Sharing the holidays between divorced parents who don’t get along sucks. It feels like you’re constantly stuck in the middle and they sometimes treat you as a business exchange other than the teen you are. You are not alone in feeling this way. Below I share some quick tips to help you feel better about sharing the holidays with divorced parents.
1. Understanding what you’re parents are actually saying –
a. Your parents sometimes don’t really know how to express themselves. They make smart remarks about the other parent (which can totally make you feel uncomfortable) or they make statements about you loving another parent more. We can stay here and talk about them all day but you already know how that goes. The point is: you’re parents, although they are adults, don’t always know the right thing to say and are also experiencing a difficult time. So keep in mind, your parents love you very much and even though they can’t always communicate it in the best way, in reality, they just want to spend as much time with you as they can especially during the holidays.
2. Be present –
a. Being present is about enjoying the moment wherever you are. You can do this by checking in with yourself and asking, “what’s happening right now?” For example, if you’re in your mother’s house opening gifts, take that moment to look around and notice people’s reaction to the gift opening, the music that’s playing in the background, and the smell of a home-cooked meal. By paying attention to what you are actively doing, can help you reduce the feelings of anxiety and it allows you to appreciate the small things in life.
3. Building new traditions –
a. Instead of going against the changes during the holidays, I’m going to ask you to embrace the holiday changes. I know it sounds easier said than done but hear me out. Building new traditions can be fun! Both parents have different strengths and qualities that you look forward to. Focus on those strengths and if there is a new tradition you would like to implement in one house or the other, simply ask your parents if they would be open to adding that new tradition to help you feel more comfortable during these challenging times. When asking, make sure to be clear in your request and provide meaning as to why you would want this new tradition. When you do this, you are showing your parents that you can take initiative, are aware of your emotions, and want to help build new traditions together.
Holidays with divorced parents aren’t always easy. However, by understanding your parents’ intention, being present, and building new traditions will help ease some of the added stressors. In the meantime, I’ll be sending you positive vibes during this holiday season and hope you like, share, or comment below if this article helped you.