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Rebuilding Bonds: Embracing New Family Traditions After Divorce

by | Oct 16, 2023 | Divorce and Life After, Kids and Parenting, Life in General

Divorce can be a challenging and heart-breaking journey that leaves you feeling lost, alone, and uncertain of what the future holds. As a mother navigating the ups and downs of shared parenting, you might be struggling to create new family traditions for yourself and your children. 

But the reality is, that post-divorce life can provide a unique opportunity to forge new and deeper connections with your children. In this blog, we’ll explore how creating new family traditions can be an unexpected blessing in disguise and a special chance to bond with your children.

According to a C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital national poll, one in five parents say their stress level ruins their kids’ holidays. We want to consider the holidays joyful, but they can also be challenging for many families.

Each year, the TV ads seem to start sooner, and the toys cost more. There are also new pressures now with trying to avoid crowds and deal with a possible recession.

How can you celebrate the season without becoming overwhelmed with the added stress of not spending all of them with your kids?

Rethink Your Ideas of What Traditions Should Look Like

Post-divorce, one of the most significant obstacles to creating new family traditions is the pressure to recreate the past. You might feel like you’re failing if you can’t replicate the same traditions from your pre-divorce life. However, it’s essential to throw away any expectations of what traditions should look like and embrace something new and different. 

For example, if you used to spend holidays with your extended family, it may be time to try a new tradition like visiting a new city, taking up a cooking class, or simply spending the day volunteering.

Arrange for holiday visitation in advance

Address visitation with your children in writing as part of your divorce agreement. You can always make modifications if things change over the years, but this will give you some framework for going forward and take the questioning and miscommunication out of the way with your ex. Alternating years work best for many people.

Stay in touch when your kids are away

Try to let your children have some contact with the other parent if they won’t be spending time with both parents. You can arrange a phone time in advance. Video calls are the next best thing to being there in person.

Have Realistic Expectations

It’s essential to maintain realistic expectations when creating new family traditions. You’re not going to be able to magically replace familiar or well-established holiday traditions immediately. 

For example, if you’ve always had annual family dinners at your home and now alternate with your ex-partner, it’s essential to communicate with your children that it might feel different, but you will still place emphasis on providing joy and making new memories. Keep in mind that new experiences can lead to new and exciting opportunities for your family to bond.

Involve Your Kids in the Fun

The joy of creating new family traditions is that your children are going to be the focus of your attention. Taking your children’s ideas into consideration is critical in creating new experiences. Involve them in the brainstorming process, or encourage them to pick an activity they always wanted to try during the holiday season. This could be a chance for your kids to step out of their comfort zone or to try something new together. The activity doesn’t need to be significant or expensive, to be memorable.

Don’t Compare Your Journey

Divorce is a deeply personal journey, and each family’s divorce journey is unique. Comparing your situation with other single parents and their families might lead to frustrations, judgment, or other negative feelings. 

Every family has its way of working through post-divorce life, and it’s essential to trust your instincts when it comes to creating memorable family traditions. 

Honor your journey, take your time, and focus on creating meaningful experiences that work for your family.

Look Ahead

Embracing new family traditions post-divorce is a journey of self-discovery and growth for you and your family. The beauty of creating new traditions is that they are ever-changing and evolving and do not have to be static. Don’t be afraid to mix it up next holiday season and try something new again. Remember, traditions are traditions because they are made together with those we love and cherish. So, always be open to new experiences and keep those positive feelings of hope and excitement alive, long after the holidays have ended.

Budget carefully 

Divorce often creates financial hardship. This can be made worse by the commercial pressures of the holiday season. You or your ex-spouse may feel tempted to spend too much in an effort to compensate for the disruptions in your children’s lives. Be realistic if you need to cut back. There are lots of free and inexpensive indulgences to enjoy, like community concerts or making crafts together. Remember: Love is spelled T-I-M-E.

What to do during your holidays without them?

1.  Distract yourself. 

You’re bound to experience some intense emotions. If you start feeling blue, look for more constructive activities to divert your thoughts and engage your mind.

2.  Downplay the holidays. 

If you feel more comfortable detaching from the seasonal festivities, that may be your best option. Practice yoga and read a good book if that makes you happier than attending a big New Year’s Eve bash.

3.  Hit the road. 

If your family situation and finances permit, this may be a great time to travel. Fulfill a long-time wish to visit an exotic destination and get absorbed in new experiences.

4.  Reach out for support. 

You may find your experiences easier to manage if you talk your feelings over with a professional counselor or friends. Spiritual traditions may also be a source of strength.

5.  Help others. Helping others makes the holidays more rewarding and creates the best new traditions of all.

Try doing some volunteer work. Or just look around to see if you know people who may be spending the day alone and would love to be invited to a potluck at your home.

6.  Spend time with friends and family.

If you are blessed to have family and friends nearby, this is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with them without the distractions of your munchkins.

7.  Throw your own holiday party.

Another opportunity to expand horizons, create healthy distractions, and create new traditions. 

Divorce and holidays can trigger strong emotions. At these times, we tend to have head-on encounters with our expectations surrounding romantic love and family bonds. Be gentle with yourself and your kids so you can welcome new traditions into your hearts and enjoy the time you share together.

Conclusion:

Creating new family traditions post-divorce is an opportunity to build new and deeper relationships with your children and open up new horizons for memories that will last a lifetime. 

Let go of your old expectations, and have realistic ones in creating new experiences. Involve your children in the fun, don’t compare yourself to others, and finally, look ahead and embrace new opportunities. 

Remember, every family’s journey is different, and the best way to create unforgettable memories is to be present in the moment. 

May this guide help you and your family embrace new traditions and make every holiday extra special. 

See this blog here for specific ideas and suggestions for Halloween: 12 Spooktacular Ways to Make Halloween Extra Special with Family Traditions – here

 

Hello!

I am Jen,

As a dedicated life coach specializing in co-parenting, divorce, and single motherhood, I bring a unique blend of professional expertise and personal experience to my coaching practice. I am deeply committed to helping women not only survive divorce but also thrive as they transition into their roles as single mothers. I provide tailored coaching to assist my clients in developing effective co-parenting strategies, fostering healthy communication, and creating nurturing environments for their children.

I am also the author of the best-selling book “I am Amazing: From Invisible to Invincible”. My self-help memoir offers hope and inspiration for anyone who has felt overwhelmed by life and their struggles with mental health. With raw honesty and vulnerability, I provide an intimate look at my journey from victim to victorious.

 

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