We know that major holidays can be a rough period of time for the recently separated. The period can be even more difficult if you have kids. So today we thought we would share these tips from independent i.e (Surviving Christmas: 10 Tips for Separated Parents) on how to make the period less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
If you’re reading it today, some of these tips may serve as a reminder. If you read it after the holidays, jot them down for next year.
And as you go through this year, make note of what works and what doesn’t in your own planning. Let us know what tips you have.
There is no right way, or wrong way, to organise Christmas as a separated family. All you can ever do is your best to try to make sure your children get to spend time with each parent and that any conflict between you and your ex is kept to a minimum.
Here are 10 tips to consider that might make this process easier:
• Do try to put other conflicts aside and try to negotiate a fair distribution of the children’s time with each of you.
• Do consider the children’s preferences about where they want to be on Christmas morning, especially if they are old enough to voice an opinion.
• Do make sure you, your ex and your children are all clear about the arrangements that have been agreed. Keep your children aware of the plans and any changes that might occur.
• Do make sure to surround yourself with other family and friends so that you don’t feel too isolated or alone without your immediate family around you.
• Do give yourself permission to feel sad about not being together with your children for the whole of Christmas, or for missing other traditions your family may have engaged in over Christmas.
• Don’t criticise your ex-partner in front of the children, even if you are upset about the final arrangements that are made. Your children will still love you both and it is very hard for them to listen to either parent putting the other one down.
• Don’t unintentionally set your children up, by trying to find out what your ex got up to during the holiday period. They won’t want to upset you or their other parent.
• Don’t use your children as messengers. Talk (or type) directly to your ex about any arrangements or about any dissatisfaction you have with the arrangements. If direct communication is impossible right now then consider mediation or a neutral third party.
• Don’t overdo the treats or presents for your children to try to make up for the separation. If they are sad or upset then so be it.
• Do be warm, understanding and considerate of their feelings, rather than trying to brush their feelings under the carpet or distracting them.
Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays. Remember that it is a time for peace and joy.