Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Holidays are supposed to be joyous times, with shopping, social gatherings and the anticipation of some time off to be with family and friends. But for parents going through a separation process, it can be a time of stress, anger and concern over finances and what will happen to their children.
I see it every fall as Thanksgiving apporaches and again during the Christmas/New Year's week. I have had more parents cry during meadions and parenting classes than at any other time of year. They are just overwhelmed by the emotional and financial stress and the idea they are supposed to be happy. I can relate to them because I got my GET OUT! papers the week before Christmas of 1986. I was stunned because I thought we had come to an agreement that nothing would happen until after the holidays. On Christmas Eve, I had dinner with a neighbor who also was going through the process. There was little joy at that table and neither one of us had much to say.
So this past holiday season, I was a little more patient with parents who suddenly became emotional during story-telling or when talking about their children. I offered a time-out and tried to say something to let them know I understood what they are experiencing. Any time of the year is a tough time to be going through a separation process, but the holidays, I think, are the hardest because parents are grieving at a time when it seems everyone around them is having a good time.