Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why can't we have a "normal" holiday?

The holidays can be both a joyus time and an extremely stressful time. For many blended families navigating the holidays often turns out to be a tremendous challenge.

The good news is that with the number of blended families that there are in this country this is a challenge that millions of people are dealing with. That being said, the biggest mistake families make during the holidays is being overly rigid and tied to “what used to be”.  The reality is that once your family undergoes a divorce and a re-marriage, what used to be will not be.

Here are some simple strategies to help you have a more pleasant holiday season in a blended family:

Don’t manipulate custody agreements. Follow the custody agreement: The reality is that you many not get to be with your child on a specific holiday.  Manipulating this with your ex-spouse will only cause heartache for your kids… Stick with the rules.

Planning ahead is key. You have a greater logistic challenging than most. Think about what the calendar will look like and who will be where when and for how long.  This will cut down on surprises and frustrations.

Be flexible with the calendar and create new traditions.  Christmas gifts don’t have to be opened on Christmas—they can be opened before or after… You can’t force three holidays into a single day.  Create new unconventional traditions that help your family and add in some flexibility

Finally, Allow your children to share their feelings. This can be a confusing time for your kids… let them express frustration and stress to you.

Your blended family is a blessing and a gift.  Relish it, enjoy it and let it be what it is not what it is not....

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