Divorce has always been a huge source of stress in teens’ lives. It can cause all sorts of problems for their physical, mental, and emotional health. (Photo in the public domain)
For many people, the holidays are one of the best times of the year. Families gather to celebrate age-old traditions and have extravagant meals. It is supposed to be a time filled with joy and cheer, but this is not the case for everyone.
Children in divorced families can go through a lot around the holidays. It is caused by any number of problems like scheduling conflicts or competing parents. But emotional distress around the holidays is an extremely prevalent problem, especially since the current divorce rate is around 39% of all marriages according to Business Insider.
Scheduling varies for every family, and it is rare to ever find two families with the same holiday schedule. But a few common types of schedules have their pros and cons.
One common holiday schedule is to alternate holidays on an annual basis. This means each holiday is celebrated with a different parent depending on the year. The biggest problem with this kind of schedule is one parent will always be left out of the festivities. For many people, it can be upsetting to celebrate a holiday while a loved one is absent.
Another conventional option is splitting the holiday, so time can be spent at both houses. This option does have the benefit of having a chance to see everyone, but this kind of schedule can be very hectic. Celebrations are rushed so there is enough time to switch back and forth between households.
There are also many more kinds of holiday schedules which are well laid out by the Huffington Post.
Divorce is already a stressful and draining process. Kids in divorced families tend to struggle with numerous issues surrounding their mental and emotional health. They can experience anxiety, anger, feelings of guilt, and emotional sensitivity according to Family Means. Poor school performance and a loss of interest are also significant problems.
Unfortunately, around the holidays this mental struggle is amplified for many people. There are feelings of guilt when holidays are spent without the other parent. The schedule is strictly followed because no one wants to upset their families around a supposedly joyful time like the holidays.
The problems in many divorces become especially exposed during the holiday season. November to January can become an extremely tense time because the opportunity for conflict to arise is so much higher. No one wants to be around fighting parents during the holidays, but unfortunately many are faced with that reality.
How Does Leesville Feel?
Leesville is no exception to this holiday time stress. The students that crowd the halls all have their problems, and for many students, their problems revolve around their parent’s divorce.
Jayden Mancini, a sophomore at Leesville, knows precisely what it is like to have divorced parents around the holidays. “I usually stay with my mom on big holidays like Christmas and Halloween but I usually go to my dad’s on the new year and other smaller holidays,” said Mancini over text.
When asked about the stress, she stated that there generally is not a lot “unless my mom and dad are at a disagreement which happens a lot and then it’s harder to get from one place to another,” Mancini said.
Claire Woods, another sophomore, recounted very similar experiences. Unlike Mancini, Woods spends holidays like Christmas with both of her parents. “I usually wake up at my mom’s Christmas Day, then go to my dad’s for a couple of hours to open presents, then go back to my mom’s,” said Woods over text.
Stress also is not a huge factor for Woods but, “sometimes it’s very hectic around Christmas with visiting family on both sides,” Woods said.
Do Not Stress, Seriously.
The most significant contributor to stress around the holidays is keeping everyone happy. This applies to families that are both together and separated.
No matter what, someone is going to be upset over the holiday season. It is just not healthy to place a burden like keeping everyone at peace over the holidays onto your shoulders when it quite literally is not possible. Many find it hard but the easiest way to make holidays with a divorced family easier is to just relax and go with the flow as best as possible.
All things considered, the holidays are an extremely stressful time of year especially for kids in divorced families. The added pressure of keeping parents at peace and choosing what house to go to for a holiday makes it especially hard. But at the end of the day, remembering that nothing will be perfect is the best way to limit any emotional turmoil. The holidays can still be an exciting and joyful time even with some added obstacles, plus who does not like to celebrate two Christmases.