Homes

Christmas tips for blended families

There’s no place like home at Christmas time. But with divorce no longer an uncommon occurrence, when it comes to the children, whose home will it be?

There’s no place like home at Christmas time. But with divorce no longer an uncommon occurrence, when it comes to the children, whose home will it be?

Christmas can be highly stressful for stepmums, stepdads and anyone who has to share custody of their kids. Here are some guidelines that may help:

Compromise is key

He may want his children with him over Christmas and his ex-wife may simply refuse. You may not want them because you crave time with your own kids or time alone with him. This situation is never easy, but the bottom line is you should consider what’s best for the kids. It’s unrealistic to insist everyone has to be together in your home. Try to work out arrangements well in advance.

Don’t expect too much

If your partner doesn’t have custody of the children, they’ll want to make Christmas special and pack it full of fun things to do. If the kids don’t respond with adequate enthusiasm, hurt feelings may create a bad atmosphere. Encourage your partner to call their children before they arrive and check in advance what they’d like to do.

Don’t get power crazy

If you don’t have your children often, they may regard their other parent as the disciplinarian and you as the soft touch. Many parents in this situation try to reassert their authority, but Christmas Day isn’t the time to be stern. Try to calm down and be relaxed about minor misbehaviour.

Don’t force things

Don’t crucify yourself if you don’t love your stepchildren. And don’t feel miffed if they don’t love you – after all, they’re not yours. Accept them as they are rather than comparing them to your own kids.

Avoid favouritism

Don’t let your partner’s children get away with murder in the hope it’ll make them like you, while disciplining your own. Having house rules that everyone has to follow will mean your children won’t feel put out and your stepchildren will feel as if they belong and they’re not just guests.

Don’t despair if the kids don’t get along

Christmas is an emotional time, during which differences can seem magnified. Sit the kids down and have them talk about why they’re not getting along. If the problems can’t be resolved, encourage them to amicably agree to disagree.

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