The approaching holiday season can be a source of dread for many separated parents. Even if you and your ex have sorted out regular arrangements, time spent with the children over holiday season can be an emotional issue. This is often due to deep seated feelings about how your life used to be, the desire to keep up family traditions and not wanting to miss out on these special days with your children.
Create happy memories without regret
However hard you find dealing with it, the most important choice is to try to take a step back and remove your personal feelings from the conversation. The holiday season is about your children, who will have happier memories if their parents aren’t arguing, and if they are not put in the middle by hearing negative comments about the other parent.
Navigating a new family situation is brought into sharp focus at this time of year, as previous routines now have to change. Use this as an opportunity to start new traditions with your children, and find a different way of spending family time that have meaning for your children. After all, a day is just a day- it’s what you do with that day that’s important, the quality of time spent making memories, not the quantity.
Focus on a long term goal and refuse to compete
If your partner insists on extravagant presents that you can’t or won’t match, step away from the game and refuse to compete. Help your children to value what they have, and find other ways of giving them meaningful opportunities at this time of year. Gifts are not necessarily priced by monetary value.
Ultimately, the best present you can give your children is working with your ex to find a solution that is acceptable to both of you, and one which avoids causing distress to your children. They will absolutely thank you for it in the long run. Studies now show that it is not the separation that impacts children most, it’s how you as parents handle it. That is worth more than the new high tech toy that will be discarded by January. Enjoy your time with your children and start some new traditions that will benefit you all.
If you'd like to discuss how family mediation can help you then please call our experienced family mediators on 0113 320 2288