The holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time of the year, filled with good cheer and family oneness. However, the holidays also come with bundles of stress and anxiety. A large component of family stress can come when, sadly, a family has divorced parents. Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, etc. can be overbearing enough as they are with just one family to deal with, but with split families, they can be even rougher.
Families have to decide which child/children go where on what days, who is buying what, who is seeing who, and how long they are staying there. These children in divorced families might also have to juggle the tension if their parents come in contact over the festivities.
SmartFem.com’s own Monica Sampson gave us a little snippet into the calamity of celebrating the holidays in her family.
“Having family stress during the holidays is always hard, but for me the worst part is seeing my mom not enjoy the holidays because she’s too stressed and overwhelmed by anything my dad might do or say to ruin the day,” Sampson said. “It’s sad, because in the end, they end up ruining it [the holidays] for each other by being too dysfunctional. As a kid that was especially hard to see and now as an adult I just grin and bear it, and rely on my sister for support.”
Sampson clearly isn’t the only one who deals with holiday stress in a divorced family. Kyle Smith, a 22-year-old resident of Peoria, has dealt with 15 years of stressful holidays with his divorced parents. He has endured driving back and forth between two families for each and every celebrated holiday.
“Well, this year, my mother called me and we negotiated on me going over to her house at around 9 a.m. for Christmas,” Smith said. “Then after all that I’ll probably go to my father’s house. The fact that I now have to drive across the suburbs to spend 3 hours with one half of the family to awkwardly leave with a horde of loot and go to the other persons house is a little rough.”
He later explained that the schedule wasn’t alway as simple for him and his older brother when growing up.
“My brother and I would have to remember where we spent the night on Christmas Eve the previous year, and stay at the opposite house. ”
However, Smith said that there were some benefits to celebrating Christmas and the holidays in a divorced family. Everything can have a silver lining.
“The pros of being in a divorced household on Christmas is that even though the parents are divorced, the family aspect is still there,” he said. “Another pro would be twice the food. Also, since they’re both remarried, the family has grown four times as big.”
Now that he is older, the calamity of celebrating with both parents separately isn’t as severe as is was during his childhood.
“To be honest with you, now that I’ve grown up and learned a lot about who my parents are and who I am and how everyone behaves, I think I’m okay with it all, he said. “I obviously wasn’t as a child because my parents were no longer together.”