In Blended Families Holiday Planning Should Focus On Children

Diane Sasser, Purvis, Trace  |  12/2/2006 3:59:08 AM

News You Can Use Distributed 12/01/06

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can cause stress for people trying to please family and friends, even under the best circumstances, says LSU AgCenter family life specialist Dr. Diane Sasser.

Even more, holiday stress can be particularly difficult to manage when it occurs within "blended" families, or families in which one or both parents have children from former relationships, the LSU AgCenter expert says.

"A blended family may be small, consisting of an adult couple and one child, or larger, perhaps consisting of hers, his and their children," Sasser explains. "Custody arrangements can result in the parents building a family around full-time, shared or weekend step-parenting."

With whom do your children spend the holidays? What if you and your children’s other parent are in constant conflict? How do you make these decisions? Regardless of how hard you try, not all the relatives will be pleased. The best solution is to put the needs of the children first, experts say.

Noted author Sally Houtman suggests, "Do that which you will not regret." Step out of your comfort zone and do what you think is right. This requires a view of the situation unclouded by any resentment of your "ex." Putting aside anger is difficult, but considering what is right for the children should make it a little more palatable. If your emotions get the better of you, your children may suffer. There is no need to put your children in the middle of the problems between two adults.

While it is possible to extend kindness toward someone you dislike, you also do not want to include those who may behave inappropriately. When making your decisions, consider any negative aspects and base your choice on whether the children will benefit from the involvement of your former spouse. Weigh the positives and negatives and do what is best for them. You’ll be glad you did.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com/
Contact: Diane Sasser at (225) 578-4448, or dsasser@agcenter.lsu.edu

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