What Children of Divorce Experience During the Holidays

Sharing an older post because I think it's important for you to know if you are divorced and have children.

Remember it's about our kids and not about us.  No matter what your EGO may think.

FYI!!  ~~  I didn't write the following.  It is from a previous post.  You can click below to go to the source.

Children of separated families may find the holiday season to be more difficult than usual.
  • Children may feel anxious from the excess chaos
  • They may feel caught in the middle as parents negotiate who spends what time where
  • They may feel resentful at having to leave friends and family to stay with a non-custodial parent
  • Children may feel overwhelmed and exhausted as they are shuffled back and forth between houses
  • They may feel as though they wish they could "split themselves in half" so that each parent will be satisfied
  • They may feel sad as they reminisce on holidays when the family was still together
  • Kids may miss one parent while spending time with the other
  • They may feel guilty at leaving the other parent alone on a holiday

Tips for Divorced Parents to Survive the Holidays

There are many things that both parents can do to enjoy the holidays and ease the transition for their children.
  • Teach the child to embrace his expanded family and the fact that he gets to celebrate the holidays twice
  • Do not over-indulge the child with too many presents or candy; this is not healthy for anyone
  • One parent should not compete with the other over who gets the child a "better gift" – if possible, strategize with the other parent to ensure even gift-giving
  • Have a set schedule, preferably one that is set by family court. Typically, parents should alternate holidays each year. This takes the burden off the child having to decide where he would like to spend his time and also minimize arguing between parents
  • Let the child in on the schedule in advance so that they know what to expect
  • Put differences aside – do not argue with an ex-spouse in front of the child
  • Teach the child what the holiday is truly about so that they can better appreciate the experience
  • Plan fun outings and make new traditions such as caroling, ice skating, or catching a new movie in between the holidays to minimize the importance of a single big celebration
  • Keep time together simple so that the child does not feel overburdened and overwhelmed
  • Set a positive example so that the child is able to enjoy himself; parents should express their own frustrations to another adult, not to their child
  • Recognize that most children want and need contact with both of their parents, especially during the holidays
  • Allow the child to have phone or email contact with the other parent, especially on the holiday itself
  • Allow the child to vent any frustrations
  • Love and celebrate the child during these special times
The best thing that both parents can do is to recognize and be aware of their child’s emotions during this sensitive time. There is no time like the holidays for parents embroiled in separation disagreements to find a common ground – teaching their child to enjoy the magic of the season.


Anonymous said…
What do you do when the kids do not want to go see the other parent. My kids are now teens and on christmas day they do not want to leave their warm cozy house.Their father has a new wife and 4month old twins. I do not blame them for wanting to say with me. The new family he has created are his new family my kids do not like the fact that they have 1/2 siblings that will be gushed over on christmas by the new mom's family.........by the way i am not pushing them to go..... perhaps afew days later. i can see why the kdis do not want to go its the twins first christmas
Anonymous said…
I don't think "EGO" has anything to do with wanting to be able to spend time with your children on holidays. I think it has more to do with tradition and love. I am fortunate and don't have to "share" because my son's father isn't involved at all, but I can't imagine what it must feel like to not spend time with your kids. I don't think that the children should be pushed but I do think that it is the custodial parents responsibility to try every option and think about how it would feel if the situation were reversed. That goes along with "setting a good example". Divorce is hard. It has plagued my family, but neither parent nor child should be made to feel left out or torn. Especially on the holidays when the whole tradition is based on family and togetherness.
It is very agonizing for children to see their parents separate but even more agonizing having them witness the bitterness of their parents' staying together. This is just the last resort. If there's no way of patching things up for some reasons, (I can't say it's okay) it's normal for parents to have divorce but then children do suffer the consequences. It is of most importance that both parents come up with certain agreement. Though they may be separated but it doesn't mean they they have little love for their children. Some arrangement can still work.
Supermom said…
Wow, great comments.

I am only speaking from my experience since I am divorced with two children. I am remarried and added two more children to the mix.

What works for one may not work for the other. It's a trial and error thing for us.

Just remember to do what's best for the children is all I can say.

FYI ~ I didn't write this article it was found on another website. If you clicked on the original post you would have seen this.