Tampa, FL, November 19, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- The coming of fall signals that the holiday season is just around the corner. This can bring excitement, as well as anxiety and frustration. The stepfamily is not immune to this and often finds themselves in an overwhelming sea of scheduling, planning, and endless coordination.
There is another component of the holidays which is particularly true in stepfamilies… and that is of the handling of ‘traditions’. Families have traditions, or ways of doing things, during the holiday season. A common stepfamily scenario involves a parent and child bringing former first-family traditions into the new stepfamily, and the stepparent also bringing in his or her own traditions. If these traditions differ, conflict can most certainly occur.
What is the answer? Should one person abandon his or her traditions for the good of the stepfamily or in order to keep the peace? This would most likely result in resentment which would eventually chip away at the strength and vitality of the stepfamily unit. Instead, stepfamilies facing such a dilemma should use the following guidelines as a framework from which to find a solution:
1- Honor: Honoring the importance of other’s traditions is important. Traditions help comprise the individual as well as represent patterns of interacting with those who hold significance in one’s life. Hence, they are important and should be treated as such.
2- Prioritize: Each family member prioritizes his or her traditions, ranking them in order of importance. Questions like; which tradition is most important to me?; which tradition holds the most meaning?; and, what tradition has the least emotional significance?... will help in the creation of this list.
3 - Compromise: Using the prioritized lists as a guide, each family member will need to compromise some on his or her part.
The result of this 1-2-3 step approach is that each family member is given a voice to communicate which traditions are most important to them. It also provides a system to help each person in prioritizing their traditions from least to most important. This process ensures that significant traditions are preserved and, through some creativity, new stepfamily traditions created. It is important to remember that the stepparent does not share the same history as the biological parent and child, thus potentially making discussions about the past and long-held traditions difficult. Here, the creation of new memories is an important focus, while still acknowledging past ones.