Single or Divorced this Christmas?
Where will the children spend Christmas Day? When do they get to see the other parent? Christmas for separated or divorced parents can be challenging. However, there are things you can do that will make a difference. With a little planning and thinking of the things that will help you to have a good time, you will be busy and enjoy the break. It is a time to make time for friends and to indulge yourself whether with a new outfit or a massage. Buy yourself a great book for a fireside read over the holidays and enjoy some classic dvd’s with your children for magic and sparkle! Build in some new traditions when your children are with your ex, whether you volunteer or have a little holiday over the break.
Single Parenting – Plan Ahead
Make your arrangements as far in advance as possible. This can be fraught as both parents want and need to see their children at Christmas, therefore negotiation is key as well as the ability to see things from the other person’s perspective.
Separated or Divorced this Christmas?
The most important thing to remember is Be Flexible. Try to step into your ex partners shoes and see it from their point of view. This may help you to reconcile your differences for the sake of your children, and put their children’s needs first at Christmas.
Family Breakup at Christmas
Negotiate the differences between you and your ex and be willing to listen to things from their point of view. When they have a sense of be listened to and understood, you will find they are more able to listen to you. Do not have conflict in front of the children or badly about your ex to them as they do not want to be asked to take sides.
Your ability to compromise around the times/days you have access to your children, reduces the stress all around and children are sensitive to conflict between their parents. It is a difficult time for both partners and therefore trying to focus on the current issue, and not to bring up old issues is important.
Separated? Do not compete with your ex
Many parents compete on Christmas presents and your ability to avoid competing with your ex-partner is important. Can you agree a budget or purchase something together if possible? So often children get caught in the crossfire of conflict around money; so avoid if possible. Children enjoy all the traditions around Christmas, not just the presents; so enjoy the old traditions and build in some new ones. Every year I love getting out for some fresh air with a day in Glendalough with friends. After a three hour trek, some hot food off the camper stove and a bag of crisps is wonderful enjoyed by adults and all the children and costs little!
Separated or Divorced this Christmas: Mind Yourself
Christmas is going to be an emotional time for you, therefore your ability to mind yourself will determine the degree to which you can mind your children. Take care of yourself at this time and be aware of trying to meet your own needs – for company, support, time out and a treat.
Failure to meet your own needs only results in your inability to meet your children’s needs – from a place where you are running on empty, where your battery needs recharging and you end up cranky, irritable and impatient. See the warning signs and respond early to them, even better: think in advance ‘How can I support myself this Christmas to ensure it’s a happy time for all the family?
Establish some new traditions this year
Children of all ages love to get together with friends and family around food and music. Plan an evening for extended family for a get together with a sing song and some food. Accept all offers of food and help so you get to enjoy it too! Keeping the old traditions does not mean you cannot build in some new traditions. A trip into the city on Christmas Eve is guaranteed to be enjoyed by all, to enjoy the carol singers and all the festive cheer.
Single Parenting? Encourage contact with the other parent
Encourage your children to phone/text the other parent over the Christmas period as it is an emotional time for all. If you are going to be alone on Christmas day, organise to meet up with friends or family, maybe do something worthy and don’t forget to treat yourself! Reassure your children you will be ok when they are not with you and that you have plans and are busy and occupied or longing for some ‘me’ time!