If you are spending Christmas alone as a parent, there are no two ways about it: This is going to be an extremely emotional time.

Let’s be honest, you, your kids and your ex will all be experiencing some sadness and melancholy over the festive season. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by what use to be or could have been. However, your job is to make your kids feel secure; chances are they’re feeling pretty torn already.

So yes, Christmas, divorce and separated parenting … could be a perfect storm if you let it. Figuring out how to deal with your ex (or how not to) is crucial. Here’s the thing, when a marriage ends the natural thing to feel and do is to be enraged and that’s all fine if you don’t have kids. You can’t control your ex’s behaviour, but you can control how you respond. So, choose to create a new relationship with him/her … more business-like and less emotionally charged.

Make sure that your kids know that you’re fine and happy and will celebrate with them another time. Never make them feel guilty. And always, no matter if your heart is breaking, act like whatever time you get with them is enough. Then, and only then, they’ll have the Christmas they deserve.

Here’s how to keep them close over the festive season:

  • Drop the guilt. Your lives have changed irrevocably and that’s okay. You don’t need to take all the blame for the way things are now. Forgive yourself and move on.
  • Never stop pursuing your kids, no matter what the obstacles are. Send a text every day, do FaceTime and video messages. Keep their grandparents involved. They are still an integral part of your children’s lives and will provide them with continuity in the face of your changed family structure.
  • Arrange Christmas festivities early on with your ex. Make sure that you don’t duplicate gifts or arrange back-to-back feasts for stuffed and confused kids.
  • Don’t compete. You may be short on cash, but you can be long on love. Your time, attention and presence are much more important than lavish gifts.
  • Pick your kids up after Christmas with a gag order. If there are unpleasant topics to be discussed, schedule this for when your child is not around. Not being respectful towards your ex will be devastating for the mental well-being of your child.
  • Make the most of your time together. Have their room ready and start new traditions. Try out new recipes together or take part in a community event like a soup kitchen where they get to understand the true spirit of giving. Make them feel loved and wanted.
  • Be consistent about rules. Try not to change the dynamics of what they are used to.
  • Take care of yourself. Not having your kids with you will hit hard. Keep loved ones close.

Let the season be magical and your kids carefree as you insulate them from any animosity you feel towards your ex. Free them from feeling responsible for you and encourage them to enjoy every minute of the festivities.

Peace and joy to all of you!

Source: babble.com, fairdivorce.co.za, mckinleyirvin.com, womansdivorce.com, psychologytoday.com, familyeducation.com, huffingtonpost.com, amicable.io, allprodad.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.