Divorce can be a touchy subject, even many years after the fact. When children are involved, things can get even more complex. The very fact that now the child needs to share two distinct households can lead to tensions – especially as it relates to the holidays. It’s only natural that a parent would want to spend the holidays with their children and feel intense emotions when that doesn’t happen. Spending Christmas, Thanksgiving, or other holidays without your loved ones can be hard for anyone, even more so when those feelings are marred by the memories of a divorce that may have been especially bitter or drawn out.
In some instances, this can lead to parents being hurtful to their children without realizing it. In one case that went viral on social media, a mother told her then 16-year-old son that he “ruined Christmas” by choosing to spend it with his father rather than with her and her new husband. The mother took it as a personal rejection of her and the rest of the family, rather than an expression from her son that he was unhappy with having to spend the holiday with his step siblings and new in-laws. She allowed her personal feelings to override her son’s best interest when it came to having a happy, healthy holiday with the rest of his family. What’s more, she did this after he had already spent the preceding Christmas with her. Eventually, other users convinced her that she was in the wrong, and she apologized to her child for her hurtful words and actions.
Often, actions like these come from a place not only of hurt over not being able to see a loved one for the holidays, but of a deep-seated desire to hurt the ex-spouse, to inflict that pain on them and feel like one parent “won” the divorce by monopolizing their child’s affections. This is an incredibly toxic position to take and can result in massively negative mental health consequences for a child who is subjected to it later in their lives.
What you need to do as a parent is love your children more than you dislike your ex – this means keeping negative comments about them to yourself, and accepting that however much it may hurt, your child deserves to be able to spend holidays with their other parent in equal measure without being subjected to a guilt trip or other negative comments.
If you’re facing a child custody dispute, we here at Simon Law Group understand. As some of the best legal representation in the field of family law in Arizona, we have the skills necessary to guide you through this sensitive period in your life. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out more about how we can help you navigate this life transition.