12 Days (Ways To Survive) Christmas For Separated Families
The festive period is a happy and enjoyable time for families, however, it can also be very stressful. Here are 12 tips to help reduce this stress:
Plan what’s happening in each household in advance. Try not to leave it until the last minute to make arrangements, when the pressure is on emotions rise.
Make plans at a time and method that’s good for you both. Mentally, ensure you are in the right frame of mind to express your suggestions calmly. These arrangements can be tricky, at this time of the year. Do you do this:
Meet face to face? In a public place? At someone’s home
Via Skype or Facetime
Listen carefully, to all suggestions and ensure that you understand what is being said and why. If you are not sure you understand the arrangements …… ask for clarification. Miscommunication of arrangements and/or motivation can often cause unintended upset at Christmas
If a suggestion is not workable say why, and suggest an alternative if necessary.
Don’t forget that a compromise is a very useful tool. Ask yourself, how you might respond to the proposals you are about to make.
Try to imagine what the arrangements will feel and be like in reality for your child/children. Will they have enough time to play with their presents? Will they be able to eat two Christmas dinners in one day?
Ensure the arrangements are workable….. think how they will work on the day. Timings and travel arrangements are often a source of aggravation. Consider whether public transport or other transportation is available.
Don’t make assumptions, they could easily be wrong.
Ensure family and friends are aware of your joint arrangements, and respect your decision making, as parents. Ask for their support to help ensure the arrangements are workable.
Acknowledge that as parents, you are both entitled to adult time if the other parent has care of the child/children. Ensure you each have time with the children and also for yourselves.
Mark agreed arrangements on a calendar and stick to it
Lastly…. do not give up! If you are having difficulties, contact us 01623 706020 it is important to keep the communication lines open between you. We are here to help.
Arrangements for the Christmas period are often very difficult, when communications aren’t working, and you can’t see a way forward, seeking professional help from a specialist family Mediator often helps.
Mediators are impartial, they don’t make judgements but are there to help families structure their arrangements, and create parental plans covering a host of topics from routines to holidays, healthcare, education, to special times like Christmas, in a way that makes things work for their separate households. Legal aid is often available, but not guaranteed. Appointments flexible.
If you require any information on how family Mediation could help your family, please call our coordinators on 01623 706020 or make a referral to see a Mediator who will meet with you individually to see if Mediation can assist.