It the same story every year. As we hurtle towards Christmas and the craziness ramps up, the adrenalin is pumping and the stress levels start soaring.
The tree, the decorating, the presents, the wrapping, the delivering, the turkey, the films, the grottos, the food shop and don’t get me started on the school plays, costumes, concerts, panto’s, elf days, festive jumper days, party days, raffles, fayres… the list never ends!
Regardless, we all do it time and time again because Christmas is all about the kids and creating the ‘magic’.
But if you’re separated or divorced and facing co-parenting this Christmas, you might be feeling additional anxiety on top of the usual yuletide strain.
Less of the naughty, more of the nice!
You might be worried about not being with your children, that your ex might let you down, that Christmas won’t be ‘perfect’… and the fears might go on.
But rather than letting your concerns build, take a breather – grab a cuppa and a minced pie, and cast your eyes over our top 5 co-parenting do’s and don’ts to help with some festive perspective;
1. Keep reminding yourself: it’s about our kids
No matter how angry, hurt or resentful you might feel at points towards your ex, reminding yourself that everything is for the children can help dissipate tension and stress – vent those feelings
2. See Christmas through your kids’ eyes & parent as a team
This can really help when you and your ex are discussing how Christmas will work this year – what will ‘Christmas’ look and feel like to them? Calmly discuss, agree and stick to planning Christmas with your ex e.g. schedules and transitions, involving extended family and splitting gifts. And if your children are old enough, consider involving them in these talks.
3. Plan your ‘me’ time and enjoy!
Once the schedule has been agreed, plan ahead for those days you don’t have the kids – indulge in things you can’t do when they’re there, have plans to look forward to and enjoy them!
1. Be inflexible
For most children, spending time with both parents and both sides of the family is what makes then feel happy, warm and secure. Acknowledging, accepting and planning for this is key, as is sticking to those agreements.
2, Be disrespectful
Putting your ex down and/or arguing with them in front of your kids can be extremely upsetting and worrying for your children, so avoid at all costs. Try to speak favourably, using a positive tone. Keep the children our of any relationship issues or conflicts and never make them the messengers – all communication should be direct with your ex.
3. Ignore the time the kids spend with your ex
Try to be excited with and for your children at upcoming events they have with your ex; and when they come back, let them talk freely about what they’ve done, show interest and support – be happy for them!
The season of goodwill
There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ Christmas or a ‘perfect’ family, they simply don’t exist.
But we all try to make the best of our situations, focussing on what’s truly important in our lives and at this time of year, trying to share the goodwill and enjoy the festivities to the max!
If, however, you and/or your ex are struggling with co-parenting or would like any help or advice on creating an amicable and workable contact arrangement, please contact us on 01606 48777.