The reality of a divorce or separation often hits families the hardest over holidays and vacation time. Family vacations may have been where many memories were created over the years. Now, after a breakup of the family, it’s an emotional time since nobody is quite sure what family vacation after the divorce really means.
Being a parent going through a divorce or separation, feelings are magnified. Not only do you have your own emotions in play, but you have your children’s emotions to consider as well. Sometimes, children add to that stress level by the truckload. They may ask questions you aren’t prepared to answer. They may play on the situation. They may be angry or sullen in general or they may be too young to understand. Whatever the situation, be cautious always to separate your emotions from your children’s.
So, in light of the emotions, the anxiety and any other emotions, how do you stay upbeat and try to enjoy the vacation for the sake of the family? Here are some steps to help you get through it.
Spend time establishing NEW traditions with your kids.
If old traditions cause you pain, or, they are no longer possible, change them up rather than just stopping them altogether. When your children question this or seem upset by this, explain to them that you are going to create your own new traditions together and make them a part of it. Let them be a part of suggesting new ideas. You may get silly ideas from younger children but that’s ok! It’s part of making this fun and exciting for them and for you too!
Go somewhere new
Rather than vacationing at the same place you always go, try a new place. One client received a time-share as part of his settlement in the divorce agreement. Instead of using it to go to Disney on his next vacation (as they did every year), he worked with the company and worked out an arrangement to go to a new place each year. Making it exciting for the kids gave them something to look forward to during their visit with him while working on new memories.
Take time out from the adult conversations
If you are in the middle of ongoing arguments with your ex, let them wait until after the vacation. Stop returning calls, turn down the volume, quit texting or turn off the phone all together from arguing with the ex while with the children. In fact, time with the children needs to be quality time on vacation and time on the phone with anyone should be limited unless necessary. No child wants to have memories of their parent spent on the phone arguing with the other parent every year around vacation time. It CAN wait a few days and if you have an attorney, let her handle it.
Temper Your Emotions
Vacation time isn’t just tough on you. It’s tough on the children too. More so than you probably know. Their family has been split up or in the very least, things have changed from what they were accustomed to seeing each day. They will need time to adjust. They will have questions. They may bombard you with questions and the during a family vacation may be when these questions come up the most. Make sure they know you love them and want them with you. Never take it for granted that they know because children do not always know. They will often blame themselves for the breakup of their parents. Sometimes the best gift we can give them is to stop and just listen to them and let them vent without blowing up even when we are hurting or angry ourselves.
How do you do that? Let your attorney fight your legal battles. This allows you to have more energy at home for the emotional battles you will need to fight.
Got a situation like this you need to discuss? Do wait until you are too stressed! Contact me now so we can put a plan in motion for you and your family.