Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys
Food For Thought
Happy Thanksgiving For Kids
When parents get divorced the court helps the parents make a schedule so that each of your parents gets to spend time with you. An important part of the schedule is helping your parents spend time with you on the holidays. Judges try to make sure that you will get to see both of your parents either by dividing the holiday in half or letting you see one of them one year and the other parent the next year. Thanksgiving is usually one of the holidays that the court gives to one parent one year and your other parent the following year. This is because the holiday is a one day holiday. It's easier to rotate it than it is to split it in half like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Your parents will have a holiday schedule that has been ordered by the court. It will say where you will be and when you will see your other parent for each of the important holidays. In fact, the court even helps split up the holidays when families have other religious holidays that are important to them. This is so that the schedule can be fair and so that both parents have a chance to spend time with you on special ocassions.
At the beginning, a change in the holiday schedule may be sad for you. This is because it is new. There are some things that might help make this Thanksgiving happier for you:
- Ask your parents where you will be for Thanksgiving. They should be able to tell you which parent you will be with, and for how long. Then, you can talk to the parent who will share this holiday with you and ask them what you are going to do.
- If you have feelings about the schedule, because it is different or because you feel you will miss your other parent, make sure and talk about how you feel. Saying how you feel may not change the schedule but it helps your parents understand you better.
- Don't worry about the parent you will not be with. It is going to take some time for everybody to adjust to the new schedule. You don't need to take care of your parent. They will be okay... you will see.
- If the parent that you are with says bad things about your other parent ask them to stop. Share that hearing those things makes you feel bad.
- Sometimes when you go to relatives houses they also say bad things about your other parent. Tell the parent that you are with so they can make sure it stops.
- Ask to call your other parent so that you can wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. In this way you can still share the holiday with them, even though they are not with you.
- Find something to be thankful about. Make a list of all the things that you still appreciate. Even though your parents are divorced, you still have lots of things in your life to be happy about... like two parents who both love you even if they aren't together any more.
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
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