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Five ways Michigan parents can ease holiday tension after divorce

It is not uncommon for a divorced couple to feel emotionally strained in the wake of the separation. It may take some time for a person to overcome the anxiety and trauma that a divorce can cause. With stress and emotions already running high, the holidays can prove to be very difficult for someone who is dealing with a divorce.

There are a number of ways a person can cope with this difficult time of year in order to make this period a little better.

First, Michigan parents who are divorced may be experiencing their first holiday season with their kids in a different way. Maybe the holidays are split between parents, or the kids spend part of the day with mom and the other part with dad. Whatever the arrangement is, it can be very difficult to try and recreate the traditions that were enjoyed when the parents were together. Instead, it may be helpful to start new traditions with the kids. It can be refreshing to go someplace different for dinner or try something new together.

With the abundance of holiday parties that are held this time of year, it can be overwhelming. While it may be easy to accept or refuse all the invitations extended, choose to go to only those events that will be a positive, enjoyable time. Deciding to go or not go at the last minute may take the pressure off making firm commitments. During this transitional period, friends and family will likely understand the need for flexibility.

Finally, it is very common to experience negative feelings. It is very difficult to escape the commercialism of the holidays and the portrayal of the happy families, but limiting exposure to the sentimentality of the season may help. It is also important to remember that a difficult transition is temporary. The negative feelings that may be heightened during this time of year will fade.

Understanding that a divorce is a tremendous transition is a vital step in recognizing limitations and emotions during the holidays. With patience and some new coping methods, a person can enjoy a more joyful season.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce and The Holidays: The 5 Best Things You Can Do For Yourself," Susan Pease Gadoua, Dec. 20, 2011

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