Managing the holidays now you are apart – creating good memories
The school holidays are just around the corner and you probably have mixed feeling about how you are going to cope. However well you are managing the week to week arrangements with your ex-partner …holidays come with a number of challenges (as well as rewards)
Its common if you are the parent who has the children most of the time to be longing for a break from the routine, getting to spend some ‘fun’ time together (and hopefully get some much needed me time too away from the kids). Whereas if you are the parent who is no longer living with your children you probably have mixed feelings ….desperate to treat your kids and spend a bit longer together but also bit anxious about potential rows with your ex-partner.
If you can work out arrangements well in advance then this should make for an easier time, you can both plan and children will know what to expect and look forward to.
However this doesn’t always happen.
It becomes all too easy to get locked into rowing about who gets what portion of time, childcare costs, power struggles about who needs the holiday most, and just generally being awkward about communicating plans and competing over who can show the kids the best time. Such rows mean children get unintentionally placed in the middle. So how do you keep things respectful and ensure that they get to spend quality time with both of you? It should never become a competition for time or money but this may require some tact and patience as holidays don’t plan themselves.
Here are a few suggestions for happier holidays
- Make plans to talk with your children before any firm plans are made.
- Don’t make arrangements through the children and ask them to be the messenger.
- Try and see things from your ex-partner’s point of view – you will both have different feelings about how best to manage holidays.
- Be respectful of your ex-partner when giving the reasons for planning activities
- Tell the kids about changes to activities, but do not overwhelm them with details.
Disagreements are bound to arise when dealing with your ex-partner. If you find yourself locked in battle, and frustrated about his or her inability to put the children first, try to step back and remember the big picture. Try and manage everyone expectations and compromise…they’ll be other holidays!
It sounds clichéd, but it will be best for your kids to have a good time with both of you. If you can keep that goal in mind, you may be able to avoid disagreements about too many details.
These tips can help you keep it civil:
- Do not argue with your ex-partner in front of your children or on the phone.
- Avoid talking with your children about your ex-partner’s behaviour.
- Make it a priority to develop workable plan with your ex-partner, as soon as possible.
- Be polite and business like in sorting out details.
- Choose to focus on the strengths and interests of all family members.
One thing that can help keep things civil is to remember that a holiday becomes a childhood memory. Modelling ways for your kids to better cope and trying to be mindful of your ex-partner can go a long way to smoothing the way and giving your children and yourselves the happy memories you all want.