Helping Your Child Find Joy During the Holidays

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 For families, divorce can present devastating challenges especially for the children involved. Unsurprisingly, divorce becomes no easier when it prefaces major holidays. Newly separated parents may feel great remorse when trying to pick up the pieces and resume a sense of normalcy in their homes for themselves, and for their children. Here is some important advice to keep peace and fun during the holidays.


Focus on Your Relationship with Your Child.
Even for a parent, it may be hard to readjust the holiday script after a divorce. You may keep old expectations of how things were before the divorce. Here, it is important to remember that you are in uncharted territory, and having unrealistic expectations can get hopes up and crush spirits for both you and your child. You may expect your partner to pull their weight and both parties work together to keep their children happy—but this too can lead to further disappointment and even conflict. From here on out, you need to base your actions on developing the relationship between your child and you. What many parents struggle with, is understanding that the old relationship you had with your child has been shattered, and once broken, you can’t really recreate what once was there. You need to focus on building your new relationship with your child. This new frame of mind will help you as you trudge forward through the holidays.
Keep Busy and Create New Traditions.
Now that you understand the frame of mind needed to take on the holiday season, it’s time to start building that new relationship with your child. You need to understand that your child is going through as much turmoil as you feel, if not even more so. The best remedy for your child, and even yourself will be to have fun during the holidays. Caroling, shopping sprees, spontaneous trips, playing in the snow—anything that allows both you and your child to move around and keep your mind and body as busy as possible. Now might be a good time to create new holiday traditions to share with your child. You might just be feeling around on solid ground now, but take note what activities resonate with you and your child, and you can continue that activity next year and so on.
Check in on Yourself.
While you scramble to make the holiday season special for your child, you might forget about your own needs through this difficult time. It’s important to check in on yourself from time to time as you jump hoop and hurdle for your child. Overexerting yourself to make too many events can increase your own stress and anxiety, which will likely be picked up by your child. Your exhaustive efforts to appease your child over the holidays could be wearing you down into an unintentional state of negativity. If you find yourself feeling angry or frustrated at any time, give yourself some space from your child and choose a healthy way to get yourself on track. Most of all, remember to never take out your frustration out on your child.
The first holiday after the divorce is always the hardest. Whatever you do, do not give up on your child and the special relationship you share with them. Instead of looking at all that is wrong in life right now, make this a formative moment to help both you and your child to overcome past hurts and move on to a brighter future.

About Dad solo
Hi there! I’m Daniel. I’ve been a single dad to my daughter (9) and son (6) for three years now. I’ll admit I don’t always know what the heck I’m doing, but every day is definitely an adventure and a blessing. And for that, I’m truly grateful. I noticed that there aren’t a lot of resources out there for us single dads so I thought I’d share some of what’s worked for me.

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