Tips for Navigating Your Blended Family Over the Holidays

blended familyOrdinary family drama during the holidays is bad enough, but when you’re attempting to merge a newly “blended” family, some preparation and planning can go a long way towards helping maintain Peace on Earth.

Okay, I don’t want to sound depressing, but when statistics indicate that well over 40 percent of marriages end in divorce, the concept of having a blended family is no longer an uncommon one. The prospect of attempting to smoothly merge this newly “blended” family is tough enough, but trying to navigate it at family holiday events, can quickly become double the drama if you don’t approach it with at least some sort of game plan in mind.

Most of us are already aware that emotions tend to run high during the holidays, so here are a few tips to try to help keep your holiday drama to a minimum if you're navigating a newly blended family.

Plan Some Fun Holiday-themed Activities to Help Bring Everyone Together

The holidays bring forward so many mixed emotions and if your family has been recently split up, chances are emotions will be running higher than normal. So it can help if you plan some fun holiday activities that will bring everyone together in a positive environment and preferably on neutral territory.

Something as simple as attending a special holiday movie or attending a holiday musical event can help give everyone something in common. Simple activities like decorating holiday cookies or making ornaments or gifts for friends, are also good bonding events to help bring your newly blended family together and keep their minds off dwelling on holidays of the past.

Keep some Past Traditions and be open to Adopting Some New Ones

If you’ve recently created a blended family, it’s unavoidable that your traditional family structure will no longer feel the same. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue on with at least some of your familiar family traditions in an effort to maintain at least some sense of continuity around the holidays. Conversely, it helps if you can keep an open mind and also be receptive to adding in some new traditions that might feel unfamiliar to you at first.

Insist on Respect, be Patient and don’t Set Down Ultimatums

While you may be super excited about your new spouse, you should keep in mind that your kids may not be of the same mindset. So proceed slowly without any expectations of making your newly blended family feel like your previous one. Think about it in terms of taking baby steps and acknowledging there will be frustrations and roadblocks along the way, but that nothing is insurmountable. Recognize that in the beginning, you might need to “give” more than you “receive” but that your ultimate goal is to make everyone feel loved, safe and secure in their new family environment.