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December 16, 2015

Divorce Doesn’t Have To Ruin The Holidays: Key 6 – Developing Traditions and Rituals

Horse Sculpture

Once there is a split in the parent’s relationship, the world of the child has been severely disrupted and usually feels destroyed. This is a time to create and maintain consistency. It is critical to the healing of your child during this time. So, at the holidays, it is a good idea to address what part of the holiday traditions and rituals are a match to your child and which can be changed. It can be tremendously healing to create a new tradition with new rituals or with old rituals to offer you and your child the opportunity to embrace this new beginning in your lives.

 

Create your new tradition with your child. Ask what she would like to change or keep. If there had not been a clear tradition prior, then create a tradition with your child. The process of creating a tradition with your child offers him a sense of involvement and importance. It allows him to value the tradition and rituals that you choose to change or create.

 


A child needs consistency for safety. Often during the holidays, there is a lack of consistency in ritual or tradition. This can add to the absence of safety and the feelings of guilt and nothing being good enough. Just the same a change in tradition by the parent for the parent and without the involvement of the child, can create inconsistency at a time when he needs it. It is critical that if, as the parent, you are going to change patterns, traditions, rituals during the holidays (or any other time in life), you consult with and include your child.

 

When creating tradition think of your older child who may be living outside the home or may be in college. What kind of traditions would your child like to see exist? It is often difficult for older children to decide where they are going for the holidays and to understand how the other parent might feel. Eliminate the possibility of struggle and guilt in your child by including her in a new tradition and having her include you in her new traditions.

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Photography by Walter
"Two Eagles" Smith

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