The holidays can be a very stressful time for everyone, however the holiday period isn’t inherently stressful but our perceptions are.
The idea of a happy, traditional nuclear family sitting around the dinner table engaged in pleasant conversation dominates our perception of what Christmas should be like. This image however, couldn’t be further from the reality for modern families.
More people have complex family structures, such as the sandwich generation and blended or step families.
Raising a child while simultaneously caring for a parent(s) can be stressful at any time, but during the holidays with several school plays to attend, possibly church programmes to attend, a full-time job which may also have festive functions, you may find yourself feeling pulled in too many directions.
You may not have the will or the energy to celebrate, or even question what it is you have to celebrate.
The most important thing to be aware of is that blended or step families have a single thing in common, they have formed due to some form of loss – either death, divorce or separation. Family traditions often clash within blended families; traditions that are deep rooted in religion, identities and childhood and therefore are emotionally charged and lead to increased tension when intruded upon.
It can be really hard to remember but, new family structures can open up new experiences. It often doesn’t occur to people that there is help out there that can make things easier, we have long experience of helping families to mourn, restructure and recover.