Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter