Tough Stuff

How to deal with divorced parents during the holidays

For those with divorced parents, the holiday season can seem not so holly jolly. Having to cope with shuffling between households, trying to please both parents and remembering happier times can be very overwhelming. While of course everybody is in a different situation it's still helpful to know ways to de-stress during this festive season and be able to bring back the feeling of "family togetherness" the season continually emphasizes. 

To help you enjoy this merry season instead of dreading it, here are some tips for those dealing with separated parents this time of year.

Shift your focus

Instead of dwelling on your family's circumstance, think about those who are less fortunate and try to get involved in doing something for those in need. For example, you could donate gifts to your local shelter or give your time serving a meal at a soup kitchen. This act of kindness will give you a new perspective and ultimately distract you from the hectic aspects of the holidays with separated parents.

Eliminate the guilt

With divorced parents, a feeling of lingering guilt on their side is inevitable, as your parents may feel guilty for having your holiday be different than what it used to be. On the flip side, you may also feel guilty for having to leave your mom and spend your holiday with your dad or vice versa. It's essential that you let go of any guilt you may have because none of it is your fault. You did not put yourself in this situation, your parents did. Accepting that and trying to make the best out of it all will make your holiday a lot more festive and fun!

Set some rules

With divorced parents, you've probably witnessed the bickering and conflicting opinions for a long time. By establishing some boundaries, you can basically shield yourself from the negativity that your parents might bring. For example, you can refuse to listen to or participate in conversations that insult the other parent. By communicating this to both of them, it will remind them of what the holiday means to you and how they should be acting.

Take a deep breath

With the chaos of the holiday season—running back and forth between houses, attending party after party, etc.—remember to take a step back and just let yourself relax. Remembering what the holidays are all about (even if the whole family isn't together) will help in improving your overall mood and attitude.   

Spend time with friends

Although hanging out with them in person might not be possible this time of the year, your friend can make you laugh and give helpful advice to get you through a stressful day with just a short phone call, Snapchat or text. 

Be mindful of your health

Take care of your well-being, both physically and emotionally. Having divorced parents can definitely take a toll on your mind and body, so taking a walk/run or reading a good book can help detract from the potential anxiety you are feeling and help to clear your head when you are overwhelmed about everything going on.

Utilize these tips this weekend to enjoy your holiday to the fullest and know that GL is here to support you and understands what you're going through.

If divorce is something that plagues your holiday season, share your story in the comments. If not, show your support below instead.

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by Cecelia Yost | 12/24/2016
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