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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Begin New Traditions and Create Special Bonds during the Holidays

Family traditions are a great way for stepfamilies to connect with one another. Family members come together and work toward a common goal in a non-threatening environment. Traditions can be as simple as making paper chains to count down the days toward Christmas (one of my kids' favorites) or more involved such as helping serve a meal at the homeless shelter. The goal is to find activities that the family enjoys and will look forward to doing together.

Flexibility is the key to being successful with family traditions in stepfamilies. When our kids were younger we had a more difficult time managing our schedule with visitation to the other households. But we always persisted in finding time to come together as a family to enjoy activities such as decorating the house, going to a light show, and attending special services at church. As our kids have gotten older, circumstances have changed and it's easier. With family traditions in place, everyone knows what to expect and works at accommodating their schedule to allow time to participate.

Traditions create bonds with family members that are strengthened every year as activities are enjoyed together. They provide a means of expressing love and laughter together, helping protect a family from brokenness and conflict. Loyalty and commitment toward one another are gained while working for a common purpose.

Family traditions can also create special memories to be cherished after family members pass on. Reminiscing of times past with loved ones can help ease the loneliness that creeps in when celebrating the holiday without that special someone. Continuing traditions already put in place provides routine and predictability to unstable emotions.

It's never too late to start family traditions. They offer a sense of belonging that can help cement relationships. Bring your family together and enjoy some new traditions this year!



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