Christmas is coming. These words may be a source of dread rather than joy if you are a separated parent. Read these top 5 tips to help you to take a step back and think about what is important at this time of year:
- Remember Christmas is for children. What is fair and right for you may not be fair and right for the children. Always try to look out things from your children’s perspective. Focus on your children’s feelings rather than your own.
- Make positive memories. Memories are made by sharing family traditions, old or new. This can be the perfect opportunity to create new traditions with your children which will be something to look forward to, however the Christmas schedule is arranged. Conversely, if children witness their parents in conflict, they are more likely to remember that than who they celebrated Christmas with each year.
- Try not to get into a competition with your ex over presents. Don’t take the bait. Instead bring something of meaning to your children’s lives or share an experience together instead of presents. Don’t criticise your ex’s presents to your children; instead help them to appreciate and be grateful for any presents they receive.
- Never bad mouth your ex in front of the children. This can be tempting especially if your ex is playing emotional games. Take the moral high ground and save your children the turmoil of being caught in the middle. Your children are part of both of you and whatever you think of the other parent, it’s likely that your children see them in a different light. A bad partner does not mean a bad parent.
- Have a plan in place. If Christmas arrangements are not working, family mediation can help you to discuss issues in a safe environment, and help you to reach solutions that work for everyone. Co-parenting is for life, not just for Christmas. Working out a plan that has solid foundations and is acceptable to both of you will cause less friction and stress in the long run, and what could be a better Christmas present than that for your children.
Please try our Family Mediation Legal Aid Eligibility Assessment Calculator to see if you could be entitled to Legal Aid.
Read further information about the family mediation process in our FAQ section.