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The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

Surviving Christmas for Separated Parents

Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year for separated parents if you are not seeing your children, especially if you are finding it hard to make any arrangements with your ex for parenting time at all.

Here are some tips for coping with loneliness at Christmas:

  • Put your children before your distress. Encourage your kids to look forward to the next time they will see you. Be confident they will have a happy time even though you are not part of it.
  • Try to negotiate a phone call on Xmas day with your ex so they know you are still there and happy for them. Send them a card too. Despite how you feel make no disparaging comments about your ex. This is the last thing your kids will want to hear on this happy day.
  • Try to negotiate with your ex that the children have every other Xmas with you.
  • If you do have your kids this year don’t over organise it. Kids will often have as much fun with their parent, a cardboard box and Sellotape than they ever will with expensive electronics. It’s fun time with you that counts. Give them memories, not presents.
  • Don’t compete on presents with your ex. Extravagant gestures to impress the ex or the kids will not work especially when money is tight for both of you.
  • Your kids don’t yet think like adults so don’t expect them to. Don’t be surprised that they have as much fun without you as they have when with you. That’s what kids are like.
  • If you do end up on your own, don’t get miserable or lonely over Xmas. Get out, see your friends, jog, exercise, and volunteer to help those even less fortunate than yourself. Self-pity will only immobilise you.

Dr John Barry of University College has written a Christmas blog titled The Season of Goodwill to all Dads?, which we would like to share again with you this year. Dr Barry writes of the disadvantages that separated fathers face and the disproportionally devastating effects these can have on their mental health. The issues come to a fore because of the particular difficulties dads experience in retaining relationships with their children, which can be especially painful at Christmas when it is a time for children and family.


Get Some Help and Support

If you are in a difficult place this Christmas, please get some help. Our Helpline (0300 0300 363) specialised support will be available throughout Christmas, Monday to Friday 6pm - 10pm.

Also, do visit one of our support groups in the New Year. Our East London branch is hosting an extra online support meeting which is open to whoever would like to join.


Your support will make a difference!

Each year FNF responds to around 200,000 service requests from parents and families who are often in great distress. In most cases, we are the only people who really understand and can offer real help and support based on experience. We rely on support from memberships and donations from people who believe that children should not face any barriers preventing their relationship with both their parents after separation.

Please consider making a donation this Christmas to support children in having both their parents and extended families involved in their lives using the donate button below. We appreciate anything you can give. It will help keep us going.Thank you!


FNF Christmas 2020


Thank You

At this time of year, we think it is important to thank the thousands of people who support us. Thousands of you have made donations - some substantial, many more small donations which between you have enabled us to continue to support children in having both their parents and extended families involved in their lives. We also wish to thank the many volunteers who give up their free time to provide support on our Helpline, in our branches throughout the country and at our national office. On behalf of thousands of our service users, THANK YOU!

Finally, please watch the video below. We have used it before, but the message is as relevant today as when we first sent it out.




We wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year 2021 We also look forward to the day when separated parents put their children first and work together fully and openly following separation. Children grow up best with the unrestricted love and support of both their parents - Can we do this for them?


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FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel


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