Research shows families break up far more often around this time of year leaving parents and especially children devastated. What should be the happiest and most exciting time of the year for children often ends with sadness, conflict and confusion. The reason this happens so often around Christmas is the end of the year is often a time of reflection and people question their past year and query if what they are doing is really satisfying and fulfilling. When these questions create doubt it is over this period in the year they often discard the old and become ready to start the new. Relationships being one. Stress levels this time of year are at peak and studies show that stress diminishes our ability to control emotions. This is when people decide to bail out. Problem however is when emotions are escalated logic ceases to exist. This leaves the children suffering due to their parents, or one of them, deciding enough is enough. Data researchers David McCandless and Lee Byron have come up with what appears to be the first actual representation of the trend using information collected from Facebook. “There are two peaks, one in March and one right now, around Christmas” they advise. It is the most frequent time when relationship status on facebook changes to single. Christmas and early New Year are often the busiest time in the Counselling rooms due to couples decision to end the relationship. This is then followed with sessions for their children struggling to deal with the fallout. Children become very angry with parents who did not wait until after the Christmas season to end their family unit. A few suggestions for parents considering ending their relationship 1. Ensure it is after the Christmas break 2. Concentrate on giving the children a peaceful and happy Christmas 3. After Christmas both parents speak to the children advising them the relationship is ending 4. Assure the children it is not their fault 5. Reassure them both mum and dad love them and will see them all the time While parents may feel they are over their relationship, many fail to consider the ramification on their children that can last a lifetime. There is a right way and a wrong way for couples to dissolve the family unit and doing it right on Christmas is never the right way.

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