Tips for Easter Holidays
Yes, it’s hard to believe, but the Easter school holidays are approaching and for those in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the Commonwealth Games. All up, it’s a busy time! For separated families, negotiating the kids’ holiday arrangements this time of year can be a challenge.
So, what can separated parents do to make the holiday period a little easier on themselves and their children?
From a legal point of view, children’s arrangements (who they ‘live with’ and ‘spend time with’) are ordered by the Court for the children’s benefit, not for the parents’ benefit. Parents need to communicate with each other and plan for these times before they arrive.
Understanding some simple facts about children can help. Children often feel responsible for making both parents happy, their dream is that their family will be together.
Security is something children need, they conform to keep others happy and often don’t even know how to express their feelings about what is going on. This can mean that on the surface everything seems to be OK, but the child may in fact be experiencing a storm of unexpressed emotion.
For parents, it is also important not to argue in front of your children. Criticising the other parent when talking to your children or arguing in front of them is simply poor practice for your children’s happiness and development.
Your children love both of you and the relationship that they have with both parents must be protected. Criticising one parent is like criticising half of themselves, children can take it personally and be deeply hurt.
To avoid conflict, relationship counsellors recommend that parents need to agree on arrangements so that there is no tension, ask your children what they want to do, put your children’s desires ahead of yours and avoid a situation where your children may be drawn into the centre of the conflict.
Communication is the key. Start communicating well ahead of time and keep your children’s happiness and future development as your priorities.
Despite all your efforts difficulties may still arise. If you find yourself in this situation, a counsellor can offer helpful advice and strategies. A lawyer can explain what the law says regarding various situations with relationships and children and give you advice about the options available to you.
A free copy of “A Guide to Family Law – Everyday Answers” is available to download via our Publications page. It is designed to help you gain a basic understanding of how Family Law in Australia relates to separation, divorce, children issues, and more.
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