Making Christmas Merry for Children with Separated Parents

If there is any time of year for parents of children who are separated or divorced to be their most adult selves, it’s Christmas. Whether amicably divorced or still fighting, if you both are looking forward to having time with the children during the holiday season, it’s the time of the year for you to think especially hard about the children’s feelings and needs ahead of whatever plans and wishes you may have. For young children, Christmas is complicated. Even though the majority of children of divorce live primarily with one parent and “visit” the other intermittently, the cultural fantasy is still that everyone has a two-parent family that is gathered around a comfy fire reading The Night Before Christmas. Once children are in school, they are aware of the “ideal” and must grapple with their belief that they are different and deprived, even though neither may be true. No matter how well the back and forth between houses goes all year, children are often worried about the parent they are not with on Christmas. They wonder what that parent is doing. They worry that the parent is sad without them. They feel guilty if they forget for a moment that mom or dad is somewhere else. Any unresolved sadness or anger about the divorce gets stirred up again as they deal with when they will go to each home. Many children manage the day by thinking only about where they are. Others are moody or withdrawn despite the best efforts of the hosting par...
Source: World of Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Children and Teens Family Holiday Coping Marriage and Divorce Parenting Christmas coparenting Holidays Source Type: blogs

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