The Independence Day holiday is coming this weekend, and many families continue long-held traditions – fireworks, pool parties, neighborhood block parties, or grilling in the backyard. The difficulty for many divorced families – especially children of divorce – is how to continue those traditions now that the family is in two homes. It takes a lot of forethought and planning. Here are three possible options to help families celebrate holidays after a divorce.
CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY ON TWO DIFFERENT DAYS
After a divorce, it is difficult for children, especially younger children, to expect to continue traditions but do not know where they will be when the holiday comes around. One of the ways around this dilemma for children is to have the family traditions celebrated on two different days. For example, suppose the children are grilling with their father on Independence Day. In that case, they could have a similar celebration with their mother the next available day. Their mother could arrange for many of the same traditions to be celebrated with her and the children even after the holiday. Imagine applying this option to the gift-giving holidays!
SHARE THE TRADITIONS
Many parents want to continue the same traditions year over year, even after a divorce. Unfortunately, many parents find that the new reality will not necessarily allow every tradition to continue yearly. They may not be able to make red, white, and blue pancakes for their children on July 4 because they are waking up in their other home. But, this may be an opportunity for the parents to refocus their energy on the children and not on the tradition. The children may also love the traditional pancakes and may enjoy having them at the other house. This is an opportunity for the parents to talk with each other about their traditions and then find out which traditions are important to the children. Traditions can be shared across households for the benefit of the children.
CREATE NEW TRADITIONS
Many families use celebrations, such as Independence Day, to get creative and find new ways to celebrate. New households may be in new neighborhoods, allowing new friends for the adults and children. These new friends may introduce the family to different celebratory options. In addition, a parent may find new ways to celebrate without the children. Finally, many families use divorce as a way to make new traditions. There are many flexible and creative ways for divorced parents to create new opportunities for their children and themselves as the family plans to celebrate.
Divorce is a significant change for families and will likely change how families celebrate the many holidays throughout the year. But, that does not mean that traditions are lost. There are a number of ways to hold onto traditions and create new traditions that allow the family to grow, even after divorce.