Holidays can bring such joy to our lives! After all, holidays are times to be with your family. What a blessing it is to get to be with our families over the holidays. Unfortunately, not all families have that blessing. Families of divorce are not together for the holidays.
“Of all children born to married parents this year, fifty percent will experience the divorce of their parents before they reach their 18th birthday.” (Fagan, Fitzgerald, Rector, “The Effects of Divorce on America”) Those are not pleasant statistics, but that statement is a reality.
In our KidWorks program for families of divorce, we address the issue of holidays in one of our eight week sessions entitled “Aloneness/Sadness/Holidays.” Unfortunately, those three words go together because holidays are times when people often feel sad and alone. Holidays can be stressful for children of divorce. When will they be with mom? Will Santa still come to dad’s house? The sweet innocent children deal with the unknown and uncertainties. The unknown factors can cause additional fears and worries making holidays a sad and unpleasant time.
Children of divorce face many changes in their lives, and those changes are especially prominent during the holidays. When families go through changes in their lives due to a divorce, things will definitely be different. Different is not necessarily bad, but it may not feel good. Learning to accept the changes, and the fact that things are different are issues that all families of divorce need to address.
Making new holiday traditions can be helpful. Keeping children informed of the plan for their holiday time with each parent can ease their anxiety level. Extra reassurance can go a long way in making children feel more comfortable with the changes in their holiday season.
In our KidWorks program, we are always thrilled to see families come through our program, move forward and grow through the struggle of divorce. Our prayer is that their holidays will be filled with hope, joy and peace. To find out more about our KidWorks program go to www.kidsindivorce.org or email Beverly Ritz, KidWorks Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org