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How to Survive the Holidays Without Kids.

Parental Alienation

Maybe this is your first year after your separation and you are alone for some or all of the holidays. Maybe this is a repeat event, and you are getting pretty tired of missing one of the most joyous days and experiencing one of the most painful days.  How can you cope?

  • Create a Plan

Especially guys often relied on their wife or significant other to plan the holiday happenings.  If you are alone this year, you have to come up with a plan, what to do and with whom you will spend time.  Do not stay home alone, moping, watching TV, eating and drinking your sorrows away.  Most friends and family understand your plight and will invite you or accept your request to be included.   If they don’t, find new and real friends in a hurry!  Alternatively, this is a great time to volunteer.  Local homeless shelters especially need volunteers on and around the holidays.

  • Plan to Celebrate with Your Children

Just because your children are not with you on Christmas Day, or even all of Christmas break, consider planning a celebration after the holiday.  No child objects to late gifts, and it eases your pain on the big day if you have a celebration waiting for you.

  • Plan Alternate Contact with Your Children

Very few court orders include a prohibition against contact, such as FaceTime, Skype, a phone call or sending a card or gift.  Start this process by reviewing your court orders to make sure that such contact is allowed.  Then send a quick text to the children’s other parent asking for an agreed upon time for the contact.  First, it is respectful of their time to not impede on their day. Secondly, if the other parent is going to be uncooperative, you are better off knowing this in advance, and you may use the lack of cooperation in later court proceedings (and having your request in writing in advance will be helpful).  When you call, don’t cry or don’t guilt-trip the children about their joy of being with the other parent.  It’s just poor parenting and no one will benefit from it.

  • Plan- to Seek Help if Necessary

If you just cannot imagine how you’ll manage those days without your kids, it’s time to seek professional help from a counselor.  It’s perfectly normal to have a sense of loss, and just like any other medical issue, our bodies and minds need some help sometimes. 

  • Plan to Seek Legal Help after the Holidays

If you weren’t alone because of a shared parenting time schedule, but you ended up without your children because the other parent was uncooperative or even denied parenting time, it’s time to talk to an attorney.  Unfortunately, there is no quick fix.  In limited circumstances, an attorney can seek emergency enforcement of a court order if you anticipate a denial of parenting time.  In most cases, the wrong must be fixed after the holidays. The Friend of the Court can assist you with enforcement of a specific parenting time order.  If the other parent consistently denies your parenting time or the FOC suggests a ‘slap on the wrist’ fix, it is time to contact an attorney to request sanctions that will prevent a repeat occurrence. 

No matter what happens, may you treasure the gift of family and friends this holiday season.