You & Your Stepfamily: Happy Holidays?

While many wish for the holidays to be a time of shared happy celebrations with loved ones, many end up feeling disappointed and depressed.

Stepfamilies experience additional stress due to heightened unrealistic expectations of everyone involved, as well as from the often stressful transitions and adjustments of visiting and/or departing children.

Taking the following steps will bring you closer to reaching a happier and more harmonious holiday season:

  • Plan your holiday events ahead.
    Visitation schedules during holidays can be stressful for everyone. Establish clear, reasonable schedules; preferably in writing, help reduce the anxiety of unexpected visits or lack thereof.
  • Create new traditions.
    Developing new traditions is of great importance for blended families, as a means of developing cohesiveness and strengthening their bonds.
  • Budget.
    Remarried families struggle with finances more often than biological families. The couple needs to create and develop their financial partnership in order to strengthen their relationship, and to avoid resentment build-up.
  • Communicate.
    Spouses need to establish and maintain open communication about their relationship in general and specific issues that arise.
  • Couple partnership.
    View your relationship as a shared partnership, not necessarily an equal partnership. Agree and clarify division of roles, rules, and boundaries. You will maximize your chances of success as a couple and enhance the holiday experience.

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