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Accepting Holiday Reality & Enjoying the Holidays
As the holidays are fast approaching, many parents are struggling around holiday vacations. At Kids’ Turn San Diego, this is a common theme every December. In this month’s blog, we share some facts, offer some realities and provide some suggestions for getting out of the struggle.
- Fact: Sometimes children travel with one parent during the holidays to visit with extended family and one parent stays back for one reason or another
- Fact: When children travel with one parent, they do not have physical contact with their other parent
- Fact: Many separated and divorced parents are struggling with the upcoming holiday season and time away from their children
- Fact: In separated and divorced families, vacation time is oftentimes viewed as “they’re taking my kids away from me”, “They’re trying to make me miserable”, or “It’s not fair for me not to see my children for three weeks”
- Reality: In separated and divorced families, vacations are NOT ABOUT YOU
- Reality: Family vacations are NOT ONE PARENT TAKING AWAY YOUR CHILDREN. Remember the children are OUR CHILDREN, NOT MY CHILDREN
- Reality: Family vacations are NOT ABOUT MAKING YOU MISERABLE
- Reality: Family vacations ARE FAIR FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND WILL LEAD TO MEMORIES THAT LAST A LIFETIME
In our Family Workshop program, we teach a skill called the ABCs of Healthy Communication.
A = Attitudes are how we think and feel about a situation
B = Behaviors are what we do as a reaction or response to a situation
C = Choices are the decisions we make about how we will think, feel and behave towards a situation
From the skill of Doing What Works, when it comes to vacation time, use your ABCs. NO ONE HAS CONTROL OVER HOW YOU THINK OR FEEL, only you do. NO ONE CAN GET INSIDE YOUR BODY and make you behave a certain way. The CHOICE IS YOURS! Here are some suggestions for letting go so you can move forward.
- Suggestion: I will survive if I do not see our children for three weeks. OUR CHILDREN WILL NOT FORGET ME!
- Suggestion: Even though I don’t want to think about it this way, if our children are with their other parent for three weeks, THIS IS THREE WEEKS OF ME TIME TO DO WHATEVER I WANT!
- Suggestion: Create a calendar with designated reality-based FaceTime or Phone Calls and provide the request when you agree to the vacation request. REMEMBER, A 5PM CALL IS NOT REALISTIC!
- Suggestion: Agree to the vacation request and clearly state when your vacation will be. How, what, when? GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY. CHOOSE A TIME PERIOD AND THEN FIGURE IT OUT. Not sure how to do this? Keep it simple, if your co-parent is requesting a three week vacation this year from December 15th – January 5th, state, I will agree to your vacation request for December 15, 2023 – January 5, 2024, as long as we agree to the following FaceTime or Phone Call schedule (willing to negotiate if needed, as this is a tentative plan) and you approve my three week vacation next year from December 20, 2024 – January 3, 2025.
How we react to our co-parent’s request is no one’s choice but our own! You can run to your attorney or spend time and money running to court, OR YOU CAN SAVE THE TIME AND MONEY, KEEP IT SIMPLE AND USE THE MONEY TO PLAN YOUR THREE WEEK VACATION NEXT YEAR! The choice is yours!
From the Kids’ Turn San Diego Family to Yours, we wish you a peaceful holiday season full of gratitude for your incredible children!