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As a family law firm, we often witness the stress that comes with the holidays for divorced spouses. Those who have moved on to expand their families, creating a blended family, worry that the holidays will be tense.
With creativity and careful planning, a blended family can certainly enjoy their holiday celebrations. In this article, we cover a few tips to make the holidays enjoyable for everyone in the family, new and old.
There are no rules that say you must celebrate a holiday on its official date. For blended families, opting to celebrate on a separate date can relieve holiday stress. In actuality, holidays can be celebrated at any time that is convenient for the individual members, and this is even more important when you have a blended family. Consider dedicating gift exchanges on the day when the most people can be there and be open to a handful of smaller events. These are still great opportunities to connect as a family.
Make New Traditions with the Blended Family
Traditions bring families together to create memories that are cherished over the course of their lifetime. New holiday traditions foster strong bonds, particularly as new family members are getting acquainted. To do this successfully, get everyone involved. Challenge your blended family to establish new traditions for the years to come. This can help to remove some of the stigma associated with previous holiday traditions. This also creates an inclusionary environment for relationships to blossom between stepchildren.
Encourage Transparency In Your Blended Family
Ensure that everyone in the family, from grandparents to children, feels welcome to express their feelings. Listen without trying to fix problems or interrupting the flow of conversation. Although it is not necessary to agree with everything said, family members will appreciate that they’ve been heard and their feelings have been acknowledged.
Allow space and time for the child whose biological parent is not present at the festivities to express regret, sadness, or guilt. Children often feel disloyal to the missing parent, making them particularly prone to holiday stress. Provide a comforting and open space for the child, or children, to work through these emotions rather than pressuring them to behave in the way that you deem appropriate.
Blended families frequently involve not just the concerns of children but also the needs of stepparents and biological parents as well. Discussing holiday plans with ex-spouses and extended family as early as possible is very important. This way, even if there are initial disagreements, you’ve allowed time to work through the kinks and compromise. Planning ahead also creates a sense of stability for children who’s parents share joint custody.
The Law Office Of Rebecca Medina serves Fresno, Clovis, and Madera, along with surrounding cities in California. Contact us today for your family law needs including divorce, child custody, child support, mediation, spousal support, and judgment modifications.