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Holiday stress is more pronounced for divorced families

An idealized picture of the holiday season often leads families to nostalgically look back at past memories while creating new ones each year. A more realistic view, however, reveals a great deal of stress and anxiety for many Illinois families, even under the best of circumstances. These feelings become much more magnified for families that have recently divorced. However, there are steps that can be taken to counteract the stress and help ensure a happy holiday season.

Without discounting the turmoil adults experience, it is the children of divorce who are most vulnerable. That's why many family counselors say their needs must take precedence. It's never a good idea to use the kids seeing the other parent as a bargaining chip, but it's especially harmful during the holidays. It's important that the kids spend ample time with both parents. Furthermore, visitation plans should be scheduled as far in advance as practical.

Communication is often the key. Parents should explain to the children ahead of time what to expect, and say it in a way that's positive. Despite whatever feelings one parent is feeling for an ex, they should speak of the time to be spent during the holidays positively and with anticipation. When the kids return, they should be allowed to talk about what happened without judgment, even if time was spent with different traditions than in the past.

Patience is required during the separation process, especially when it comes to issues of child custody and parenting time. New beginnings take time. However, a family law attorney can be helpful in addressing divorce issues in a manner that respects the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved.

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