Presented by the Stepfamily Foundation.
Written by Jeannette Lofas, Ph.D., LCSW
In a nation of the families of divorce and remarriage--- over 50%
- The story of the holidays has changed.
- No longer is it the Norman Rockwell picture of the family: mom, dad, the kids and grandparents, sitting around the table.
- Today over half of our children come from divorced families.
- Celebrations will be with either one parent or the other.
- Tables bountiful many also are laden with uneasiness.
- Stepparent, biological parent, child and stepchild may twist in their chairs trying to feel “normal” together.
Some kids are not thankful. Many even dread the holidays, and act with distance or even rudeness.
The wounds of divorce can tear open at holidays.
- Over half of our children live in divorced families, with only one parent present. Many live in stepfamilies.Yet, the holidays are portrayed as “ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY” Celebration.
- Why we are all acting up, not talking, being rude at this special time? Because we want it to be what it is not: that biologically, blood related family.Stepfamilies are just not “Cool,“ yet.
- So, let’s just change it! Parents, teachers, preachers, kids, how about making the stepfamily “normal.” It is the norm now.Let’s make it “cool” to be with some people you like, and some people you don’t likeAnd, “just deal.”
- Acknowledge that the family is the way it is.
- There are a few more or less people. Parent(s) set some guidelines: some forms norms, manners and expected behaviors. We can’t expect the old rules to work in this new scene.
- Plan, Plan, Plan. Good co-parenting means that ex have holiday times planned well in advance.
- Pick Up And Delivery is pleasant.
- Gifts one child, step or bio, should not get excessively more gifts. Parents need to discuss major gifts.
- Expectations of Roles And Responsibilities of the children and grown ups.
- Manners, Forms And Norms are described and agreed to by the parent(s), stepparent and children.
- Civility. Exes act respectfully toward each other. It only hurts the children.
- All The Children Help With The Festivities e.g., trim the tree, make cookies, help light Chanukah menorah, cook the latkes, set the table etc.
- Parent Is Not An Entertainment Center Watch your parenting. Just say “No.” Smile no discussions about rules.
- Say Thank You to the cooks, grand parents, the mom, the dad, and the stepmom/dad and to the kids for pulling it all together and making it a blessed day.
- Have Fun.