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Tips for parents to get through Thanksgiving following divorce

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a six-week long, joyous holiday season of family togetherness. But if you’re recently divorced, this time of year can be emotionally turbulent.

While it can be easy to slip into despair or resentment, it’s best for you and for your kids to have a healthier outlook. In today’s post, we outline some key strategies for divorced parents to help themselves—and their kids—through Thanksgiving.

  • Be grateful: Let the true purpose of the holiday inform your behavior. Instead of dwelling on the negative changes in your life or the painful missing pieces, remind yourself of all of the good things you have in your life, and be grateful for them. Encourage your children to explore reasons they feel grateful too. Not only is this a good way to boost your spirits, you’re also modeling positive coping behavior for your children.
  • Make a plan: The holidays are often difficult for divorced parents who have children together. Some exes choose to celebrate the holidays together with their children. However, if this option isn’t viable for your circumstance, then making a holiday plan with your ex can be extremely helpful in limiting stress and resentment. If you both know what to expect and are on the same page, then you can make the most of your time with—and without—your kids. Even if you and your ex aren’t on good terms, it’s important to always be cordial to your ex in front of your kids.
  • Treat yourself: It’s likely that you’ll spend at least part of the holidays away from your kids. In your down time apart, it’s important to take good care of yourself, and do the things the make you happy. Whether it’s watching a movie at home, going out with friends or treating yourself to a Black Friday shopping spree, do whatever will make you feel good now.

Thanksgiving this year may be different than usual. But by approaching it with a fresh attitude, you can embrace the new traditions of this holiday season.