other parent.
Don’t taint their time by sending them off with a backpack filled with your sadness. Is that really the mindset you want for them? Force yourself to state lightly that “Of course I’ll miss you but I am really glad that you get to spend this time with dad too. You guys just have fun!” Or, “I’ll be thinking of you but I’m going to Nana’s and I know mom’s looking forward to seeing you. So have a great time and I’ll see you when you return.” Then after you wave them goodbye, shed whatever tears you need to. You’d lay down in front of the proverbial moving train to spare your kids. This isn’t asking that and you can do it.
3. Your children’s chance for a merry Christmas might improve if you seek wisdom from parents who have done this well.
They are out there and often even embarrassed about the cordial relationship they have with former spouses. (I don’t know why that is but I’ve seen it enough to know it’s true. It’s not seen as the “norm” so they feel odd). But seek them out, ask them how they worked it out and what they did with their own sadness. There are numerous ways in which your children’s Christmas Story can be a happy one this year. Check out https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/better-divorce/202112/how-help-your-kids-enjoy-the-holidays-during-your-divorce or https://www.divorcemag.com/blog/tips-to-help-children-enjoy-the-holidays-after-divorce-during-covid-19
We wish you wisdom and your children only joy this Holiday season,