Holiday Thoughts for Single Parents

by Barry Lillie

The holiday times are often moments where single parents struggle with sharing time, memories of holidays past, and ensuring their children  how to The following are guidelines for newly separating or changed families during this joyous but often difficult season.

  • Guard against any erratic behavior by yourself or your former partner. Your children need to be children- not spectators or referees.
  • Make sure that a parenting plan for the holidays is understood and followed. Few separated parents can negotiate on the fly. Given the preceding, try to be flexible at a time when spontaneity and children go together.
  • Reach out to friends or relatives and ask for their support. Many of us find that ‘reaching out’ to be difficult. Be honest with what you need from your family and friends and don’t be afraid to ask for their support.
  • Focus on making your time with your children the best possible. Depending on the time and place of your family in the separation process, many children of all ages (toddlers to adults) are going to be struggling with two Christmas homes, divided families and loyalty tug-of- wars. It is a time to build a new normalcy and calm for everyone.
  • Don’t spend more than you can afford. Older children know your reality- younger children enjoy simpler things. Partner up with other family members for larger purchases.
  • Children from blended families notice disparity in gifts. Try to balance whenever possible.
  • Blended families may have to deal with a disparity because the other parent has different means available to them e.g. no other children to buy for. While this is life and difficult to control parents need to be sensitive to the problem and try to work it through with the child if necessary.
  • Children are not the sole possessions of one parent or one side of their extended family.  A parent can be the best parenting model through their generosity of spirit.
  • If you have a new partner and family, enjoy and appreciate their gifts of love, support and family. Blend old and new Christmas traditions.  (see attached article)

And send your children to the other parent’s Christmas celebration with your love!


Barry is the Executive Director of Kids’n’Dad Shared Support.  You can see more at


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