So, it's that time of year again. The holiday season is upon you and you are anticipating festive times with family, co-workers and friends. Only one thing about this particular year is different than all others past: You're now divorced, and your kids are having a tough time.
If your children have been having a difficult time adapting to your new lifestyle, the holiday season may seem a bit overwhelming to them. You're probably a lot like many other divorced parents in Pennsylvania who want to keep favorite past traditions alive, while helping your children move forward to a new and happy future.
Holidays in general can cause troublesome behavior to arise in some children. Throw a new house, one less parent under the roof and all sorts of other changes into the mix, and you've got a recipe for bah humbug pie, for sure.
Here's a list of some of the main issues leading to post divorce stress in kids during the holidays:
- New routines: Although children often buck the system and shirk the ideas of structure and routine, they often depend on family routines to bring stability to their lives. If you have had to make numerous schedule adjustments or find new ways to do old things, you children may be feeling a bit stressed out.
- Sudden changes: Perhaps you've been doing your best to create a healthy, efficient routine for your children, but your former spouse keeps making unexpected requests for changes in the schedule. This can make children feel very anxious and ill.
- New faces around the holiday table: You have every right to get on with your life, and, perhaps, you've entered a new relationship and are trying to include that person in your holiday plans. Adjusting to a parent's new romantic partner can be very challenging for children.
Chances are, your children will understand if you tell them you hold their best interests at heart and love them as much now as you did before your divorce.
But, what happens when you're doing your best to build new holiday memories and cheer your children up and the next thing you know, your former spouse has refused to adhere to a court order, or, has made unrealistic requests regarding visitation or custody matters? These family law issues can add a significant amount of stress and frustration to what is supposed to be a very festive time for you and your family.
There's no shame in asking for help
Trying to do it all on your own may cause you fatigue and worry. However, there's a huge network of support available to help you in your time of need!
Consider these allies:
- A trusted family member: By turning to someone in your immediate circles, you may be able to share your thoughts and glean some good advice from those who love you most.
- A counselor or minister: If you subscribe to a particular faith background, you may appeal to your faith leaders for help.
- A family law attorney: Although you may want to avoid litigation if at all possible, you also want to arm yourself with information and appropriate support should the need arise.
An experienced attorney understands that keeping your children happy during the holidays is of paramount importance. Through experienced consultation, a clear plan of action can be developed and you may take the first steps toward an agreeable solution to your post-divorce, child-related problem.