Dealing with Divorce and Children during the Holidays

Marriage Family Therapy Professor, Ida Zarrabizadeh, of Touro University Worldwide Offers Her Advice

Posted DEC 1 2012

Divorce is never an easy event for families, but it can be especially hard during the holidays. Ida Zarrabizadeh is a professor at the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program at Touro University WorldWide, a non-profit institution of higher and professional education. Through her experiences at Touro, and in her private practice, she has been able to work with numerous individuals and families dealing with divorce during the holidays. Ida offers excellent tips for parents and their families on how to persevere through the trying experience of a divorce during the holidays and keep children focused on the positive aspects of the holiday season:

  • The holidays can be particularly difficult especially in the early stages of the divorce. Make plans to be around others during this time (people you actually enjoy being with). Whether it’s family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc., it’s important not to be alone during the holidays.
  • If you like to host, invite others over for the holidays. Getting creative, and having fun decorating for a fun holiday party can really get you excited and in the festive mood. This is also a great way to expand your social circle. If hosting is not your thing, ask others what their plans are and if you can join them for the holidays. Sometimes people won’t think of inviting you over or including you in their plans unless you mention it. This is especially true if you haven’t been in touch for a while. Being able to overcome your shyness and fear of being vulnerable can help you tremendously during these times.
  • The holiday season can bring out the goodness in others and as a result there are numerous volunteer and charitable opportunities that you can take participate in.  Spending your time to give to those less fortunate will take the focus off yourself and your current circumstances and make you feel great about yourself in the process. Keep the children out of the battle between the ex’s, and avoid using them as a messenger. This is a loss for everyone in the family.
  • Talk with your children about what they’re going through emotionally, making sure to stress that this is not their fault. Chances are, if they have a safe and open space to share their feelings with you, they will be better adjusted to the divorce and have healthier relationships as adults.

    It’s ok to get help from others so you can get through this time. Being vulnerable does not mean you are weak. See this phase of your life as an opportunity to work on yourself, your relationships, go back to school, jumpstart your career, and be the best that you can be.

The Marriage and Family Program at Touro University Worldwide presents an extraordinary opportunity for interested individuals to become actively involved in an expanding and promising area of study. The need for marriage and family therapists is now growing as an integral and important part of our nation’s health and mental health care delivery system.

“Becoming a marriage and family therapist has been such a rewarding journey for me,” says Ida Zarrabizadeh. “It has taught me so much about myself and how to be a more understanding and compassionate person. What’s great about working in this field is that is truly motivates you to work on your own issues openly and honestly, making you a better wife, mother, daughter, and sister. Working out my issues frees me from negative feelings, and provides me with more room to help others. This focus on the self takes away the chance of playing the blame game, which is so essential in healthy communicating with a significant other.”

About Touro University Worldwide:

Touro University Worldwide is a non-profit organization established by philanthropic visionaries who are committed to developing a passionate, connected learning community that can help students achieve their individual academic goals. Students at Touro University Worldwide are committed to social justice, intellectual pursuit, and professional development. This philosophy is derived from the Judaic foundation on which the University was originally founded and a value system that welcomes all cultures and backgrounds.

About the Touro College and University System

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and New York Medical College are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to:

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