HM Insights

Reflections in a swimming pool – 3 tips to tackle a family holiday meltdown

As the summer holidays approach, school children around the country are eagerly anticipating the long break. Most parents are frantically organising childcare, a variety of activities and camps to keep their little ones occupied, often at considerable cost, and all the while dreading the first shouts of "I'm bored". On top of that, there is for working parents the frantic exit from the office the night before departing on holiday and the inevitable arguments about the location of everyone's passports. That's before the traumatic trip to one of the country's airports for departure on one of the busiest days of the year. Two weeks on a sun lounger beckons, so teeth are gritted to endure the inevitable queues and stampede at the airport. Who wouldn't deserve two weeks of relaxation after that? 


Two weeks together in hot conditions, often without the benefit of air conditioning, can be the tipping point for some families. Most family lawyers will indicate that early January - following the Christmas holidays - is a busy time, but so is late summer/early autumn when families have returned from the annual summer holidays to reassess their situations. Maybe time on a lounger is the first chance a person has to stop and think away from the daily grind. 

There is no other time of the year when families are thrown together for such a long period of time in a relatively confined space. For the majority, the accommodation is not as large as the home they have left behind for two weeks and personal space is at a premium. Tempers fray far more easily in the heat and sun (although sitting in Glasgow in the cold and rain that seems hard to believe). Add in a few more glasses of chianti or the local tipple than was prudent and we have the makings of a holiday that will never be forgotten. 

Tips to tackle a family holiday meltdown: 

  1. Recognise that although you may have waited all year for this holiday, it is unrealistic to expect everyone to change so that there is not a cross word or argument in the course of the fortnight.
  2. Manage expectations and make sure everyone is able to get something out of the holiday, whether it is a tan, finishing a new book or learning to swim in the pool. It may be worth that extra effort.
  3. If things do go disastrously, reflect on your return. 

Harper Macleod's team of family solicitors understands that divorce and separation can have a huge impact on your life, and can guide you through the best course of action with sensitivity and objectivity. Getting the best advice is crucial to resolving your situation, and there are many options available to you, from litigation and arbitration to negotiation, mediation and collaboration.