girl-with-presentsWhen there are special occasions, parents who are separated can feel the pinch.  Christmas is probably the most emotionally charged and, regardless of what was agreed at the time of a divorce or separation agreement, it’s natural that parents want to spend the festive celebration with their kids.

If this can be achieved in an amicable way, that is ideal – but it is not always the case.  Many separated couples cannot agree who should see the children when over the Christmas holidays.  It doesn’t do the atmosphere any good and children are very quick to pick up on negative vibes, so it can spoil everyone’s day.

It can be hard if it’s been agreed that the children alternate Christmas with their parent, so one year with Dad and the next with Mum – and then one parent has found a new partner.  The lone parent can feel left behind and depressed if it’s not their turn to have the child or children that year.

Then there’s ‘Present Wars’.  Who can outdo the other parent with a bigger and better present?  This gets much worse if one partner is in a better financial situation than the other and when grandparents swing into action it can be even more of a battlefield.

If one parent has moved away coordinating getting children from A to B just adds to the stress and adds a layer of complexity to the problem.

If your family has divided and the situation is getting stressful, there are options.

You could designate another day as ‘Christmas Day’ and the children get two Christmases.  That won’t stop you feeling bad on Christmas Day, but that’s where your family comes in.  Don’t spend the day alone, volunteer to help family or friends with their cooking, preparation or whatever or find a couple of other single parents and get together and do something you’ll enjoy.

You could arrange for them to have the morning with Dad and the afternoon with Mum, assuming both parents live nearby.  That way at least your child gets to see both of you on Christmas Day.

Or you could get a third party to mediate and help you to arrive at a solution that suits all of you, rather than a win-lose approach.

If co-parenting at Christmas is causing your family unnecessary stress, our experts would be delighted to help so everyone has a Merry Christmas.