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Making the Holidays Less Stressful After a Divorce

Divorced family arguing

After a divorce, the holiday season can become an even more stressful time than it may have been before. Sharing custody of your children, making sure they’re enjoying the holidays as much as before, and navigating family gatherings while newly single can all make the holidays a difficult time after a split. Below, find a few suggestions for how you can make a post-divorce holiday season more fun and less stressful for yourself.

Don’t feel pressured to spend the holiday as one happy family: Some former spouses may come together for present-opening or a special holiday meal, even after their divorce, to let their children know that their happiness is their parents’ top priority. These events can be incredibly stressful for parents who haven’t yet healed after a breakup. Even if these communal meals may work for some families, you don’t have to force them to work for you. Find other ways to be supportive of your children and their relationship with their other parent, such as by listening excitedly when they talk about their holiday plans with your former spouse.

Don’t fall into the trap of gift competition with your ex: If you think your ex will shower your children with elaborate, costly holiday presents, it’s hard not to want to keep up by buying your children yet even more lavish gifts. This will add a mountain of stress and, in the likely event that the divorce took a toll on your finances, may not be an expense you can afford. Instead of trying to go toe-to-toe on gifts, you’ll better serve your children in the long run by listening with excitement as they describe the gifts they got without taking the chance to disparage your former spouse as they do. Remember, what your children truly need is for you to be a stable and loving parent all year round, not pricey toys.

Rethink traditions: Trying to make the holiday look exactly as it did in years past may be impossible. Instead, take the opportunity to jettison traditions you or your children never liked that much, like those cheesy holiday pajama photos, or waking up at 6 am to open presents on Christmas morning. You can even give your child a job that your ex might have done in years past, such as placing the star on the tree or handing out gifts to be opened, to help your kids feel involved in the new traditions.

If you’re considering divorce or dealing with a complex custody dispute during the holidays, get help from a compassionate and dedicated lawyer you can trust by contacting the Houston Law Office of Maria S. Lowry at 713-850-8859.

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