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My first Christmas with divorced parents

Hi sam. My parents split around 5 months ago. When i was younger, my parents splitting up was the thing i most dreaded. I loved it when they were together. Me, my sister, and my parents. But its not like that anymore. When i was told, I was broken. I still am. I know that its the best for them, so i try to put a smile on, and keep my negative thoughts bundled up in my head. Its not nice, all these feelings of sadness and emptiness inside you, trapped. But anyway, Christmas. Usually its my favourite time of the year. Last year i even decorated my room in october. But this year, i just dont want it to happen. Im having to choose wether i want to spend it with my dad, or my mum. Theyve been there my whole life, how am i meant to choose who I spend one of my favourite times of the year with? They told me they wouldnt be offended, but of course ill feel bad if i dont choose them. My dad always cooks the big turkey. Makes us all feel happy and christmasy. I dont want him to feel alone on christmas. If i choose not to spend it with him, I really hope he has christmas with his side of the family. I can just see myself, waking up on christmas day, and just starting to cry. it wont be the same. Im not sure just how to process this all in my brain at the moment. Its affecting my day to day life. For example, im in the middle of english and i suddenly start worrying about the christmas situation. I feel really awkward talking to any of them about their relationship. Please sam, I dont know what to do.

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Sam

Hi there,

Sometimes you might be put in a difficult position when parents get a divorce. There can be times where you have to choose who to spend time with, which isn't nice and can be upsetting or stressful. No matter what happens, your parents shouldn’t put you under any pressure to choose one way or the other. It's not okay if anyone puts you in the middle of their relationship problems, even if they're your parents.

This is a hard decision because no matter which choice you make, you may feel guilty about it. After deciding what to do you might find yourself spending the whole time thinking about the person you didn't choose. The important thing to remember is that neither option is your choice – it’s the result of your parents divorcing. They should know that this would be a consequence of them splitting up and it's one they should be prepared for. No matter what choice you make, it's not your fault and you aren't responsible for how your parents feel.

There's no doubt that Christmas this year will be different than it has been before. Traditions you've had with them will be different and there might be a lot of new things that happen. It’s important to you look after your own feelings. I know that even if you know it's not your fault, you might feel guilty about who spends Christmas with you. One way of dealing with this is to make a plan for the next 2 years. You could spend Christmas with one parent this year and the other next year.

You can also alternate other days - perhaps Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with one parent then Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve with the other. Planning this in advance might help you because you know you're going to get equal time with them both and that it's clear you’re not picking sides.

I hope this has helped. Remember that Childline is open 24 hours a day, every day - even over Christmas and new year. There's always someone here to listen if you need to talk to a counsellor.

Take care.

Sam

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