As the summer holidays draw to a close, parents who have recently separated may already be thinking about the next school holidays, eg Christmas and New Year. Even parents who have structured contact in place during term-time, often dread the prospect of organising days that carry emotional weight - in particular Christmas and birthdays. Family mediation provides a safe environment to discuss child arrangements at any point in time including before, during or after separation.
Most parents find that a structured plan helps everyone, particularly children, to know what to expect each week, in order to be prepared emotionally and practically. How strongly that plan is adhered to usually depends on the particular needs of the family. It is often acknowledged even in court however, that a child arrangements plan cannot be etched in stone. Family life, and a child's life in particular, is fluid and generally an amount of flexibility is required. This is particularly true of arrangements for holidays and special occasions where plans may deviate from the normal weekly structure.
Christmas and birthdays are traditionally times when families come together, and separated parents should consider their child's needs first when making new arrangements, in order to ease their worry and confusion. Family mediation can help reduce the anxiety and stress of these situations by helping parents to plan ahead, consider all options, and make decisions that suit the family as a whole. Once arrangements have been made, keep children informed about plans, where they will be and with whom. Parents can help children to understand that although family life is different now the times shared together can still be special. Presents can be an additional source of anxiety at these times of year and often become a source of competition between separated parents. Communication and co-ordiantion around presents will be much more beneficial to your children including at whose home they will be keeping their gifts.
At MyMediation we can help resolve many practical issues that arise after separation, including plans for holidays as well as day to day living arrangements and wider issues such as education, religion, or the involvement of new partners and grandparents. Family mediation helps families manage change and find new ways of communicating to reach agreed decisions.