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Coping at Christmas and other special occasions...

l sp end Although this article refers specifically to Christmas, the
n wil
ldre w advice applies to many other special occasions such as
r chi ? e, ho
W i l l yo u
y o u s p o ssibl each Hanukkah, Diwali, Eid al-Adha or a birthday.
1. of a ith
both early me w end
with agree, as spend ti t they sp
i l l a h
Try to hildren w portant th f time wit
your . It isn't i m t o t e
u e amoun nt is that 2. When time with both of
of yo y the sam importa yable as you isn't possible
tl 's o
exac th. What and enj her it is If it is not possible for your
children to spend time wit
b o x e d whet both of you, is it possible for h
you la
as re k about them to receive a phone
i s ther
tim e
e . T hin y o u toge . call or a special letter? If you
r children's other parent
ib l r h ing
poss le for you time wit esent giv doesn't seem interested, it
may be possible to
ib d r
poss n to spen ours for p encourage them just to sen
d a card. If you feel you are
i l d re w h being prevented from seeing
ch fe
ybe a your children, see if you
– ma can find another way of sho
wing them that you are
thinking about them.

3. Make any hand-over as
easy as
e r pres t
v i
te o find
possible o mpe parents buying
nding time in on't
If your children will be spe ed
4. D separat re pres r many,
t the transition
two places, make sure tha y
Man ble to sh wever, f are
a o
last thing
is as simple as possible. The s s i H o o u to
their mum p o
ing istic. If y l y, try be
your children want is to see g i
and n't real s separ t. It can
a t e
en, where and
and dad arguing. Agree wh is
this g presen buy wh nt has
t a
between try
how your children will move i n
buy who w one par ther. Soi l l e
you. Stick to your agreement agr e e lt i f e o l buy
h oth er if the re do need to be r y d ifficu y than th who wil t –
contact eac ve e er en
h other is too mon te ov pres t
any changes. If seeing eac more compe the best en's bes
who may be t o r r
difficult, think about people no t st o ch i l d
h as igge your
able to help at hand-over suc the b isn't in
grandparents or friends. it jus sts.
r e

ers and other children

6. Think about new partn
your life, think about how
mily If there is a new partner in
d fa ements. How will your
de that will affect your arrang
n w will your new partner
out for es children feel about that? Ho
a b uncl children's other parent
T h ink e time a n d feel about it? How will you
o ma
, aun
d to step-siblings and half-
Try t parents are use as. If it is feel about it? What about
forward that means that
d n
gran r childre Christm e with siblings? Try to find a way
. But be honest about
u t
if yo g them a spend ti will help
m as little friction as possible
ortant that children,
i n o
see ifficult t hone ca
ll what you want, too. It is imp
not required to make
too d a p c .
h especially younger ones, are
then ay in tou k to all the adults
m ,
the one st decisions on your behalf. Tal
n if they are old
y involved, talk to your childre
t and then tell your
enough, decide what is bes
ide d.
children what has been dec

7. Look after yourself

Christmas for separated families can be an emotionally difficult time. Not only for
children, but for parents as well. This may be your first Christmas without your
children or without your husband, wife or partner. Take some time to think about
how you might feel and then think about ways of coping. If old traditions are too
painful, create some new ones. If you won't have chance to see your children,
write a letter and raise a toast to them. If you are going to be on your own, with or
without your children, think about whether you might spend some time with friends
or relatives.

© The Centre for Separated Families - 2008