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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Most families will be wondering how Christmas will be for them this year as we head towards, what is usually for most of us, a time of festivity with family and friends. Of course, the changes that COVID-19 has already brought to Yuletide 2020 are much in evidence; no handshakes, hugs or kisses to greet those we care about – sales of mistletoe will be down this year! No carol singing or seeing children in Nativity productions. No office parties or any chance of celebrating with colleagues in any way. Some pantomimes will happen I believe, but possible in more community type venues with far fewer people attending.
Maybe this year has invited families to be more creative in their ideas about keeping all the adults and children occupied and entertained. I am sure most children and young people would be delighted to spend hours on end on their Xbox or PlayStation, especially if it’s a Christmas gift but maybe a card or board game can evoke a bit more of a family feel.
The emotional impact of Corona virus and all the restrictions it has brought has affected both adults and children, it would seem like everyone’s life has been changed in some way with loss resonating for a lot of people. This might be the sad loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship or a job and an income or it might be loss of a social life or a usual routine which most of us historically have taken for granted. Loss is nearly always difficult as it drags in its wake change and managing change can be challenging at any age. In some cases, adults can make sense of change more easily than children as they have the cognitive ability to do so, children dependant on their age may struggle a little more, not understanding why they can’t go where they usually go or see who they want to see.
Changes maybe even more apparent to children if they have two homes especially if parental separation has occurred during this year. They will hopefully be able to spend some time with both parents over the Christmas period but will have to manage the restrictions in both households and possibly, quite naturally both parents’ anxiety levels could be raised because of the pandemic, the risks and the restrictions. When anyone is feeling anxious, adrenalin levels are raised and can lead into entering in to ‘fight’ mode meaning an increased chance of conflict.
Can I please make a plea to all families and especially separated parents on behalf of their children and ask that you try to keep conflict to a minimum this Christmas, it is so much better for the children but equally better for the adults. This has been and for some, continues to be a cruel, sad year, let’s try and keep as much joy as we possibly can in the Christmas period, despite the anxiety we feel and the imposed restrictions we have to manage and give the children the best chance of having a good time.
If you are separating or have separated and need any legal or emotional advice please do call Brethertons Family Team on 01788 579579 and one of the experts will be happy to speak with you.