The Teen Doctor

Answers to your questions about adolescents

I Just Don't Know How Much Longer I Can Fake it

I don't want to give my husband____for Christmas

Dear Dr. G.,

I just don't know how much longer I can fake things. The holidays are coming up and I want to ask my husband for a divorce. The only thing stopping me is that I don't want to ruin the holidays for my 13 and 15 year old kids. They adore their father. I've been faking a lot of things for the past year and I don't think that I can fake one more Christmas, one more smiling family photo, or one more hug with this man who is my kid's father.

Am I right in waiting until after Christmas to file for divorce? If I file during Christmas will my kids forever remember me as the grinch who stole Christmas? Your opinion, please.

A Confused Mom

Dear Confused Mom,

You are in good and plentiful company. The rate for filing for divorce skyrockets in January according to many divorce lawyers that I have spoken to. Many parents want to avoid ruining the holidays for the kids so they wait until after all the gifts are unwrapped and the kids are back to school after vacation.

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It is lovely that you are concerned about the kids. You probably also don't want to ruin the holidays for yourself either. There is always an opportunity to divorce before the holidays and I am unsure why so many parents end up serving it up as a New Year's gift. Perhaps, the holidays exacerbate all of the existing problems and things become intolerable or like you said no parent wants to be a holiday grinch.

Nonetheless, I can assure you that your teens will probably not be surprised when you and your husband inform them that you are getting divorced. Yes, they may be upset but I doubt that they will be surprised. Parents think that kids don't think anything of the fact that they may be sleeping in separate bedrooms or that they act like ships passing in the night. I can assure you that a 13 and a 15 year old have been taking the temperature of your relationship with your husband for some time now.

Back to your original question-Are you right in waiting until after Christmas to file for divorce. Yes, you have waited this long so a few more weeks won't hurt. Just keep in mind that this New Year's gift will not be easy to present either so plan carefully and proceed gingerly.

Good Luck.
Dr.G.

For more info on this topic and similar ones -check out my website

http://www.talkingteenage.com/

 

 

Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents.

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