Christmas is purely a family event, and that is what makes it more special. Unfortunately, the parents who are divorced or separated find it difficult to celebrate the Christmas traditionally. This is particularly true for the newly divorced parents who do not find it comfortable talking with their ex to make the arrangement for the holiday celebrations. HuffPost UK Parents consulted with lawyers, child therapists, psychologists, divorced parents, and different support organizations to come up with a guide for helping the separated parents in co-parenting at Christmas in the best possible way this year. Let’s look at some of the problems that were highlighted and suggestions that were made by the experts.
Problem 1: You Are Facing Difficulty Creating a Schedule
Most of the separated parents find it difficult to agree on a schedule for the event, which results in frustration and anxiety, especially when Christmas is just around the corner. Nicola Booth, the director of Single Parents Support, suggests swapping Christmas holidays. It will give you the peace of mind that even if your kids are spending Christmas with your ex this year, then they will be with you next year. It’s best creating a parenting plan. The plan must be a written document that shares details about the responsibilities of both the partners, not only during normal days, but also during the holidays. Do not forget to mention who will keep kids during each holiday. Elaine Cooper, who is a parent-child and child therapist, is of the view that the parenting plan must be written in the light of the needs of the kids.
Problem 2: You Are Upset That Your Ex-Partner Will Change Plans at the Last Minute
Emma Pearmaine, who is working as a head of Family law at Simpson Millar solicitors, told HuffPost UK Parents that majority of the parents call to share their frustration and anxiety after their ex-partner changes Christmas plans all of sudden without giving any prior notice. It becomes difficult for the parents to reschedule the whole event once again and that also at the very last minute. Permaine believes that the parents should remain in touch with each other regarding the Christmas event until the last moment to ensure that both of them are on the same page. Siobhan Freegard, who is the founder of Channel Mum, suggests sharing the reservations and insecurities with the ex-partner right from the start in order to avoid the change of plans.
Problem 3: You Are Worried Your Kids Won’t Be Happy
Every parent wants to give a perfect Christmas holiday to their kids, but divorced parents have an extra burden on their shoulders. The fact they are separated makes them feel that their kids won’t be able to celebrate Christmas the way normal families do as depicted on television and in movies. Cooper is of the view that parents should not feel stressed over these little things as kids are mostly concerned about getting gifts from Santa. As long as they are getting the gifts, they do not care about anything else. Pearmaine says that kids of separated parents celebrate two days of Christmas, one on the 24th and the other on the 25th of December, each with one of the parents so there is no need to be worried about anything.