Life Christmas

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Surviving Christmas: Ten tips for separated parents

All week independent.ie are running a series on Surviving Christmas for families and people who find it a stressful time to be amongst their families.

Published 16/12/2013 | 14:29

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Don’t overdo the treats or presents for your children to try to make up for the separation.

They say Christmas is the season to be jolly. However, if you are facing your first Christmas as a separated parent then it may feel very hard to find the positives.

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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.

 

All week independent.ie are running a series on Surviving Christmas for families and people who find it a stressful time to be amongst their families.

 

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