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How to deal with awkward questions during the holiday

Ready or not, the holiday season is going to be upon us soon. Next Friday (November 1st) don’t be surprised with how quickly Halloween decorations, candy displays and costumes are quickly whisked away and replaced with Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, and other holiday displays.  For divorcing and separated parents, this can mark the beginning of a difficult time of the year.

It can be especially trying for children, especially if the changes in their family have occurred recently. They may have many questions about what is going on (if they are old enough to express themselves). With such inquisitive kids, some parents may not know how to answer. This post will provide some helpful tips. 

Make sure to let them know they are loved – If you haven’t realized it yet, kids have a unique ability to blame themselves for the problems in their parents’ relationship. Because of this, they may feel as if one parent is leaving because they misbehaved, or that they were too much of a burden to keep their parents together. As such, any discussion should be a reminder that they are loved.

Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” – It’s better to be honest and admit you don’t know the answer to some questions (such as “when are we going to be a family again?”). At the same time, try to keep the uncertainty to a minimum, as kids rely on stability and routines.

Make time for the other parent – Kids may also want to know when they are going to see the other parent. It is critical that you and the other parent set forth a parenting time schedule, even if it is on a temporary basis, so that the relationship between the child and the other parent is not compromised.    

Source:, Kids in the middle-support during divorce, September 27, 2013

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