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December 16, 2015

Divorce Doesn’t Have To Ruin The Holidays: Key 5 – Defining the Holiday Experience

WI Snowy Owl

Now that you are aware of how to create an atmosphere that is friendly and accepting where the loving emotions are prevalent and the gifts are given lovingly and you are communicating, you have the ingredients to create the experience you and your child wish to have during the holiday. What is the experience your child wishes to have? What is the experience you wish to have?

 

Begin by asking your Self and your child what the ideal holiday would be like. Take notes on what each of you wishes to experience and then as a team, develop an experience that includes each of your dreams. You can find that there is no part of the desired experiences that needs to go unfulfilled. It will take patience and creativity. For example, if your child wants you and your ex-partner to be together, show understanding of that wish. Talk with your child about how he would feel if the family was to be together during the holiday. Take note on the way the child would feel. Ask what the pros and cons of previous holidays were when the family was together. Then help the child to develop an experience that embraces the feeling she is wishing to have during the holiday and help her see she can have the joyousness she is wishing for even if the one family is now two!

 


Many children wish to have the family together. If you and your ex-partner are friendly, getting together is great! The secret is being open and genuine when you are together. The child needs to know that the camaraderie is there even though the romantic love is not. The child may continue to wish to see you two unite but with consistency and communication, the united gatherings will be joyous and will replace the original desire for a complete re-union of the parents. Often the child can begin to feel the excitement of the extended experience of 2 families!!

 

Your child may need some help defining aspects of their desired holiday experience. As a parent, it is your job to help them with this. Often a holiday season is packed with school programs, holiday parties, gift exchanges, children’s plays, and more. Of all of the events in your child’s world, which are important to her? Which would he like to include but is anxious? Which is she just not interested? If appropriate, encourage your child to have a “Holiday gathering” with his friends and, if comfortable, invite his friends’ parents. As parents, do your best to keep your child active in her world of friends and interests. The child will secretly want to make you happy and may feel a sense of responsibility to do so. This can lead to the child not initiating leaving her parent to engage in her own activities. Respond to all invites and opportunities with warm, genuine support. This allows your child to feel a sense of consistency within his world of friends and hobbies and allows him to know you are okay when he is without you and having fun.

 

All of this life is about how you experience it. The holidays are no different. In fact, if you and your child can begin developing the experience you wish to have, you will find that each of you is more able to stick to that joyous experience! If you aren’t clear on what you wish to experience and you aren’t clear on what your child wishes to experience, how are you going to make the holiday a great experience for each of you?

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"Two Eagles" Smith

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