You are gearing up to make the holiday season a special one for your blended family. You plan on being inclusive, nurturing, giving and loving. But what should you expect for the holidays with a blended family?
Dear readers of mine, no matter how well prepared you are, I want you to know that you will still find yourself faced with challenging circumstances.
I know you are feeling a mix of emotions, you are worried one minute and excited the next, all the while feeling a bit perplexed at what may occur with your blended family.
There are so many reasons that problems may occur in blended families and unfortunately, during the holidays, these difficulties may become more profound and exaggerated.
As most of you know I am the mother and grandmother of a blended family and therefore, I speak to you from experience. Everything I mention in my musings is from my personal observations, my private thoughts and my actual happenings.
By being aware that problems may arise and processing the logical factors below, your expectations will become more realistic. You will acquire a feeling of compassion for the adult children, enabling you to enjoy the celebration of the holiday season.
Logical problems of holidays with a blended family
1. LOSS: The adult children, both yours and his, are usually the principal cause of blended family complications because they are still contending with problems born out of a loss whether it be the death of their parent, a divorce they did not want or a separation they never imagined.
2. MEMORIES: The holiday season may make the situation worse because it is a prime time for recalling family memories.
3. UNRESOLVED ANGER AND MIXED LOYALTIES: The adult children have mixed feelings of unresolved anger combined with mixed loyalties because of their loss.
The above problems combined with other potential stumbling blocks can make holiday gatherings challenging. However, if your awareness and perceptions are truly heartfelt, your blended family members will feel it and you can bring rays of optimism into your blended family holiday.
What to be aware of during holidays with a blended family
1. DON’T HAVE OVER THE TOP EXPECTATIONS because this will lead to disappointment. Be realistic!
2. BE INCLUSIVE and communicate your holiday plans to every extended member of the blended family. If members outside your immediate blended family are alone, include them in your holiday celebrations. The adult children will notice and hopefully appreciate your open arms.
3. STRIVE FOR EQUALITY in gift giving. Believe me, the adult children and all the grandchildren will take notice and make comparisons. Take your time and choose a meaningful gift for everyone. I even attach a personal handwritten note.
4. DO YOURSELF AND BLENDS A FAVOR and rise above the emotional tumult. Smile through the challenges and remain calm and in good spirits.
5. RECOGNIZE that his children see you as taking their mother’s place and your children see him as taking their father’s place. Allow them to see how in love and happy you both are because this is especially hard on the adult children of a blended family.
Remember this: During the holiday season it is up to us, the oldest grown-ups, to be just that, grown-up.
Through it all, I am blessed to have one constant in my life… my husband, Sheldon Good. And that is how I hope you feel the second time around because together you can make the holidays with a blended family bright for everyone.
Happy Holidays, dear readers of mine.