There are some great points in this article (link below) that are very relevant to both children of the before group as well as those dealing annually with the “split family” holiday conflicts. I hope some of these insights come in handy no matter which side of the timeline you are on and I’m adding a story with a touch of real Christmas magic. Enjoy!
An emotional tale of kindness has captured international attention as a father from Wales paid tribute to his late neighbor, Ken, in a Monday social media post. Owen Williams says that after his elderly neighbor died, Ken’s daughter delivered 14 wrapped presents. Those presents were from Ken and intended for Williams’ daughter. If she opened one per year, she could have a “present from Ken” until her 16th Christmas.
Vicki L. Shemin, J.D., LICSW, ACSW is a domestic relations attorney (specializing in mediation, collaborative law, divorce coaching, settlement negotiations and high-conflict cases) who never goes to court to resolve matters.
“When it comes to children of divorce far too many of them the holidays mean split loyalties, guilt, sadness and regret.
It always strikes me that, for most children of divorce, the heartache attendant to the holidays is a yearly occurrence that stirs and reawakens abject wounds and unhealed scars. Even as children become adolescents and young adults who “vote with their feet,” the mere fact of making a holiday choice reawakens the old worries about “split loyalties” and “is it just easier to be with friends so my parents don’t think I am choosing between the two of them.”
Why split loyalties? Even if children have no choice as to where they are going to be for a holiday, the mere fact of being with one parent versus the other means making a difficult choice.
Why guilt? Children are acutely attuned to the fact that they are the identified cause of exasperation between their parents.
Why sadness? Psychologists know that children wonder how they can manage to have a joyous holiday with one parent while simultaneously longing to be with the other one.
Why regret? Many children of divorce feel that it is theirresponsibility to somehow change the dynamic between their parents while inevitably recognizing that they are really helpless to do so.
In the process of our mediations at PeaceTalks these issues are dealt with as we prepare couples and eventually their children for the coming transitions. Due to the changes in the tax laws for 2019 we have seen many former clients who are still following guideline that we set up with them years ago to help keep peace in the family, so to speak. Interestingly enough, the holiday schedule itself, can be the biggest ball to juggle. We start out talking with couples about this next question for the inevitable transportation kid shuttles and the author phrases this one nicely. Good luck dealing with logistics and if someone has a filing deadline problem we’ll see if we have an available asset for some assistance.
Consider typical holiday custody provisions – does it resemble more of a bus schedule or a child-centered schedule?