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How Divorced Dads Can Cope With 
The Holidays


By Lisa S. Brown
Board Certified Counselor


Holiday weekends are wonderful for some people but there are many that have mixed feelings about certain occasions.

On a personal note, I am always happy to celebrate the traditions that we have developed as a society. This Fourth of July weekend I really enjoyed watching the fireworks and remembering all the brave men and women that have defended our freedom.

On a professional note, I know that holidays can only symbolize one thing for so many people, especially divorced dads: loneliness.

For many single parents, their kids are away with the other parent, which can leave that "empty" feeling.

If you haven’t adjusted far enough into your single life, then certainly spending the extra time alone can feel more isolating then relaxing.

This past weekend, I was hanging out at a pool that is located at one of my girlfriend’s condo community. I am always looking for new insights on how to assist my clients that are going through divorce and sometimes things inspire me even when I am supposed to be "off the clock."

We were busy working on our non-Michigan tans when I noticed a father with his two little children. This so happened to be my girlfriend’s neighbor who is renting the condo across the road from her.

She mentioned that he was recently divorced and proceeded to tell me some of the minor details but I wasn’t interested in the "he said-she said" language of his child custody agreements.

I knew that this was a recent change for this family as they had just moved in. My counselor hat popped on, and I wanted to observe how he interacted with his children.

I was looking to see if there were any noticeable dynamics with the "new" arrangement during what can be a very awkward transition for parents and children.

What I saw were two very happy children splashing away in the pool with a very caring and nurturing father. The children were laughing as there dad was playing water games with them. These are the type of moments that children will fondly remember.

Life can never be perfect, but we are expected to make the best of what we can with the circumstances that we are given. I have mentioned before the importance of putting aside your personal differences with your former spouse in order to focus on the best interests of the children. The love, time, and attention that you are able to devote to your children will deflect unnecessary pain and confusion for the entire family unit.

If you were flying solo for this past holiday weekend then I hope you took the opportunity to rest, relax, and re-connect with your spirit.

You are more then likely juggling a lot of different responsibilities so I hope that you were able to reflect on your journey through this process and are able to start the second half of 2011 with a new, promising outlook of what is yet to come.