Separating during the holiday season can be complicated, balancing your own needs with the needs of your children and family expectations. Keep these considerations in mind as you transition into a separated family this season.

Your children always come first

  1. Regardless of how you feel about your spouse, the key to good co-parenting is making sure your child’s needs are put before your own. If you are letting your children know during the holiday season that you are separating, be sure to address each child individually to answer any questions they may have. Emphasize that the separation is not the children’s fault and that it is for the best interests of the family.
  2. Your children are more aware of the situation than they may let on and will notice if your behaviour is different throughout the holiday, from stilted conversation to shouting matches behind closed doors. Maintaining a civil relationship with your estranged spouse will help ease the transition for your children. Avoid arguments that can disrupt or alter this important cultural, familial, religious and social time of year.
  3. The impact of watching parents fight may impact the children for years to come. Watch out for any signs of stress in your children’s behaviour, from not eating at meals to not engaging in their favorite activities. Check in with them throughout the holiday to make sure they are handling the adjustment well. Seeking advice from community leaders, family members, or trusted relationships early on to support your decision making and your family’s needs through this holiday period until you are able to seek a program of assistance after this vacation period.

Inform your family ahead of time

  1. Prior to the holidays, set aside some time to let the family know what is going on. News travels fast. Calling each member individually will allow you to accurately control and convey the details you want them to know about the separation, preventing awkward questions and setting boundaries for the time you spend together. Waiting to tell them at a later date could lead to anxious speculation among those who may know and may see fit, rightly or wrongly, to question the children.
  2. Take the high road when discussing the separation, because you’ll never know just who is in earshot including your children. Ensure everyone knows that your family is entitled to their privacy and questions about your separation are off limits.

Form new traditions based on core values

  1. The best way to ease into the holidays as co-parents is to develop new traditions with your children. These can be built from previous traditions held as a family, based on what your children enjoy most. Or, you may encourage the children to forge new ones.
  2. Relating to your spouse may be difficult at this time. Focus on demonstrating and practicing the family’s core values helps ease the transition each member may be experiencing in their own way.  Values such as kindness, generosity, sharing, and helping can bring a measure of family cohesiveness during this time of upheaval.

Family Law Lawyer in Greater Toronto

For legal advice you can rely on and answers you are looking for relating to your separation contact Lorisa Stein. Lorisa will work with you to develop a collaborative arrangement with your children in mind. Lorisa can be reached directly by phone at 416-596-8081 or by filling out her online contact form.

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