SAN DIEGO, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Modern times have delivered to us
the alternative family, including but not limited to ex-spouses,
step-parents, and step-siblings. During the holiday season, children and
families may experience confusion, distress, or tension.
For many, the picturesque holiday of families celebrating with food and
gifts, with mom, dad, son, and daughter joined under one roof has been
displaced. Today, over one-third of all marriages end in divorce as
reported by the National Center for Health Statistics. Many children now
celebrate their holidays under several different roofs and possibly with
more than one mom or dad, creating the potential for the holidays to be
difficult and stressful times for children and parents of divorce.
In addition to the typical holiday stress, often children of divorced
families are under even more anxiety and grief. Often, the holidays are a
time for reminiscing. Many children find it difficult to cope with memories
of when their parents were together. Marriage and Family Therapists can
help parents and their children create a season that reignites a sense of
excitement, celebration, and joy. Here are some tips to help children enjoy
* Stick with a routine. It is important for children to have a sense
of stability and predictability during the holiday season.
* Make a plan. Communicate to your ex-spouse or co-parent beforehand
about holiday plans and schedules with your children. For instance,
a rotation of Christmas and Thanksgiving every other year is one
option, as is Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with
another. Also, it is important for co-parents to put their schedules
in writing, perhaps facilitated by a divorce lawyer, so there is no
confusion about who gets which holiday and when.
* Orchestrate the giving of gifts. Know what the other parent is giving
your child and give your gifts accordingly. Avoid double gifts and
ones that "out-do" the other parent.
* Above all, let children love their parents. Allow your children to
keep in touch with your co-parent even while in your care.
The holidays can be a time for feasting, laughter, and happy memories
after all. Remember, as a parent, you have the responsibility to create for
your child a most joyful holiday season, and with the proper support system
and professional help, you and your family can celebrate the season with
ease and enjoyment.
If you feel you are unable to communicate with your ex-spouse or
relatives, family therapy may be the solution. Therapy can address and
modify constraints, help family members communicate with one another in a
productive way, and develop strategies to solve problems more effectively.
To learn more about how therapy can help and to locate a Marriage and
Family Therapist, visit California's online resource,
The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT),
with 27 chapters throughout the state, is an independent professional
organization, representing the interests of licensed Marriage and Family
Therapists. CAMFT provides www.TherapistFinder.com as a resource to
prospective patients looking for Marriage and Family Therapists located in
California. For more information about CAMFT, please call (858) 292-2638 or
visit www.camft.org or www.TherapistFinder.com
SOURCE California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists