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Visitation and Holiday Stress in Illinois

With the end of the year Holidays come some unique stressors for nonresidential parents….what to do with the kids now that Dad or Mom is on his/her own for the first time?

Divorce and post-divorce can be a period of transition, awakening, and new discovery. No one needs to suffer during the holidays, and the holidays can be a chance to rekindle old traditions, set new traditions, or develop some creative ideas for the parenting time during the holidays. In other words, if your family of origin would go snowmobiling, for example, on Christmas Day, why not rekindle this way to spend Christmas Day? Celebrate, and don’t suffer! The kids will embrace this new holiday horizon.

1) First of all, relax and be yourself. Don’t allow the Holidays to be a source of stress.

2) Shop for small gifts with the children, and remember some relatives of yours that may have been forgotton in previous years. Use the time to let the kids connect again with your family, and be mindful of the connection they have with your former spouse’s family.

3) If money is an issue at the Holidays (and with child support payments, rent/mortgage, gas bills…when is it not?) talk to your child(ren) about the true meaning of the holidays, and reflect with them about how fortunate all of you are to be together, to be loved, and appreciated. Small gifts can bring large smiles.

4) Don’t let the holiday crowds get your down. Avoid the parking hassles, the shoulder to shoulder megamall shopping…kids don’t need the stress, and neither do you. Again, seek out venues that are peaceful (such as downtown Geneva), and establish a new tradition of mindful, peaceful shopping at the Holidays.

5) Spend part of a day buying a tree for your new home or apartment, and decorate the tree together. Buy a few small ornaments with your kids that go on the tree.

Yes, divorce is the end of a marriage, but it really is the beginning of a new family system. Start the new family system out with some new, creative, and inexpensive traditions. The kids will enjoy the time, and the Holidays will become a time of year not to fear, but to celebrate.

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