The first several holidays after a separation or divorce are extremely difficult. Adjusting to on and off parenting schedules where your kids are not with you everyday is challenging to cope with. Even with adult children, time is typically divided with by household. Some traditions continue and others end. One of the best ways to cope is actively building new traditions, including giving.
The wonderful thing about giving is there are many different ways to give – it doesn’t always include donating money! There is no question that bank accounts are extremely tight after a separation or divorce. Engaging with your children and loved ones providing the gift of time, sharing talents and building community can be extremely powerful and even healing.
Here are some ideas to help you get started with your children, adult family members and/or friends: Remember that you and your family have been through a lot so don’t put too much pressure on yourself either!
1. Discuss values
A great way to strengthen bonds is by discussing values. Brainstorm what is important to each person. Provide reasons why you value each cause. Discuss if you feel it is important to support a cause locally, nationally or worldwide. Provide examples of support you have previously given to children who need some help to come up with some ideas of their own. Come up with a final list of values/causes where everyone feels like they have a connection with.
Assign each person a cause to research ways in which you can be supportive. Some examples include animal adoption, homelessness, hunger, the environment, medical cure research, caring for the elderly etc. With younger children you can do the research and brainstorming together. Identify organizations you would like to possibly support and the various ways to support them (volunteer, organizing food or clothing drives, donations, etc.)
Websites such as, charitynavigator.org or charitywatch.org, are available to search and review organizations if you need a place to start.
Remember that giving should not deplete us from time, money or emotionally where we have nothing or very little left. It is an offering where you should be able to remain stable in addition to receiving the gift of giving. Conduct an inventory of what you all have available to give. Don’t leave anything out. Include items such as time available, hospitality, cooking, toys, clothes, blankets or sleeping