Every year, the holiday season can cause a considerable amount of stress for families of all kinds. Distant family members may be thrown together with people they simply don’t enjoy being around. Newly divorced couples often struggle to figure out their “new normal,” unsure of how, when or where to celebrate now that they’re single again.
However, blended families may have it worse than anyone else. In a blended family, there are a lot of complex issues that have to be navigated. For example:
- Scheduling has to be started early so that major events are covered. Your child may now have a plethora of grandparents, thanks to your second marriage. You want to try to give everyone an opportunity to show their love for each other.
- Soothing hurt feelings may be required. If your spouse doesn’t get along with your ex-spouse (or you don’t get along with your spouse’s ex), even small irritations can blow up into epic disputes.
- Second spouses may want to “opt out” of a family gathering involving ex-spouses and their relatives when they don’t want to be involved with family drama.
- Sometimes it’s necessary to limit the times that an ex-spouse is involved in a family celebration. During a milestone event, like a child’s birthday, it’s appropriate to extend an invitation. For the Christmas morning when you have parenting time, it’s probably not. Your ex can celebrate at a different time.
It’s also essential to keep the needs of the children in mind. The holiday season is about finding your place within your family circles. It might be wise to ask older kids where they want to spend a particular event (or if they even want to drop out).
Keeping the peace in a blended family can be rough. This is why many second marriages end in divorce. If the cracks in your second marriage are showing, find out more about how to protect your future and the future of your children.