Resolution - which adopts a non-confrontational approach to separation and divorce - is behind the advice.
On the face of it, the idea of two Christmases might seem like a dream come true for children, but the reality for separated families is often very different.
Putting the children first is the key to a happy Christmas:
Christmas - whichever parent it is spent with - should be something to look forward to, but for children caught in the crossfire between separated parents who can’t agree on where they should spend Christmas, excitement can quickly turn into misery.
Resolution has the following advice to help separated families make sure this Christmas is a happy one:
- Make your Christmas plans early to avoid clashes, arguments and upset later.
- Don’t ask your children to choose between you. This risks putting the responsibility on them when the adults should make these difficult decisions.
- Allow your children to express opinions about how they want to spend Christmas and listen to their views without putting pressure on them. When you’ve made the decision, explain it to them so they know what’s going to happen.
- Don’t make it a ‘who can buy the best present’ competition between you and your ex. Discuss what gifts to buy so you don’t duplicate. The likelihood is that what your children will want most of all is an opportunity to spend some time with each parent.
- Make the most of the time you have with your children and allow them to have a say in what you do. This may just mean curling up on the sofa and watching movies together or visiting friends and family. Things could get stressful if you try and do too much.
- Pre-arrange handover times, and stick to them. Try to be positive with your ex-partner so that the children do not pick up any tensions there may be between you. Research has found that children often feel that it’s their fault if their parents fight.
- Be willing to make compromises, in everyone’s interests. Even if you don’t entirely get your first choice result, be gracious about it, not only for the children’s sake, but for your own too. There’ll be other Christmases to try different arrangements.