for children of separated parents at Christmas
Christmas is just a few weeks away and my ex is again fighting me about the
holiday access schedule. I keep trying to come up with something fair and my ex
keeps nibbling back the time. Right now we are deadlocked. I think our kids
should be exchanged at 1:00 and my ex thinks 2:00 on Christmas Day. I don't want
to have to go to court over this but fair is fair. How do you get your ex to be
My heart goes out to your children. On the one day of the year their memories
should be on the joy of Christmas, their thoughts will be torn between parents
where an hour's difference is made to be the end of the world.
In situations such as this, children typically grow up to reject both parents.
These are the children that by the time they can escape home, they are quickly
living on their own and the parents have no ongoing relationship with them. In
other words quibbling over the hour at Christmas when children are young, runs
the risk that parents will lose out on an adult relationship with them. After
all, the parents will have built no decent memories of supposedly positive
memorable times. Rather than concentrating on what is fair between parents, you
must concentrate on what is fair to children.
To be fair to your children, give them a Christmas free from your unresolved
strife with their other parent. In the scheme of things, if the difference in
the Christmas Day changeover time has been whittled down to an hour's
difference, let it go and give your children the best Christmas gift of all -
one where the parents concentrate on peace for the sake of their children.
A peaceful Christmas between conflicted separated parents is the best Christmas
gift of all.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker in private practice. Courts in Ontario,
Canada, consider Gary an expert on child development, parent-child
relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations,
social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a
Section 112 (social work) report.
Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters.
Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques
information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane,
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