10 Holiday Traditions Upset? Or Reset?
Separation is accompanied by conflict, loss, and confusion for both the parents and children. The extended families may be fending off taking take sides. From their perspective, their long-standing involvement in the kids’ lives could be seriously jeopardized.
Emotions already at a high, can be easily enflamed. Misunderstandings outnumber kind gestures. Children feel unsettled and fearful.
Warm family memories. Treasured traditions.
What can be salvaged or reset during separation around the holidays?
- Engage the children in invoking favoured traditions by assigning a task to each child. Contributing to the completion of the whole project promotes self -worth, sense of belonging, and accomplishment.
- Consider a community activity such as Children’s Wish Foundation, volunteering at an animal shelter, or supporting a nursing home initiative to elicit feelings of gratitude outside the family home.
- Thoughtful visits with extended family sharing in a balanced way the value of nurturing and maintaining supportive family ties.
- Holidays are about the kids. Separation is about the parents. Keep the two separate.
- Parents taking turns caring for the children in the family home provides continuity of care, stability, comfort and security; all important basic needs of each child, young and old.
- Try something new. A cooking experience! Something zesty and unexpected with the children. Consider decamping to an outdoor cultural event, an aquarium, or musical theatre.
- Spend special time with each child engaging in activities they enjoy doing even if you don’t. Building forts under the dining room table, a royal tea party, or building block towers.
- Don’t forget the value of laughter. Snow angels. Snowmen. Tickle fights.
- And don’t forget the value of expressing grief. Private conversations with a parent provide each child the opportunity to release and explore feelings in a safe way.
- When the angst and pain of separation fades, the children, their cousins, and your friends will have inaugurated new traditions for a new future.