Is it possible to have a happy family holiday post-divorce?Joanna Craig
Is it possible to have a happy family holiday post-divorce? No divorcing person needs to be told how important their children are and no divorcing parent needs to be told how stressful the process can be and how difficult, in particular, the summer holiday period can be. There is the practical difficulties of arranging childcare over the summer holiday with your partner or ex-partner, and of course deciding who is to go on holiday with whom and when. Added to all of this there will be the fact that having separated or divorced, the parties are generally worse off financially, so all of this combines to produce what can be a very stressful situation.
Among the issues you and your children may be worried about this holiday period are:-
- Which parent will have access to the children and when?
- Will the children be able to fully relax and have a fun time with only one parent, will they not feel disloyal or miss the other parent?
- Will there be any competition between parents about the provision of a holiday, is the parent with the better job or a new partner able to give the children a better holiday?
- How do you deal with the fact that there may be sad memories of past holidays when you were all together?
Of course holidays will never be the same post-separation but here are some practical suggestions to have the best possible holiday:
- Start by planning ahead – having a schedule in place for when the children will be with which partner will ease their anxiety and help any transitions between parents.
- Before going away make a mental resolution to enjoy the holiday, whatever the circumstances are during the lead up to it. Whatever trauma and stress you may have been through as a family, whatever you might be feeling towards your ex, try and have a good time away with your children.
- Have the best holiday you possibly can under the circumstances. Show the children that whatever has happened to the family, you still love them and want to share your holiday, and in particular, your time with them.
- Don’t say unpleasant things about the other parent. You don’t want your children to feel guilty or confused about spending holiday time with your ex-partner.
- Let your former partner have their quality time with the children and don’t argue about it or interfere. You both have as much right to spend time with the children as each other.
- Appreciate that your children may be sad that their parents can’t both be there to enjoy the holiday together. Let them know that it is okay to feel that way. Don’t pressure them to act happy if they don’t honestly feel it.
I am grateful for Dan Couvrette of Divorce Magazine for some of these tips.
Further tips are available from Nicola Menage who specializes in stress management including stress resulting from relationship breakdown.
Above all, try and have a good holiday!
For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email email@example.com.