A Bend, Oregon Marriage Counselor Says Blended Families Face Unique Holiday Difficulties

December 17, 2012 by

As a Bend, Oregon marriage counselor, I know that blended families come with unique difficulties. These problems can really come to a head around the holiday season—especially when kids are involved.

Try to bring everyone together to celebrate and it’s very likely that animosity and unresolved feelings will rear their ugly heads. At the very least, you’re likely to experience tension and anger. I’ve had clients come in and describe shouting matches and even physical altercations. Splitting time with the kids has its own difficulties as they can vent their own frustration over being taken away from their other parent by piling blame on dad, mom, or a stepparent.

Dealing with the guilt and stress that comes from this can be a real strain and lead to serious relationship issues between you and your significant other if you’re not prepared.

Learn How to Prepare for Blended Family Holidays with a Bend, Oregon Marriage Counselor

Luckily, you can minimize hurt feelings and relationship issues by doing a few simple things ahead of time to make sure that everyone involved is prepared and can agree to a few ground rules.

Plan together, plan in advance. Deciding when and how holiday celebrations are going to be held and who the kids are going to be with isn’t easy. If you want things to go as smoothly as possible, plan a few months in advance and do it together so that you can get any tensions out of the way then and come to a compromise. Also make sure that your kids are well aware of the plan’s details so there are no surprises.

Stay flexible. While planning is good, you still have to be flexible. In part, this means that things can change unexpectedly (something every parent should know well!), but it also covers things like being willing to have your holiday celebration before or after the actual date.

Try not to compete. An unfortunate side effect when parents separate is that they often attempt to compete for their child’s affection by buying better gifts or having a cooler party. But all this does is cause further animosity, so it’s important to try to take the high road.

Bend, Oregon Marriage Counselor: Let Feelings Be Shared

But possibly the most important thing you can do is give everyone involved a private space to express their feelings. Listen to your loved ones and acknowledge how difficult this situation is. Don’t try to solve things, just be there for them. For more advice, call a Bend, Oregon marriage counselor today.