Family Values. How to Handle the First Christmas After Divorce
Based on the data collected in Texas and analyzed by OnlineDivorce, the divorce rate in Texas is approximately equal to the US crude divorce rate, becoming somewhat lower year by year. Since Texas is a culturally and ethnically diverse state, marriage and divorce stats are affected not only by the national trends but also by cultural traditions and patterns.
About 40% of the Texas population is Hispanic, who, following the stats, typically have stronger families. So, 80% of marriages survive to 5 years and 65% to 10 years, compared with 77% and 60%, respectively, as for the white Texans.
Within a Latino group, a higher indicator of "relationship quality" is traditionally demonstrated by couples who attend church. This applies to relationships regardless of marital status. Respondents confirm that "many Latinos and Hispanics" are encouraged (both by the church and by naturally formed cultural patterns) to adopt views and behaviors that indirectly could contribute to the marriage, though do not necessarily encourage marriage itself. We are talking about the concept of familism - orientation to the interests of the family, which for Latinos plays an even more significant role than an orientation to marriage, although the connection between these concepts cannot be denied.
No social group is safe from divorce, and for the entire population of Texas, divorce rates peak in the Christmas holidays each year.
A heavy blow for the couple, for their children and families, is only exacerbated by the emphasis on the "family" atmosphere of the winter celebrations. If the family is not a meaningless word for you, you cannot simply cancel Christmas, or ignore the former spouse and his/her family until the end of days, if you have children together. When there are children in the family, you are interested in maintaining peaceful and even possibly friendly relations with your ex. "Focusing not on the marriage, but on the family" - this above all concerns the happiness and well-being of your children and their bright future. So let's start small and think about how to survive the first Christmas after a divorce, avoiding depression, establishing communication with the ex-spouse, and giving your kids a celebration.
7 tips to help you avoid stress during the Christmas holidays
1. Agree on the visitation schedule
Make sure your schedule is stable. Regardless of whether you are the custodian or non-custodial parent, agree on the time and duration of the children's stay with you or with him/her or other relatives in advance. On holidays, many people have extra days off or current plans which are not included in the standard visitation schedule. In general, the schedule can change, and you should be ready to make some exceptions.
2. Surprise children
Do not fight for specific days which the children should spend with you. And if you are the primary custodian, do not get angry if children perceive rare meetings with the other parent as a holiday. Most often, the custodial parent is mainly involved in routine care and upbringing, and the second parent spoils the child since they rarely see the kid and misses him. But the holidays are a great occasion to arrange a special day, forget about strict rules and just have fun together with your child. Any parent should remember that the most important thing is not the number of hours or days spent with the child, but the quality of this time
3. Allow children to choose
Your children should know that they can spend time with either parent. This is normal and should be enjoyable for everyone. However, no way do not complain to a child. Do not express jealousy. For this purpose, go to a therapist or a close friend.
4. Create brand new traditions
Creating new traditions is a new beginning for you and your children. So, find new ways to celebrate important days. You can keep some familiar traditions so as not to shock your kids, but it is also worth introducing a novelty into the holiday. It's good to add some new and delicious traditional meals, try new home decorating ideas, or visit and congratulate the child's friends' family.
5. Choose active rest
Move the Christmas outside: go skiing, sledding, go to the park, or the country. There is nothing more beautiful and inspiring by positive than outdoor activities with children. After all, active rest is not only the key to a good appetite and healthy sleep but also a proven and natural way to lower stress hormones.
6. Say 'No' to alcohol
Stay sober. If you allow yourself too much during this challenging post-divorce period, then you risk becoming a bag of nerves, self-pity, and depression. Nobody wants to see this, especially your children.
7. Do not focus on financial difficulties
If you have just recently divorced, then perhaps you are experiencing financial difficulties. Be reasonable; try not to spend money as before. Extra expenses will only exacerbate your stress. Focus on what we can do without material costs. Do something special for your beloved children. Maybe you can write a short story for each of them or come up with a holiday game or quest. Gifts rarely make sense. You may not even remember those that you received last year. You will remember forever the feeling of love and appreciation.
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