The year 2015 is coming to an end. Of course, there is still one holiday to celebrate before 2016 begins. For some, the countdown to the new year might feel like less of a celebration, and more of a chilling reality.
When the holidays end and the new year begins, the trend across the country has been for divorce filings to increase in numbers. Many couples or individuals who want a divorce put it off until the holidays end, perhaps hoping to save kids from the stress during what should be a fun time for young ones.
Are you in the boat of waiting until 2016 to file divorce papers and letting your kids in on the big family change that is about to occur? If so, a licensed social worker has some simple advice about how to approach this last holiday before divorce and child custody arrangements change your family's future:
Try to relax and enjoy (or tolerate)
Soon enough, you won't be spending New Year's celebrations with your spouse. And this holiday time with your kids could be split with your ex post-divorce. Keeping those impending custody and visitation changes in mind, try to just remember the good times with your family, including your spouse, and soak in the special moments before life changes.
Don't overdo it
You might feel the pressure to make this the best, most indulgent holiday celebration for your kids. Maybe you are letting the guilt of the upcoming divorce turn you into an overly affectionate and generous parent. Kids can often sense more than parents realize, and no parent wants to make their children uncomfortable, nor set the scene for a future of guilt-based material spoils.
Vent to proper sources
Even if you are sure that divorce is right for you, it is still normal to feel sad, afraid and worried about the family change. Especially when there are kids involved, a parent might feel sad about how divorce could impact their kids' lives. Expressing your emotions is important, but it is also important to express them in a healthy way and to the appropriate people. Your kids are not equipped to emotionally support you, and they shouldn't be expected to handle adult matters such as your feelings about divorce and child custody matters.
If getting a divorce is part of your 2016 plan, make talking to the proper sources part of that plan too. Clearly, this means talking with a divorce lawyer, but it could also mean speaking with a counselor, a trusted friend, or a leader in your church who could help you manage the emotions of divorce and find more balance during and after the process.