3 Things for Step Families to Remember This Easter Weekend
As I write this article, Easter weekend is just around the corner. That means families across the globe are getting ready to celebrate in one form or another. Some prepare baskets of candy and tell their kids of a human sized bunny breaking and entering to leave them their goodies. Others are buying new attire for the kids to look their "Sunday Best" as they prepare to attend a church service to celebrate with other members of their faith community.
Sometimes, in step family life, we look toward these days that are meant to be celebrated…with dread. For us it can represent a day of relational tensions. We anticipate looking back on pictures of fake smiles that hide our disappointments.
Others experience indifference. Past experience has hardened emotions and we plan to just "gut it out"…looking forward to getting back to work on Monday.
Yet others are excited! Maybe your step family is recently formed and this marks another first in your journey. Wherever you are on your journey, here are three things to consider as your family connects this weekend.
1. Keep Your Expectations In Line
Many parents and step-parents look forward to holidays, vacations and other family oriented events with excitement and anticipation. We think that everyone will be focused on the fun and joy of the celebration and that will somehow erase any tensions we've been experiencing.
When that doesn't happen, we experience disappointment. Disappointment can create even more tension and drive us further apart. So, keep your expectations in line…this may not end up being the "perfect" family moment.
2. Mix In Some 1 on 1 Time
Research shows that "Family Time" in step families can often increase tensions rather than relieve them. Pressure is put on the various relationships within the family to get along even when we aren't really feeling it.
Setting up your day to allow for a reasonable amount of family time combined with 1 on 1 time between parents and children might be just enough to relieve some of that pressure. Think about moving to different rooms in the house to play a game or work on a puzzle. Maybe take a trip to the park to toss a ball or a Frisbee. Bring everyone together for a meal, but focus 1 on 1 at other points of the day.
This kind of approach can help every member of your step family keep tensions low. That can make the day much more peaceful and enjoyable. And don't forget about your relationship as a couple…you need 1 on 1 time too!
3. Celebrate The Little Wins
Finally, remember to celebrate the little wins along the way. Maybe a moment of laughter that everyone enjoyed. Maybe your step-child offered to help out in the kitchen for a few minutes. Maybe a hug or a "thank you" for a special gift. Or maybe this Easter all the kids were actually respectful through the whole church service!
Regardless of your experience in the journey so far, be on the lookout for the little things that go right when everyone is together.
Remember that your journey isn't over yet. If you're in a tough season, try to keep your expectations in line, focus on 1 on 1 relationships and look for the little things to celebrate along the way! Kim and I hope you have a great celebration this weekend!
QUESTION: What will you focus on to make your holiday a time to enjoy? Leave a comment below: