Christmas is a difficult time for separated families. Emotionally it is one of the most overwhelming events of the year which can cause a significant amount of distress for parents as well as children. In order to survive this time of year, and lessen the emotional impact, it is important to focus on the individual needs of each person in your family, including yourself.

As a parent it is difficult if you are unable to have access to your children at Christmas time. It is okay to feel emotionally overwhelmed as a result. If you are in this position there are some steps you can take to help minimise the impact.

  • Talk to your children about the arrangements for the Christmas period
  • Arrange a time to speak with your children on Christmas day
  • Normalise with your children the fact that they won’t see you on Christmas day
  • Plan with your children about how and when you will celebrate Christmas with them
  • Don’t emotionally overwhelmed your children
  • Make sure you have a plan for yourself about how you will celebrate Christmas
  • Take the time to de-brief with someone about how you are feeling

It is important to understand that your children will be looking forward to spending Christmas with their other parent. While you may be struggling, your children may not be feeling the same way. Allow your children the opportunity to enjoy their time at Christmas away from you. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to be with you or that they don’t care about your feelings. The more you allow your children the freedom to enjoy their time, the happier they will be when they come back to you.

Make sure you look after yourself while your children are away. Take the time to speak with family or friends about how you are feeling. If you are still feeling emotionally overwhelmed it may be a good idea to speak to a professional about how to manage your feelings.