Blended Families, co-parents, stepdad, Stepfamily, stepmom

10 Practical Strategies for Combining Holiday & Blended Family Traditions

Eating Thanksgiving meal at Grandma’s house. Opening presents with your children on Christmas morning. Celebrating the New Year with family and friends. Traditions are important to us because they connect us to our family, and the expected custom or ritual provides security in our lives. When traditions are broken or changed, something dies inside of us. Have you ever changed or broken a family tradition? How did you feel about it? Maybe you had no idea just how important that tradition was until you couldn’t or didn’t do it anymore.

Family identity is very much tied to traditions. Stepfamilies can often times find themselves torn between “your” family traditions and “my” family traditions, and trying to figure out new blended family traditions. The fighting to keep the traditions alive often leads to conflict and disconnect. Finding common ground for traditions requires time and a great deal of flexibility, especially for the parents and stepparents.

Holiday traditions put co-parent relationships to the test. If you’re not on good terms with your wasband or waswife you can forget about negotiating time for the kids over the holidays. Holiday experiences open the underlying hidden dynamics of stepfamily life. Parents pressuring their children regarding how much time they will have together and how travel plans are made lead to loyalty conflicts and issues of loss which can easily spoil the joyous season for children. Be compassionate and empathetic for the children’s sadness over traditions lost and memories from previous family holidays. Understand that they are getting used to new traditions, different food, and being with strangers in unfamiliar homes.

Here are 10 practical strategies for combining holiday and blended family traditions for you and your family.

  1. Be flexible and make sacrifices. Being flexible means you can adjust, change, or sacrifice old traditions during a given year in order to give your stepfamily time to develop new ones. You can’t make everyone happy all the time. Accepting this takes away the pressure to give everyone what they want. Showing a willingness to sacrifice sets the example for your children and or stepchildren. If you won’t, why should they, right?

Continue reading “10 Practical Strategies for Combining Holiday & Blended Family Traditions”

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Why I Wrote My Book and Started a Blog

I was led by Spirit to write my book, RECONCILED: A Story of Making Peace with God, Self and Divorce, while vacationing with my blended family on an all expense paid Alaskan Cruise, gifted by my former husband (wasband). During our time on the cruise, while conversing with the passengers on the ship, people asked me the reason for vacationing on the cruise. I shared my story of reconciliation with the wasband and our blended family vacation. People made comments like, “I can’t be in the same room with my ex, let alone a family vacation” and “Wow, you’re brave.” It was then that I had my, ‘Ah Ha’ moment. I realized this is the story God wants me to write about: to share with others how my wasband and my children and I reconciled our relationships after divorce. I’m thankful to announce my book was published June of 2016.

In 2010, while living in beautiful Rapid City South Dakota, I was inspired to write my first blog after watching the movie, Julie and Julia. If you’ve seen the movie and enjoy writing, you’ll understand the reason for my blog. My blog was called, Resolving Family Conflict. I blogged four years on how to resolve conflict, after separation and divorce and in relationships. A lot happened during this time in my life. Not only had I began writing my book, I was the leader of a Divorce Ministry in our church, my husband and I facilitated a Resolving Everyday Conflict group in our home, and I was in the process of mending and reconciling my own relationships with my two adult children and their father all while raising our three-year-old son. Crazy right? It was clear God had a purpose for me in all of this. I eventually stopped blogging to finish writing my book. Continue reading “Why I Wrote My Book and Started a Blog”