Don’t let summer holidays get over heated if you are in a fragile relationship

Thursday 19 July 2018

While most children are excited about embarking on the long summer holiday from school, it can be a difficult time for parents; particularly those in a fragile relationship.

According to latest figures, a quarter of British families are now single parent families – with around two million mothers and fathers raising their children alone.

Whether you are in this situation or living in a relationship which is on the verge of breaking down, the long summer can add to the stress – say family lawyers at Buckles Solicitors LLP, who have some advice for families faced with coping with pressure of spending time together in the long summer break.

Buckles partner Lyn Brisley, who heads up the family law department, said: “People often find that tensions in their relationship can really come to a head during and after the summer holidays, when things do seem like a bit of a slog.

“Summer holidays can seem great at the beginning. However, sometimes spending lots of time together without any distractions – away from the daily pressures of work or taking the kids to and from school - can mean you find yourself confronting issues you’re usually able to avoid.

“This can be compounded by having really high holiday expectations – hoping for a chance to finally spend some quality time together – which can leave you feeling frustrated when they aren’t met.”

If you are in an already stressful relationship, there are some practical tips to try to keep your cool and avoid a summer meltdown.

- Get organised. Make a list of all the holiday dates and what cover is needed when and where – so that you and your ex and family / friends can juggle work and annual leave

- Put together a plan that allows everyone to have their say about what they want to do. It may be an idea to draw up a chart of what each family member wants to do, explaining to the children some of their wishes may be too expensive, and encouraging everyone to think about cheaper alternatives

- Be realistic. Don’t be afraid to talk to your children about time and money, and manage their expectations – explain that you still have work even though they are not at school. Get them on side early to minimise any disappointment later into the holiday

- Spread the load. Team up with other parents and pool resources. This way you can share the burden of childcare and the kids can keep each other company

- Be prepared for a last minute change of plan. Consult you ex before booking anything last minute if the opportunity arises and try and be as fair as possible. The arrangements are, after all, being made for the good of the children

- Family disagreements are inevitable when you are spending concentrated time together and can be inflamed by the additional stresses of travelling – and travelling with children. If you do argue, try not to let things escalate and always try to resolve the argument as quickly and calmly as possible. Talk things through and try to move on from it.

For more details on the work of the Buckles Family Law team (including mediation), which operates in Peterborough, Stamford and Nottingham, contact or