The way we always do it in our blended family

One of the sweetest things for parents in a blended family can hear is one of their kids telling someone, This is the way we always do it at our house. And they mean you and your family. Traditions are a key part of family togetherness; here are a few simple suggestions to help establish some blended or step family traditions you can all cherish.

Blended family traditions

All families have traditions, some as simple as making pizza every Saturday night; others are more elaborate, such as an annual Fourth of July chicken barbecue for the neighborhood. Whether something silly like a secret handshake, or something as meaningful as observing special step mother and step father days, traditions define the identity of a family.  Developing blended family traditions can help reinforce step family relationships and support the connectedness you want for your family.

Creating your own way

Many blended family traditions spring up spontaneously and weave themselves into the fabric of who we are as a family. These rituals become our link to the past and an avenue to future enjoyment together as a special unit. As parents, we know that established routines simplify life. Creating rituals and traditions go a long way toward organizing your lives, and simplifying cyclic events. Kids love traditions, and parents do too, because they are something reliable, something that does not have to be reinvented every year, and something we can enjoy.

Components of a good tradition

The first component of a good tradition is that it focuses on people and what is important to them. Keep it simple and reasonable, such as giving hand-made gifts for birthdays or Christmas. Talk with your spouse about which traditions you wish to keep from your previous lives, and what new ones you want to start. Involve your kids. Children love to participate in something they have helped plan. They likely have many suggestions to offer!

The second element of a good tradition is that it be enjoyable, which is not as simple as it sounds. Many of us endured family traditions that we just did not like, such as going Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving, or cramming too many activities into one day. Dragging step kids around to visit all your combined relatives on holidays might be improved by hosting an open house, instead!

The last component is that traditions not be cast in stone. Realistically, few traditions survive completely intact over the life span of a family, and many of our most cherished rituals peter out as children outgrow them or lose interest. However, thanks to photographs, videos, and shared memories, family customs and rituals linger long after the last homemade valentine is designed. No matter how long they last, traditions make us richer for having celebrated together.

Build your blended family, and build family traditions you can all cherish for now, and for always. Nothing lasts forever, except special memories of love and family. When those special memories include your warm, stable blended family and loving step siblings and step parents, you will know you have built something beautiful. Something that will elicit: That’s how we always did it at our house!