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Helping Children Cope with Divorce: Christmas is Different Now

Divorce changes things including Christmas celebrations. You can help your children to adjust. Here are three suggestions you may wish to consider.

1. HELP CHILDREN WITH TRANSITIONS. If this is your first Christmas apart, realize that the kids may wonder if Christmas will ever be jolly again. In the busyness of Christmas, be sure to be aware of their emotions and stressors. Address them upfront. Reassure kids that even though this Christmas may be different, you will get through this transition together. You can be a positive model for how to deal with sadness during the holidays. Keep your focus on the true meaning of Christmas for therein lies the true joy of the season.

2. RESPECT YOUR KIDS by respecting their other parent and their family traditions. For example, if your ex’s family has always participated in a certain Christmas event and your children are also accustomed to that, do you best to see that the kids can be there.
Don’t bad-mouth the children’s other parent. This can create tremendous stress for kids because they tend to feel it forces them to choose sides between their two parents. When your behavior toward their other parent is respectful, you are respecting your kids even if you have hostile feelings toward that person in your adult-to-adult relationship.

3. MIND YOUR THOUGHTS and KEEP THE HOLIDAYS POSITIVE. Encourage your family to do the same. Reassure the children that you will be just fine while they are with their other parent. Encourage them to have a good time. Let them know that it is wonderful and acceptable for them to spend time with each parent. This can be a big concern for kids—set them free to love both parents. No snide comments in front of the kids about their other parent.

You can help your children with the transitions that come with separation and divorce. If they are sad at times, you can let them know that you understand. You can set the tone that allows them to feel free to celebrate. You can find peace and joy at Christmas even in the face of separation and divorce. Why? Because God is with you.

Christian Thought

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”
(which means “God with us”).

Matthew 1:23

This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Click here for Part 1.

Tomorrow look for Part 3…”Helping Children Cope with Divorce: Putting the “Merry” in Your Children’s Christmas”

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