The rising popularity for divorced couples to celebrate Christmas with their current partner, their children and their ex appears to be the perfect panacea at an emotionally charged time.
The ‘win-win’ scenario ensures children savour the special festivities in a spirit of friendly cooperation. It also reduces upheaval and promotes stability – dispensing with the need for them to travel between parents.
Being realistic however, no two couples and no two divorces are the same – and there are no easy, one-size-fits-all options. Whatever your situation, critical success factors to ensure to ensure the festive season is magical and memorable for children is for parents to plan, compromise and communicate with each other.
There will be – and probably have been – enough changes in their young lives, so the festive season is the one constant when they know they should be happy. Here are some tips to help ensure there are plenty of cheers and no tears:
Don’t leave making arrangements until the last minute
Some of our clients at Jones Myers continue to spend Christmas Day together with both sets of extended families, but for others this is not possible.
If this is not an option, then plan ahead and make definite arrangements – not only do you need to know what you are doing, but children like routine and will want to know which parent they are seeing and when. Don’t use them as a bargaining tool.
Don’t get into an argument
If you are struggling to come to an agreement about arrangements, don’t involve your children – they don’t need to know that there are problems between you and your ex.
Just try and focus on the fact that Christmas is a special time of year, particularly for children and they need to be your priority. They will understandably want to see as much of both parents, grandparents, wider family and their friends as possible. Work in partnership to achieve this.
Tell your children what’s happening
Children need certainty and security so let them know as far in advance as possible how Christmas will be spent. This will give them a chance to adjust to anything unexpected and hopefully present a scenario they can look forward to.
Maintain regular communication
Keep talking to each other and plan ahead. This will give you time to agree on – and organise – logistics such as travel, seeing wider family, and grandparents’ access.
The above steps are designed to ensure that the 2016 festive season is harmonious and as stress free as possible for your children. Considered planning to put their welfare first will go a long way to reduce tensions and pave the way for a positive start to the New Year.
If you have any comments, queries or concerns on divorce related issues, leave a comment below, call the team at Jones Myers on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.