Thanksgiving is a week away, which means the holiday season is upon us. We are told it is a time for family togetherness and warm memories, but what about those of us celebrating their first holidays since getting divorced?
Yes, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be stressful when you are no longer married. It can be even worse when you are a parent, and the kids are with your former spouse. Feelings of loneliness, regret and bitterness are natural.
Fortunately, it is possible to survive the holidays after divorce. KCBS-TV recently asked a family therapist for her advice on what to do.
She said that it is okay for divorced people to feel sad or depressed this time of year, and she encouraged those in that situation to acknowledge their feelings. Instead of staying home alone, she suggests spending time with family and friends.
Above all, the therapist reminds parents to put their children first. It is likely that your child custody arrangement has you and your ex splitting time with the kids over the holidays; perhaps one of you gets them for Thanksgiving, and the other has custody on Christmas. Let the children know the plan ahead of time, and stick to the plan as much as possible.
And before the kids attend your family’s gathering, ask curious relatives not to ask the children a bunch of nosy questions about your ex. Such grilling sessions will only be painful for children, the therapist said.
The first holiday season may be awkward and sad at times, but with practice everyone will successfully adjust to this new arrangement.