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Divorce and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving DinnerPhoto by Stephen Lovekin

Those families involved in divorce often find Thanksgiving bittersweet or even painful. Prior to the overwhelming influence of divorce and the emotion that comes with it, families welcomed the prospect of getting together over a sumptuous meal. Family gatherings brought joy but that changed when divorce arrived on the scene.

It is important to remember that people who find themselves in the throes of divorce, do not have to sink quagmire of anger and retaliation. In fact, they can do the opposite and when they do, everyone is happier and healthier.

Buddha said it best. “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

The divorcing couple’s emotional maturity level is the foundation on which they and their families will cope in a healthy way. Parents who can put the divorce issues behind them are the ones who begin to set their children free from their divorce.

Whether the children are young or older, the parents’ message should be the same. “We may not love each other but we will always love you. Your happiness and comfort are of paramount importance. That means that we will do all we can to get along for your sake.”

Everyone has experienced that uncomfortable feeling when someone is emotionally immature and acts or reacts to an event or person with caustic comments, glaring looks or dramatic exits.

To act and react in a non-toxic way, it is essential that couples remember some dos and don’ts.

  • Do remain flexible
  • Do remain open minded
  • Do stay calm
  • Do be patient
  • Do keep a sense of humor
  • Don’t blame
  • Don’t judge
  • Don’t overreact
  • Don't badmouth the ex spouse

The level of emotional maturity dictates how well or how poorly the holiday process will go. The children of divorce are often drawn into the drama. At best, divorce is difficult for all involved. Children do not want to have to choose between parents. They love both parents. The parents who are the most unselfish are the ones who can compromise for the sake of the children they profess to love.