Thanksgiving is now a memory and Christmas looms before us. For some kids Christmas is an exciting time of the year. For many kids Christmas may mean staying up late, no school, visits with relatives, presents and candy. As people who work with kids, we want them to find the true meaning of Christmas. The emotions of Christmas in a child of divorce may be very different than what you are used to.
Most of you will go overboard trying to relay the story of the baby Jesus and his humble birth with special lessons and activities. There will be special Christmas musicals; special holiday parties or celebrations; perhaps even caroling events also.
We want kids to come to church and enjoy the “specialness” of this time of year. That’s why I want to start early this year asking you to prepare yourself for the child of divorce. If it is a child’s first Christmas after the separation or divorce of their parents, you might want to be prepared for a variety of feelings to be exhibited. Depending on how recent the divorce was, the child may appear to be in shock, or the child may be confused not sure of what their feelings are.
If it has been several months, and the child has begun to process the divorce, you may find some anger feelings emerging in your classes. If the child feels safe with you, then don’t be surprised if a lot of anger comes out. Some children will hold their anger in when they are around their parents. They don’t want to upset their already stressed and/or angry parents. But, when they get to a safe place and if you have developed a relationship with them, then they will let their guard down and express themselves.