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Evil Stepmom


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Articles & Interviews
Honoring the Old vs. Creating the New: Questions about (step)Family Traditions

Creating new traditions and honoring old beloved ones is the joyful part of becoming a new stepfamily. This month Evil Stepmom looks at family holidays and celebrations with an eye toward helping parents and stepparents figure out how to preserve valued traditions for the generations to come, while creating ways of celebrating that represent the family as it is today.

Make no mistake, managing the tension between keeping things the same and flexing to give them new life is not easy. But with the new stepfamily comes an opportunity to help young adults learn how to honor and re-vitalize family traditions as they move toward forming their own families.

Remarried parents and stepparents can benefit from considering several important questions as they decide what traditions to keep and which will need to be changed to reflect the new realities of the family:

  • What are the family’s longstanding rituals and traditions? Which of them are important to continue for now, as the kids transition to adulthood? Which seem as though they will be important to carry on for a long time?
  • What new forms of celebration will best express this new stepfamily? How well do these new ways of celebrating meet the current needs of the young adults in the family?
  • How can parents and stepparents stay flexible from year to year to accommodate all of the changes that come with young adulthood, while not over-accommodating? 
  • How will holidays be spent if parents are both living, but divorced?
  • How will kids keep in contact with their other parent's family at the holidays if that parent is deceased?
  • What milestones and events belong to the couple versus the couple and the adult kids?
  • What occasions might include the former spouse and former in-laws? How will the family manage the emotional impact of these potentially anxious situations?

Crazy things happen in families around holidays and celebrations. But, with some planning and forethought, it can be a fun time with plenty of stories that will become stepfamily memories for everyone.

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