Ahhhh, the Holidays!

I can tell the holidays are here again because parents fighting over children has escalated at Hannah's House. It seems like just yesterday it was costumes and Trick-or-Treating. Now it's fights about when the family eats the turkey and what time that absolutely must happen! I met a 30 year old woman recently who spoke about how much she hates Thanksgiving and Christmas now because of the way her parents fought over her when she was a little girl. She said that there are not any good memories for her, just bad ones. Tension, fear, competition, and being caught in the middle between her mom and dad. She remembers trying to tell her parents to stop fighting, that she didn't care what time of day she hate turkey, that she didn't care if she had to eat turkey twice in one day, and that she didn't care what day she celebrated the holiday. All she wanted was for her parents to get along. 

That is what most children of divorce and separation want, for their parents to get along. So what does that look like from the child's point of view? Here are some ideas! Let us play with our friends, wherever they are. Let us share a meal with Mom and Dad during the holiday week-end -- that's right -- the REAL day does not matter to a child. Lamenting the loss of family tradition is a coward's way out and sometimes that of a very selfish person pretending to be a grown-up. Sound harsh? I suppose so. But I have been helping children navigate the stormy and threatening seas of parental disputes over these holidays for over twenty-five years and things just don't seem to change. 

What will your child associate with important cultural/family holidays? Fighting, tension, and the pretense of happiness? Or will it be compromise and a spirit of sharing? What a great opportunity to teach your child about cooperation, positive solutions and finding the win-win for everybody in the family -- I hope you seize this chance to be kind and generous with your child this year. After all, a family is a circle of people who love you and your child deserves to experience that circle of love during this holiday season