Written by: Melissa Hathaway
It can often be a struggle for a child with separated parents during school as their timetable and scheduled visits to see and stay with both parents can leave them with a lot of lost time, and often left in a situation where they spend much more time with one parent than the other. Summer holidays and vacation periods from school are an ideal time for a child in a divorced or separated situation to spend time with both their parents; however this can often clash with pre-decided terms of custody on behalf of the parents. This can cause issues as a child gets older, especially if they want to spend equal amounts of time with both parents – a natural feeling and need for most children.
Being Fair to the Child
As parents you may have made agreements with your ex-partner upon separation about who will have the child or children and how often they will visit the other parent. This is fine for school months where a regular schedule is needed to keep the child focused on school without an extra hassle and without long travelling times to get to school; however the summer holidays or other vacation periods can make this arrangement a little unfair on both the child, and the parent who spends less time around the child during school months if this is the pre-made agreement. Also, as a child gets older they may actively decide they wish to spend more time with both parents, and thus arrangements must be organized to keep a child or children satisfied.
Vacations for the Child with Both Parents
This can be a very tricky situation; both parents wish to take their child or children on vacation but understandably do not wish to go on vacation together. Often this can cause arguments and issues as both parents need to find different times to schedule in vacations without overlapping the times they plan to spend away on vacation. If you find yourself in this situation, discuss with your child the available options so as they understand what is happening, and approach the other parent in a calm, collected manner, with planning for the discussion written down so as it can easily be talked about. Insurance for the child or children may be an issue that needs to be addressed if both parents wish to take the child abroad on vacation, or even just on an adventure type holiday where accidents can sometimes occur. The best way to approach a conversation about insurance for your child is to suggest a split in the cost of the insurance, with the actual policy being confirmed by the parent that looks after the child for the majority of the year.
Children Come First
Although you may have a strained relationship with your ex-partner, it is important to remember that your children come first and that sometimes you will need to communicate between each other to ensure your children have the best childhood possible, without their relationship with one parent not blossoming due to bad communication between both parents. Always put your child or children first; seeing them happy with both of their parental relationships will allow you to feel happier and much more at ease around your child and your ex-partner as there will be no hard feelings between the two of you. Remember, in a situation where there has been a divorce or separation a child may be scared to talk to you as a parent about how they are feeling for fear of you not understanding or not being willing to listen. Ensure your child knows they can talk to you about anything they are feeling without the need to be scared or worried about how it may affect your feelings; explain to them that you are always willing to hear their opinion as this will allow you to have open channels of communication at all times with your child, regardless of whether they are staying with you, or their other parent.
Having a happy, healthy relationship with your child is one of the most important and special things you can have within your lifetime. Giving your child the opportunity to bond with both their parents is important as it helps them remain well-balanced as an individual, meaning you can be proud of the person they grow-up to become. Vacations are an ideal time to further this special bond, so it is essential that you let your child experience this where possible with both of their parents.