Please welcome back Dr. Laura Petherbridge, who has for several years poured her life into teaching and ministering to families worldwide. Today we continue her post from yesterday — Conquering Holiday Hassles.
One of the main stressors for kids of divorce is not knowing which house will be “home for the holidays.” As soon as possible, make a plan. However, hold on to the reality that you cannot control the parents. If at the last minute one of them decides to withhold the kids as a weapon to hurt the other, even if the divorce papers dictate differently, you can’t fix it. Step back and let your spouse deal with the situation, which may mean going to court.
Bridging the Gap is the Goal
Slowly implementing new traditions while holding on to old ones is a good way to start. Stepmoms often want everything to be new and different than the first marriage or the first wife, but it’s unwise to throw out everything that’s familiar.
Sit down as a family and discuss what the kids enjoy and what they would like to do this year. Learn what traditions mean something significant to them and which ones they can toss. And then try one new small thing. “I know you have always had an artificial tree in the past, but would you like to get a real one this year?”
During the holidays, your family may not look a Norman Rockwell painting, but then neither does mine. To have a happier holiday, I’ve learned to: lower my expectations, treat the family with love and compassion, work on the things I can control and let go of the ones I cannot, surround myself with people I enjoy, and remember the reason for the season.
Ahhh … now where’s is that cup of eggnog?
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Laura Petherbridge is an international speaker and author of, When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’, The Smart Stepmom, 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. She has appeared at/on the Billy Graham Center, Family Talk (Dobson), Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, FamilyLife, Lifeway, and Moody Broadcasting. Laura has been a featured expert on the DivorceCare DVD series implemented in over 60,000 churches worldwide. In addition to the US, she has spoken in South Africa, Australia, and Canada. Laura and Steve live in Atlanta, Ga, and have been married for 35 years. She has two stepsons, daughters-in-law, and grandkids. She may be reached at www.TheSmartStepmom.com