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All alone for the holidays?

 

The Jewish High Holidays are just days away, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I’m sure many are counting down the shopping days until Christmas. Celebrating holidays can be a stressful time when you’re divorced – but it doesn’t need to be.

 

I’ve written about this before, but I know it is top of mind for many, so I felt I should blog about it again. If you find yourself without your children or extended family at a time when you traditionally celebrated with them, it can be a sad and lonely experience without them now.

 

Here’s a little reminder of what I have previously posted and tips to get you though.

 

Who says you have to celebrate those days the traditional route or the way you celebrated when you were married? If you find yourself alone, create new meaning for these celebrations and enjoy them on your own terms. Here are some tips to get you through these celebrations.

 

 

  • Create new traditions. If the old traditions are too painful to follow, let them go. Instead of trying to re-create the past, create your own positive future.

  • Throw your own party and invite friends or family who have nowhere to go during this time.

 

  • Make a special effort to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Don’t try drowning your sorrows with alcohol or food.  Doing anything to excess when you are sad or worried is rarely a smart move.

  • Be good to yourself. Go for a manicure or massage, buy a great CD, catch up on your favorite hobby. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend or family member.

 

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable, speak with a trusted friend, therapist or someone in your support group.

  • Plan ahead. If it looks like you’re going to be spending the time on your own, find an interesting activity or a place to travel so you can be with other people.

 

  • Surround yourself with people, whether from your support network, your family, your church or synagogue. You may even be able to attend a special support group holiday function.

  • Contemplate how you would like your life to look like post-divorce and write down what you need to do to get there. Start doing one of those things now.

  • Stay in control by making lists of what you need to do and checking each item off as you accomplish it.

  • Use any time alone to do the things you’ve been putting off — catching up on paperwork; catching up on sleep; reading the great book that’s been sitting unopened for weeks or months; calling the friend you’ve been meaning to reconnect with.

  • If putting on a dinner or party in the family home doesn’t feel right, try doing something for others off site. For example, you could visit a retirement home and read to those whose families can’t be with them during the holidays.

  • Continue to make the holidays special for your children. Include them in developing new traditions. Ask them how they would like to celebrate.

 

  • Plan ahead how your children are going to spend the holidays. Avoid the stress of figuring things out last minute. This will give you a sense of comfort, relief and control.

  • Be creative and flexible. If your children are not celebrating the holidays with you, think about making another day during holiday time a special day together.

  • If your children are going to be with their other parent, phone them and wish them a happy holiday. Let them know that you are thinking about them.

  • Don’t make your children feel that they have to take care of you during this special time. Send them the message that the holidays are a special time and you want them to enjoy themselves.

  • Spare the occasional good thought for your ex.  Your marriage likely had some good moments. Remembering those times occasionally will help you lift yourself out of your bitterness about your current situation.

 

Wishing everyone good health, happiness and prosperity; peace and love.


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From dam to glam: dating after divorce

 

The dating game, and how to ensure you are putting

your children’s best interests first.

 

 

It’s been said that dating is something that is good for you but can be hard on your children, because it pulls you away from them and may be confusing for them. There are no specific rules for dating when you have kids; there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Of course, your priority should still be your children, and sometimes you have to sacrifice your needs for them.

 

Dating postdivorce, achieving balance in your life and putting your children’s best interest first can be a challenge. Please click on the link to read more about tips and strategies as to how to navigate this new phase in your life postdivorce.

 

http://www.more.ca/relationships/married-life/from-dam-to-glam-dating-after-divorce/a/1800

 

I wrote this article for More magazine’s online edition. More magazine is a publication which celebrates women over 40. Men should also feel comfortable reading this article as it offers great insight into dating postdivorce; tips that apply to both men and women. If you would like to browse through this magazine click on the following link: www.more.ca

 

Knowing how to put your children’s best interests first
will give you a sense of comfort, calm and
the freedom to enjoy yourself.


18 Comments

Help, my teenager doesn’t want to spend time with me!

Flexibility is especially important as your children enter their teen years. Teenagers are self-centered. Teenagers are fickle. Teenagers tend to see their parents for what they can offer–a wallet (money), a fridge (food, food, and more food), a bed (a place to sleep all day) and a car (with you as either their personal chauffeur or the “giver of the car keys”).

Don’t mistake your teenager’s struggle for independence, or his or her desire to spend more time with friends or on the Internet, for symptoms of your divorce. As children reach their early or mid-teens, their peer groups become essential to their lives. They don’t care about Mom’s time or Dad’s time; they just care about their own time. Their whole life focuses around their friends, which is normal–their primary focus is on themselves.

Many parents also complain that their children never let them know ahead of time what they will be doing, but that may be because the children themselves do not really know; that’s not how children make their plans. They get on their computers, they instant message each other, and the plan emerges, sometimes within a space of fifteen minutes. All of a sudden, they are busy and on their way to join up with friends.

Teenage behavior can be hard to take sometimes. The teen years can be especially hard for noncustodial parents. If you live an hour away from your child’s primary residence, where his or her school and peer group are, that makes it tough for the teenager to really enjoy his or her time at your home. As difficult as it may be for the noncustodial parent, most times that parent needs to take a backseat role to the person who is the custodial parent.

Here are some tips to stay connected with your teens:

  • Offer to drive them to their friends.
  • Check in with your kids via their cell phones and e-mail accounts to just to say, “What’s up?”; “How was your day?”; and so forth. Checking in helps ensure that you have as much input with your kids as their friends do.
  • Be flexible; be an open door. Invite kids over either after school or for a few hours on the weekend, or just to have dinner, rather than for the full evening or weekend. You can say, “You are welcome the entire weekend, but I won’t be upset if you want to be with your friends; you tell me if it fits in. If not, and you want to be with your friends, I’ll drive you.” If you pressure your kids to give up time with their friends in order to be with you, it will only backfire, causing your children to avoid you.

Try not to think in terms of minutes and hours;

think in terms of the quality of the relationship

you are building and sustaining.