Yesterday I talked about step grandparents on the holidays. But what about stepsiblings on the holidays?
Stepsiblings are blended together through remarriage not blood. It’s usually a gory blend. The result is one blood child, now known as a stepsibling, is mashed and sometimes pounded into to another blood child’s life. One of the toughest parts of the Mixmaster–aka the blended family–is getting the blood children to accept living together as step brothers and sisters. Awful things happen like one child taking half of the other stepsibling’s room. Disaster follows that can last for decades.
Stepparents, caught in the euphoria of their own new romance, many times blindly, leave the next step of their relationship (step-parenting) out of their parental minds.
The big question is how will their unrelated blood children love or even tolerate each other–let alone share half a room and half a holiday.
Ridiculous sitcom “Brady Bunch” hopes are usually dashed in the first few days of step-siblings getting to know one another. Step kids don’t feel comfortable enough to express their disagreements and conflicts with one another. Or in another scenario, they may just freeze up, not talk. In the worst case, act out in some awful, even catastrophic way.
What ‘s an answer for stepchildren during the holidays? One can be to create a new family ritual.Grandparents can help with this. A Dad commenting on the Newton massacre suggested continuing Christmas or holiday rituals in every family in Newtown as a small healing process .The glue that holds families together whether devastated, happy or thrown together in divorce and remarriage are rituals.
So with a stepfamily and stepchildren ,create a new ritual. Rituals patch up disputes and give us the architecture of a year full of celebrations to mark family history.
They are the touchstones for rites and family passages and keep us gathering over and over again to celebrate and observe those landmarks. Rituals also give form to every day we spend and are the counterpoints of the turning clock when the family can gather and talk, share and gossip. So take a small step towards healing a family of divorce and create a system of rites that you repeat every holiday. Here is a list 50 family rituals for Christmas if you need some ideas.