Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for separated parents; it is meant to be ‘family’ time, everyone getting on together and being happy. Mediation can assist by helping parents find a way of sharing Christmas between them and making sure their children are not stuck in the middle of conflict at a time when they want to enjoy themselves.
Christmas Day itself can cause a lot of bitter emotion. Both parents want to see the children. How can you make the festive season work for you and your children?
- Organise in advance and discuss arrangements together. If either of you have a particular plan or reason for doing something, explain clearly why this is, for instance a visit from a relative from abroad.
- Focus on the children. They should not have to witness arguments and they should be able to spend time with both of you. If you feel that you can avoid arguments, sometimes you can spend time together but if you do not usually do this and there is a risk that arguments might occur it might be better to do things entirely separately.
- Children do not necessarily attach as much significance to Christmas Day as you might think. As long as they have an opportunity to celebrate with both of you and open presents with both of you, the ‘special day’ could be either side of Christmas Day.
- Don’t try and make Christmas presents a competition between the two of you. Sometimes if you can share the cost, you can get something the children really want and they may appreciate that it is a present from both of you.
- Don’t forget to consult the children, particularly when they are older. Children do not want plans being thrust upon them. But be wary of letting them decide who they want to spend Christmas with.
- Don’t forget the extended family. Christmas is often a time to see relatives that the children don’t often see.
- Consider the long-term rather than just focusing on this Christmas. There will be many Christmases in the future, sometimes the fairest approach is to alternate from one year to the next.
- Remember Christmas should be about peace love and goodwill so enter into the spirit of Christmas. Be prepared to compromise so that your children can enjoy the excitement of Christmas
If having read the above you want to discuss anything in confidence to see how mediation can help you sort arrangements out, get in touch 0117 9243880 or 07889039393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org It is never too late to discuss arrangements about children, you will both be parents for ever. If there are problems this year, don’t despair, try not to make the same mistakes next year. Consider the possibility of negotiating parenting arrangements with us in mediation.