Can You Survive? Stepfamily Holiday Stress

I don’t really care for the term stepfamily. I prefer blended family, even though I’m not usually given to politically correct terminology. The point is that stepfamilies or blended families can encounter some unique challenges, especially during the holidays.

Time can be at a premium, especially when not only ex-spouses, but also ex-in laws, as well as your own family members hope to spend more time with your children. This can often lead to stressful and uncomfortable situations. It may also lead to resentment for your spouse.

It is important to make sure that you try to keep everyone’s feelings in mind while sorting out visitation and celebration issues.

Your spouse also needs to be included in these decisions, despite what your ex or ex in-laws might think. Your husband or wife is the person now sharing your life, and that means every decision affects him or her too. This can present difficulties especially in cases where relationships between spouses and exes are strained.

These issues can leave you, and your children, feeling rather stressed out. It is essential that children are kept out of adult disputes and that you firmly insist that other adults involved with your kids don’t drag them into disagreements. In a perfect world, this would go without saying. However, this isn’t a perfect world and people sometimes lose their bearings when emotions are high. They don’t mean to upset the children, they just get carried away.

Someone has to make sure that the adults act like adults, and that person may be you, if others can’t get their act together. You might invite those involved to a public location to have a discussion and work out a system that is acceptable to everyone.

If everyone feels that they are being shown consideration and everyone is willing to compromise a little, you should be able to work things out so the holidays are enjoyable for everyone. I know from personal experience how difficult this can be, so I wish you well as you work to bring your family together.

*Check back for some tips.

Other articles that may be of interest:

Coping with Holiday Travel Stress

Blending Holiday Traditions

Sharing Holiday Responsibilities