As all separated or divorced parents know, Christmas or significant holidays become bittersweet. We still adore watching our kids get excited for Santa, or presents, or special foods, and yet at the back (or sometimes front) of our minds, is the knowledge that we will need to share time with them over the holidays. We also know we won’t get to share in each and every of their special moments, and that’s really tough. Usually, when I’m working with both parents on co-parent coaching, we come up with a Christmas plan as part of the co-parent charter that we create. Some parents take it in turns to have Christmas and New Year from one year to the next. Some manage to all get together on Christmas day. And some parents are alienated from their kids and so their kids don’t get to see them at all over the holidays.
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’, but I always encourage parents to see it from their child’s perspective. And generally, that’s being able to see both parents at some point over the holidays. Of course, Christmas isn’t just about parents. It’s about wider families, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. It can be quite stressful for a child of divorced parents to move from one set of people to another and swap roles and house rules. One way to make it easier for your child is to be amicable and transactional. Be polite. Whatever is going on for you, remember you’re a parent and that demonstrating to your child that you can be polite to your ex will make them feel much more secure.