Step-families, or blended families are tricky business at holiday time because of rigid custody schedules, a new step-mother or step-father in the house, and many other potential land mine factors. For parents, flexibility and understanding are key, and knowing that most kids will take a good long while to warm up when meeting new step-parents or step-siblings will help ease any adult hurt feelings.
Whenever birthdays or holidays arrive, the best solution is to create a fair and guilt-free schedule for the kids – they can celebrate Thanksgiving at mom’s house and Christmas Eve at dad’s house and reverse it on other years. Mother’s Day, however, should always see the biological children with their own mother, and the same goes for Father’s day. It’s a good idea to have these important days written in to a court ordered custody schedule, or added if you haven’t done so already. The custody schedule can prevent drama if everything is spelled out, even down to the hour. Whether or not you like the schedule, it will be clear and enforceable and will relieve the kids of any guilt.
Tip for being a great step mom or great step dad: have your step kids call their biological moms and dads on all of the holidays when they are in your custody. And pick up the phone yourself and wish your step-child’s mother or father a Happy Birthday, Happy Mother’s Day or Merry Christmas. It’s the right thing to do.