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5 Tips on Creating New Holiday Traditions After Divorce.

By | - October 2, 2018

Steve Benmor is a recognized divorce lawyer, family mediator, arbitrator, speaker, writer and educator. Mr. Benmor has worked as lead counsel in many divorce trials, held many leadership positions in the legal community and has been regularly interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers as an expert in Family Law.

Let’s be honest, a divorce occurs because things just were not right. So if you start from the premise that things need to change, then it follows that divorce is a time for you to establish new family routines, traditions and rituals. Whether that applies to your weekly routine (eg. pizza night, scrabble tournament, late night Smores or a bike ride after dinner) or it applies to annual celebrations (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, birthdays, long weekends), the sky is the limit. You have the option to use divorce as a fresh start for you and for the kids.

Tip #1: Make it all about family unity. Discuss this with the kids. Ask them to shout out new ideas. Generate the creative juices by giving them options and choices. Your children may love some of the old traditions and so try to keep the good. Run with their ideas (within limits). While preserving the good from the past, build on it with new ideas. Be respectful of your new partner and his/her kids as well. Make it inclusive, light and fun.

Tip #2: If you have more than one child, plan on one-on-one time with each child. Remember that each child will react differently to divorce. Younger kids may regress, while older kids may act out or retreat in silence. If one-on-one connections prove to be a success, repeat this as a new tradition.

Tip #3: Include the kids in organizing the events. Divorce can sometimes make children feel like they are out of control and unimportant. Handing them the responsibility of planning the event is great for their self-esteem and engagement. It is also shows your child that you trust him and marks the transition from the old to the new.

Tip #4: Expand your circle. After a divorce, kids can especially feel isolated and alone. Reach out to friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors, and invite them into your new plans. Let the kids see how many people love them and care for them.

Tip #5: Be consistent. If you begin a new tradition, then let the kids know that it is now part of their new routine. Before the event, show excitement about it. Plan it with them. Let them feel your positive energy. After the event, talk about how much fun it was. Share pics of the events on social media. Let the kids hear you tell your friends about how much fun it was. Talk about planning the ‘next one’.

The important thing to remember is that kids have needs. They need to feel important, nurtured and comforted. Spending time with them is the best way to do so. This reminds them that you will always be there for them. New family dynamics equals new traditions. This is a great way to build a new and happy life for the kids and you after divorce.

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