Tips to survive the holidays when your parents are divorced

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This week, I have taken on the task of writing a post on a very painful and personal topic.

This topic is one that I’m sure you’ve all heard of, and if you haven’t gone through it, I’m sure you know someone who has.

The topic I’m talking about is Divorce.

A divorce is when two people, for any number of reasons, decide they no longer want to be married. For some people, a divorce can be a good thing, but for me and my family, it was the most traumatizing experience I’ve ever gone through.  

My once loving family that had been building and growing together suddenly got torn apart, and my life was changed forever. Fighting and hate had taken the place of where love and kindness once was.

I’ve had to grow up with the divorce; it’s surrounded my entire life. From aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and worst of all, my own parents.

I was nine when my parents split; it was the worst thing to ever happen to me. To this day, it still affects me.

One moment, I was living in a nice house with two loving parents, and the next minute I was being dragged from everything I had known and loved, and only allowed to see one parent at a time.

I felt like I was in enemy territory whenever I visited one of parents, because they hated each other so much. No child should ever have to feel like this with their parents.

Everyone involved in a nasty divorce suffers.

When a divorce happens, it impacts everyone, like a ripple in a pond.

My parents had to begin their lives over again. Once separated, their income dropped drastically. This was due to constantly taking each other to court, and having to pay outrages amounts in child support (that one mostly affected my Dad). And because of this, we couldn’t afford to live anywhere for very long, we were constantly moving, at least once a year. This caused my mother to fall into a bit of depression, and my father started drinking. 

Surrounding friends and family became support to us. I remember for a little while, we had to live with my aunt because my mom couldn’t afford a house yet. I thought it was fun, until I realized that my Dad wouldn’t be joining us. It was in this moment that I realized how much hatred my family had towards my Dad. 

Everyone treated him like he was Voldemort. Whenever I would ask about my Dad, no one would answer me. My mother started telling me lies about him like, “he doesn’t want to see you” or “he doesn’t care” in an effort to get me to hate him too. I could never understand why. No one would tell me what was happening, and worst of all, no one ever gave me any comfort that things were going to be okay.

I believe that children suffer the most, especially around the holidays. 

Although the divorce was painful on all of us, I believe that me and my brother suffered the most.  As children grow, it’s important for them to have a sturdy foundation, so they can begin to spread their roots; when a divorce occurs, their entire world becomes flipped upside down, and the foundation becomes torn.

Holidays were the worst, sometimes we could only be with one parent, but most of my holidays consisted of waking up at one parents house opening gifts, and then being rushed to the other parents house. I wasn’t able to relax and enjoy my holiday.

How to survive the holidays when you have divorced parents

  • First off, try talking to your parents about who you want to spend the holiday with, sometimes they may be willing to work with you.
  • If you can only spend the holiday with one parent, try planning a day that you and your other parent can spend together. Go to a movie or to dinner, or celebrate the holiday early with them.
  • If you celebrate Christmas, make two different Christmas lists, and give each parent one. That way they won’t have to fight with each other about what to get you.
  • Try starting new holiday traditions with each parent. This will help make your time with each parent special.

Although it may be hard to see your parents fight with each other, especially this time of year, please remember they both love you, they are angry with each other, not you.

 I think my parents’ divorce will always impact me. With the holidays upon us, its hard knowing that I can only spend them with one parent.

I envy the kids whose parents are still together or the ones whose parents may be split up, but can still get along with each other. Every time I’m out in public and I see children with both of their parents, I feel a little sad. Even today, my parents cannot be in the same room with each other, we would be transported into a Hunger Games arena.

Growing up, my parents always told me to forgive people, to let things go, to love people even if they make you mad. But even after 12 years, they still don’t practice these things on each other. What kind of an example are they setting?

I hope one day they can forgive each other.

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