Helping Your Children Through the Holidays After a Divorce

A woman and her son hugging each other as they look at their newly constructed gingerbread house

Ensuring They Stay Merry and Bright

The holiday season is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year, yet for many children, it can be a time of struggle and emotional frustration. Children whose parents have recently divorced can have a difficult time managing their feelings while wishing their family was one unit again for a family-centric holiday season.

While they may feel hopeless, know that you as their parent can make a significant difference in their lives this season. Here are ways you can help your children throughout this time of year.

Ensure They Know They Will Be Heard

The most important thing you can do is make sure your children know that they will be heard if they express how they are feeling. Every child should feel like they have a voice that matters; not only does this mean letting them speak when they feel frustrated or scared but it also means you as their parent should listen to their words and understand their feelings.

Fewer things can leave a child feeling more devastated than thinking that their parent does not have their best interests in mind. One way to prove that you do is by doing everything you can to make them know they are heard.

Balance Traditions Both New and Old

The holiday season is often filled with various traditions, both holiday-specific as well as family-specific. Prior to your divorce, you and your family may have done unique activities that made the time of year feel even more special; now, however, you may feel as if you can no longer engage in those activities because your family situation is different.

However, this is not true. It’s possible that engaging in those old activities can actually help your child cope with their feelings throughout the holiday season. They may long to do something that reminds them of times past, and engaging in those older traditions has the potential of doing them a world of good. If you believe that it might be challenging to do or you cannot do something because of the involvement of your former spouse, you may wish to edit those old traditions into a new version that you can still take part in.

At the same time, now that your family situation has changed, this might be the best opportunity to create new traditions for you and your child to take part in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to do but never did, maybe you should try it and ultimately create a new tradition that you and your children can participate in each year.

Enlist the Help of Your Family and Friends

The holiday season has a special emphasis on family gatherings, and perhaps you have no greater tool at your disposal to help your child throughout the holiday season than these individuals. Perhaps you and your child can benefit from spending time with these people; it’s possible for one of them to have a significant enough impact on your child that they begin to feel better.

Put Their Needs and Happiness First

It goes without saying that you want what’s best for your child. While the holiday season is about joy, when your child is struggling with processing family changes, they may feel a lack of joy during this time. Making new traditions such as baking cookies, volunteering, or going to a special holiday show can show them that the holiday season can still bring them fun and joy in spite of the family changes going on. Remember that their needs and happiness are important, especially during this time of year.

Handling Questions About Divorce

If you are unsure if divorce is the right move for you or if you have other questions about family law-related matters, it’s important to get those questions answered by an attorney who understands Texas family law. At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, our Austin attorneys can help you determine your best path forward for your sake and for your children’s sake.

To learn more about divorce or to speak with a member of our team, call us at (512) 991-0576 or visit us online.

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