Blended Family Blessings: Parenting Gracefully Through Shared HolidaysWritten by Nancy LaPointe
Happy to welcome this week's Guest Blogger Samara Ashley!
Sometimes, the simplest of holidays can cause unnecessary stress on the children in blended families.In my book, “Broken to Blended: Encouragement for Blended Families,” I have a chapter titled “The Not-So-Hallmark Holidays” which discusses the unwanted tension that comes along with holidays that should be more enjoyable. What most people experience as a fun day to spend with family is not always the case for blended families. Lack of communication and poor planning can be two of the stumbling blocks that can cause even more stress on these special days. I don’t want my kids growing up worrying about upsetting one parent or the other. I want them to be able to freely talk about and show love to each person that has a huge part in their lives. The older my children get, the more I realize how important it is for me to support their relationships with their other parents and grandparents. It wasn’t always easy. There were many times over the years where I let my selfishness get in the way and in return dampened the spirit of the occasion. I wish I could go back and have a do over and change my attitude, but since I can’t I try my best to make up for those times. I want my kids to know that it’s awesome when we show love to others. That’s exactly what Jesus wants us to do. After all, God is love and I want my children to see that Christ lives in me.
So, how do you make it work? First of all, I believe it’s important to encourage your child to celebrate their parent or step-parent. No matter your personal feelings or if there is drama in your family life, don’t let that carry over to your child. Take them to the store. Encourage them to make a card and most of all keep your conversation positive when talking to them about their family.
Last Mother’s Day, I went out of my own comfort zone and sent a personal message to my ex-husband’s wife. I felt the Lord leading me to do this, but it took some time for me to figure out what I wanted to say. After thinking about it for a bit, I got the words together and then something clicked. I live in the same shoes. I am a stepmom. I know how it feels when you put so much effort into parenting and sometimes feel like you go unnoticed or unappreciated. I felt as if I were writing exactly what I would want to hear from someone else. The words “I appreciate you” and “Thank you for all you do for the children.” Isn’t it funny how God reminds us that we are all human and in need of His love?
I wish I could say that I’m a master at this now, but I am human. I mess up daily and have to continually ask for the Lord’s strength, forgiveness, and help. Blended family life is hard, but with God all things are possible and I believe that He is working all things out for the good. My prayer today is that you will do the same. Put your personal feelings aside and for the sake of your children go out of your way to promote a healthier and happier holiday. Not only will this make your own life more enjoyable, but it will make your marriage stronger.
- Samara Ashley
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