How Can I Make Holidays Easier for My Stepfamily?

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

Step-families during a holiday time, whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even summer, really struggle because you are dealing with more people, anytime you add more people you add more complexity. Add the fact that most of these people are hurting, or emotionally wounded in some way, now you exacerbate that even more. Now add the fact that the ex-husbands or wives have a significant other in their lives, and in-laws, now you have a whole bunch of people.

We say that, in a step-family you don’t deal with a family tree you deal with a family forest. So that is part of the reason why holidays or any special occasion (weddings, even funerals) can be very complicated in a step-family.

So, for the step-mom my encouragement for her is don’t be ambushed by this. Get rid of Norman Rockwell. It’s not going to be a Normal Rockwell picture in a step-family, most of the time. So, learn what is normal for step-family holiday living. If for the past three years on Christmas eve you are supposed to have the children and the former spouse all of a sudden says, “you can’t have them,” expect it to happen again this year.

And either afterwards do something legally about that, but don’t let it ruin your holiday. So, it’s not being ambushed by all of those complexities that is really the answer, the short-term answer, for a step-mom or step-dad who gets frustrated that they aren’t having the perfect Christmas. 

For more reading on this topic, please see the following articles:
5 Things You Need to Remember during Family Time at the Holidays
3 Ways to Navigate Family Tension at Christmas

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages 



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