Christmas With Separated Parents

Christmas With Separated Parents

How to lessen the impact of parental separation on children this Christmas

Vanessa Fox
Vanessa Fox MMB Sheffield Blogger Family Law

By Vanessa Fox – Keebles

Christmas is a magical time of year for children, which is why it’s vital that separated and divorced parents cast aside their personal grievances and ill feelings regarding their ex-partner for the sake of their children.

Adopting a spirit of planning, cooperation and flexibility with the other parent is key to a harmonious and successful seasonal break, to give children magical memories to take into the New Year.

If juggling logistics is proving difficult, it is useful to remember that for toddlers and young children, Christmas can be celebrated on any day over the festive period. This means they can enjoy Christmas and Boxing Day twice over, with each of their parents.

When it comes to older children and teenagers, listen to their views and involve them in planning and contributing to a plan for the festive period which works best for everyone. Children of this age often make arrangements to see their friends and may have events or Christmas services they don’t want to miss, and may resent the parent who gets in the way of this.

Some situations may likewise require one parent to be selfless by bowing out gracefully this year and to make plans to have their children in 2019.

If mothers and fathers are hosting separate festivities for their sons and daughters, it’s best not to throw ‘curve balls’ the children weren’t expecting, such as changes in their routines or introducing them to new partners. These challenging issues should be postponed until the New Year.

Parents should also try to avoid competing with their exes for the best Christmas present award or overdo activities such as pantomimes and concerts. The ill feeling which results benefits no one and is avoidable with effective communication and planning.

The so-called ‘season to be jolly’ is a notoriously stressful time of year for everyone and brings self-imposed pressure and high expectations. Bombarded by adverts and festive films, usually including happy families and laughter-filled homes, it can be particularly hard for children, particularly youngsters and teenagers, of separated parents.

Reinforcing how much our sons and daughters are treasured and loved is one of the best presents that parents in this situation can give to their children – both at Christmas and throughout the year ahead.

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