At Any Age, the Holidays Can Be Tough for Children of Divorce

children of published Rebecca Palmer’s guest column on 12/12, discussing the “gray divorce” trend where older adults decide to end their marriages. Often, these separating spouses have children and even grandchildren, which could make for a potentially awkward holiday gathering.

“Creating boundaries around conversations, visitation, and gift-giving with both parents from the start will outline what an acceptable and hopefully less stressful holiday looks like,” she writes. “The key to successful communication is to tailor your conversation to the age of the children by using age-appropriate language and information [about] why grandma or grandpa may not be joining the family celebration.”

In addition to gently talking with your children about your parents’ separation, Rebecca says “parenting” your parents during a holiday celebration may be necessary. It is inappropriate—even rude—for one parent to complain about your other parent at a family holiday gathering, and you are well within your rights to put a stop to it.

“Express your love and support to your parents despite this change,” Rebecca writes. “This reassurance of love will help you focus on the positives and model an accepting and supportive behavior that will set an example to your children and parents alike.”

In this season of giving, let’s all keep in mind that love and understanding is the greatest gift of all.

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