24 Dec Divorce: Kids and the Holidays
Divorced Families Experience More Stress During the Holidays
The holidays are a time of celebration and time with family. Unfortunately, this often creates extra challenges and stress. For most families, the holiday chaos can be tricky to navigate and stress levels can skyrocket. For children of divorce, splitting holiday plans can be even more challenging. To ensure that the holiday season is a success for you and your kids, here are a few tips to guide the process.
Divorce and the holidays: Communicate ahead of time. For those parenting out of two households, it is important to discuss holiday plans and arrangements. Going through important dates ahead of time can alleviate common divorce arguments and misunderstandings about who gets the kids when. Equally important is discussing other significant dates and events that come with the holiday season. Some examples are school concerts and holiday performances. Planning to have both parents involved in these special events can bring added joy to your child during this time.
Speaking of your kids, remember to include them in the discussion about holiday plans and schedules. Keeping your children in the loop helps them to feel included. This can give them a sense of control amid all the family changes taking place. This also reassures them that their needs and feelings are being considered during the process.
Divorce and the holidays: Make new traditions.
While it may be hard initially to adjust to spending the holidays in two different households, beginning new traditions with each parent can be memorable and fun! Consider new things to do as a family, adding new traditions that our special and unique to each home. Maybe kids bake cookies and dance to music with one parent and have a silly gift exchange with the other. This will become the new meaning of the holiday over the years, and your child will anticipate and look forward to all the new traditions.
Focus on the kids
Remember to focus on the time you have with your child. This can be a difficult transition for any family, but especially for kids who have holiday split-time that comes with a divorced family. Kids are very aware of, and often feel guilty, about leaving one of their parents to spend time with the other. Be mindful of this and let your child know that you will be okay without them. Tell them that you want to enjoy all the time you spend with them. Carve out as much quality time as possible, so everyone can enjoy the holiday season together.
Elyse earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She also has her Bachelor of Sciences in psychology from Illinois State University. Since 2010, Elyse has worked with children, teens, families, and couples in various schools, private practice, and community mental health settings.
She recognizes that a safe, trusting, and supportive environment is needed for any change to occur, and she creates this with her compassion, warmth, and understanding of her clients’ needs and strengths. Elyse works with children and teens who are struggling with anxiety, distractibility, impulsivity, depression, trauma, self-esteem, emotional regulation, and school refusal issues. She actively collaborates with each client to overcome obstacles that may seem too big, or too hard to manage, and uses the unique qualities and strengths that each client already possesses to produce change and growth. Elyse loves when she sees clients gain more effective coping skills and build confidence in themselves to face their challenges.
With couples, Elyse is also trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and PREPARE-ENRICH and is passionate about empowering couples (dating, premarital, and married) to address areas of hurt, frustration, and disappointments in order to build a happier, healthier, and an overall stronger relationship. By carefully bridging each partner’s relational concerns, and laying a foundation of trust, Elyse helps couples forgive past mistakes, learn to accept differences, and to understand their partner from a new perspective. Areas Elyse addresses with couples are: conflict resolution, difference in parenting styles, communication skills, infidelity and forgiveness, premarital counseling, and separation.
Elyse loves helping clients of all ages to achieve their goals so that they can thrive and find joy in their relationships. When Elyse is not working, she loves spending her time taking her dog on long walks, spending time with loved ones, and trying new workouts that keep her active.