The summer is coming. And with that: school holidays. A time that every child looks forward to. In my practice, however, I see that the summer can be a stressful period for many divorced parents and their children. Below I provide three tips to make those holidays a success for your child and for yourself.
It sounds so simple, but make sure you don’t have to organize your vacation at the last minute. That gives stress; with you, with your ex and with your child (ren). Therefore, agree in good time, for example at the beginning of the school year, how the holidays will be divided that coming year. Make clear agreements when short holidays start and end (and who brings/collects the children. Record the appointments you make, for example in an e-mail. Then you can both make plans for those vacations.
Do you want to go abroad? Make sure that you have the passport or ID card of your child(ren) and that that travel document is valid. Keep in mind that you need the cooperation of your ex to apply for a new ID card / passport and that the municipality needs more time, especially in the summer to issue a new document.
Make sure you also have the consent forms if you want to go abroad. You can download them here. These papers are especially necessary if you want to fly to your holiday destination with your child. If your ex does not want to give you permission to go abroad, you can ask the judge for permission. We can advise and assist you.
Keep in mind that your children – no matter how much fun the vacation is – can miss your ex. Allow that and allow them to reach out to that other parent. For example, it is nice to call or email when you have arrived at your destination. Consider the age of your children.
And if your children are on holiday with your ex, make an appointment when you contact them. Keep that contact limited; calling or Whatsapp daily is not pleasant for your child. Not even if he / she misses you terribly. Make sure your child does not feel guilty about not having a holiday at that time.
If something happened during your holiday that made a big impression on your child, inform your ex about it. It is nicer for your child if you can be parents together.
Holidays are meant to rest. When I heard from an adolescent a while ago what his vacation plans were, I was shocked. There was no moment of rest. Grand holidays abroad were planned with both father and mother. First three weeks camping in the South of France with father, his new girlfriend and her son and then 3 weeks to a house in Italy with mother, her boyfriend and his 2 children. Then a long family weekend in a house in The Netherlands because grandpa turned 75 and a sailing camp in between. He was never without a program and worse: never at home. However well-intentioned, the parents seemed to be involved in a competition to see who organizes the best holidays. This child was not allowed any rest. And that while adolescents prefer to lie at home on their bed all day with a tablet or game console! So take a look at the holiday program through the eyes of your child. There is no need to always leave. Try to discuss this with your ex. Perhaps you can divide the holidays together in such a way that everyone gets their money’s worth and rests.
Finally, are you reluctant to go on holiday alone with your children? There are plenty of vacations for single parents. That can be great fun for both you and your child (ren). You may find something that suits you on the internet.
Have a nice summer!1 May 2017