If it’s your first Christmas as separated parents or even the first time you’ll be without the kids – don’t worry – our guide to Christmas, divorce and separated parenting is packed with ways to have a positive Christmas and tips to keep the festive season merry.
Divide holidays based on what works for the kids not what’s ‘fair’ or ‘equal’ for the adults. Try to minimise to-ing and fro-ing on Christmas day and listen to what the kids would like. A note of caution; if the atmosphere between you is bad then don’t be pressured into doing Christmas together. Two happy separate parents are a million time better than mum and dad and an atmosphere. Make alternative arrangements next year if this year doesn’t work, irrespective of whose turn it is.
Christmas, divorce and separated parenting is tricky to get right, but if it’s not your turn to have the kids, then be creative. Celebrate a different day… make it your alternative Christmas. On Christmas day be bold, be adventurous and do something different. Choose to be with extended family and friends or take the opportunity to enjoy some alone time. There are lots of places to indulge yourself open at Christmas – if you can’t afford it this year, start a Christmas fund for next year – a couple of pounds a week will buy you a treat. Alternatively, you can volunteer over the Christmas period, your local council will have a list of places looking for help.
Create new traditions and involve older kids in making new plans. A hard part of separating is letting go of past traditions. This is an opportunity to make new arrangements and do things differently. Your attitude to embracing change will be a strong signal to your kids so make sure your glass is half full (figuratively speaking!) and show them how to enjoy things being different.
Things go wrong, life’s not perfect, but you don’t have to be angry about them. Christmas, divorce and separated parenting could be a perfect storm if you let it. You can’t control your ex’s behaviour but you can choose how you respond. Choose peace this Christmas and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Now is the time to start to separate emotionally as well as physically. Start to unhook yourself from the other person and your old relationship patterns. Step back and make a choice about how you are going to respond in future. Chances are, your immediate reactions are about the past relationship. Choose to create a new relationship with your ex… more business-like, less emotionally charged. Take time out for yourself to decide to change how you relate for the better.
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