Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Tips - #3

Stepfamily Holiday Survival Tip #3: 

Keep a holiday journal of this, and every coming, holiday gathering. This suggestion comes from a support member who said she has holiday journals that go back to her first season with her stepkids. She says that the older journals — the worst ones where everyone was either insolent or sulking — are the most valuable to her. They show how much her new family has progressed over the years.

Without some perspective, you will likely feel that you are making no progress. But you will make progress. Most every stepfamily moves through six stages of development, as described fully in our workbook, “Stepfamilies: Basic Training for Couples.”

The Dream Stage — is that magical time before you marry, when everything is perfect. {Your betrothed is, or you are, the white knight on the white stallion, coming to save the day.}

The Discovery Stage — comes just after the wedding when problems start to arise. {You realize you’re going to have to clean up after the knight (and his stallion!)}

The Decision Stage — {NOTE: this is when the stallion dies and starts to stink!} This is the point where you decide whether to stay and fight or wimp out, and run out on your promises to this family.

The Determination Stage — not for the failures, but for those tough enough to stick it out — when you first say, “We might make it.” This stage may begin as early as the third to fifth year.

The Development Stage — is reached when you begin to have more good days than bad ones. Some families reach this stage earlier, but most hit it in the fourth to sixth year. Someone says “I love you.” or “Thank you for staying.” This is not the end of all your growing pains, but you’ll know when this stage comes, and you’ll realize it was all worth while.

So, keep a journal. Record in it gifts given by and to whom, where you went, and some of the more notable things said and done. These days are valuable, don’t lose them.

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[NOTE: this is an excerpt from our guide book, Beat the Holiday Blues.]

Watch for more guidelines between now and Christmas to help you survive and enjoy holidays with your family!

You are NOT alone! We love you and we can help.

God bless your whole, wonderful family,
STEPcoach Bob Collins

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