Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

LA-CAMFT Member Article

10/31/2019 3:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

Barry Davis,
Divorce Mediator

Tips to Help Divorced Parents Enjoy the Holidays

With the holiday’s beginning this month, here are some specific ideas for therapists to pass on to their divorced and/or divorcing clients to help them create a special Holiday Season even when much has changed in their lives and with their children.

1. Keep the Focus on the Children.

Being able to experience the Holiday Season through a child’s eyes is one of the best ways to really enjoy this time. If parents are focused on how to give their children a fun Holiday Season, they will be less focused on the things that have changed or are missing.

Encourage your clients to think about ways they can create special times with their children, even if they don't see them as often, and really be present with them when they spend these times together.

Here are examples of things parents can do with their children to help enjoy the Holidays as well as potentially establish new traditions:
  • Read favorite, or newly favorite, Holiday books with them. There are few things that most children love more than their parents reading to them.

  • Find a local neighborhood that really goes over the top with the lights and decorations and walk it with your kids. A thermos of hot chocolate makes it even more of a fun event.

  • Come up with presents that you can make with your children. Pinterest and other online sources have great ideas of relatively simple, homemade presents that people love making and receiving.

2. Be Flexible with How and When They Celebrate the Holidays.

New parenting schedules and only having the children for certain dates can make the holidays even more stressful. It helps to be flexible with how and when they celebrate rather than fixating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

For example, they can make a big event of going shopping with their kids, picking out the Christmas tree or doing some other holiday activity that doesn't necessarily have to be on a specific date. Or even celebrate Christmas on the morning of the 24th if they don’t have their children on the 25th—believe me, children will have a great time celebrating two Christmases.

3. Volunteer.

Along with experiencing the Holiday Season through a child’s eyes, volunteering is one of the best ways to really get in the Holiday Spirit.

Volunteering helps us achieve two important things:

  • It helps us get beyond our individual situation. By helping others we often get a sense of being connected to something larger than ourselves and doing something positive to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves.

  • It helps us get some perspective. By helping others we understand that no matter how difficult our current situation is, there are two things we come to know: 1.) There are others worse off than we are; 2.) This too shall pass—the difficulty of divorce doesn’t last forever!
4. Let the Little Things Slide.

Getting into a big argument with one’s ex, or soon to be ex, is not going to help anyone get in the Holiday Spirit. If clients can do their best to let some things roll off their back, then this benefits both parents and children. This is easier said than done. However, coming up with a specific schedule ahead of time or even employing the services of a mediator to help you do this will help minimize the ambiguity, and therefore, the level of conflict.

5. Don’t Over-commit.

This is good advice for all of us, of course, whether we’re divorced or not, but it's even more important when clients are dealing with a divorce or trying to restructure their Holidays. It helps when clients can spend some time thinking about what is really important to them and their children—and what creates, rather than detracts from, a positive holiday experience. Then really focus on these things and don't worry about trying to do everything.

Barry Davis, Divorce Mediator, Founder of Davis Mediation, has been helping clients get through the divorce process in the most amicable, affordable manner possible for 16 years. His passion is keeping children out of the middle of divorce so they can grow up healthy. As a divorce mediator, Barry holds Masters Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Conflict Management and has served on the Torrance Family Court and Second Appellate District mediation panels. For more information, visit www.DavisMediation.com or Davis Divorce Mediation’s YouTube Channel.

Upcoming Events

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software