For some, this will be your first Christmas as a divorced parent.
Some of you may have been through family mediation so have a plan all set out as to how you will be co-parenting during this time while some of you are wondering just how to work it out from here on.
Trick is to start with this first Christmas and if your co-parenting plan works out then stick to it until when you need to adjust it.
If it doesn’t work out this time, then you have 11 months to plan how to deal with it next time.
The best thing you can do for your children is to keep them in mind and find a plan that really, truly works for them.
If you’re struggling with reaching an agreement then do consider seeing a trained family mediaitor who can help both of you reach an agreement that works for you.
Anyway, here are some co-parenting ideas that you could try this Christmas.
- If there is great distance between you and your ex, distance as in geographical not emotional, then you might want to consider alternating Christmas holidays i.e. one year your partner has them over the entire holidays and then next year you have them. This has worked very, very well in my case. If you are the one without the children then please do plan what you will do with your time. You will miss the terribly of course, so make sure you have not only a plan but also a support system around you. Then remember that next year it will be you spending the holidays with your little ones.
- If you are close enough to walk or drive then consider splitting the day itself. I met an adult who said that this was how it worked in her family and her and her sister loved it because they got to not only see both parents and extended family on Christmas day, but they got to open two sets of presents too! They would start by having Christmas lunch with their father and then dinner with their mum.
- Another way of alternating is that one of you has the children on the day itself, i.e. 25th and then the other on 26th and the next year you alternate, you have them on the 25th and your ex-partner has them on the 26th
- Maybe you could have them on 24th, Christmas eve and do a whole Christmas dinner with other family members e.g. grandparents, open the gifts and truly celebrate and in the morning they could then go off to your ex-spouse home and do the whole thing again with his family
Whichever way you decided to go, put yourself and your emotions to one side, then go off and vent to one of your friends or family if need be but allow the children to go and enjoy Christmas with their mother or their father whatever the case may be. Make it about them only. They will thank you, maybe not today or tomorrow but they will one day.
[You can find part oner by clicking here]
Warm holiday hugs,
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce and the creator of the five-star rated online parenting course Raising Children of Divorce.
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org