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With the increasing number of blended and second families comes a growing desire for new traditions during the holidays. New step-parents are often eager to bond with their step-children by creating new traditions as a fledgling family. This is not always an easy process, however, since the introduction of new traditions can also signal the end of old traditions established by a household which no longer exists, or has been permanently altered by circumstances out of a child's control.
One way to start new traditions during the holidays is to simply start them. As long as the new traditions are not radical departures from former family traditions, you should be able to implement some new ideas fairly easily. It could simply be a matter of hanging a new wreath over the doorway or baking decorative cookies and giving them away to neighbors. There doesn't have to be an explanation or discussion about certain new traditions, just a demonstrated interest in seeing the project through.
A step-parent or single parent with a new romantic partner may have to begin certain new traditions gradually. Children need time to adjust to blended families, so don't expect immediate acceptance of someone else's new traditions. If a child still wants to hang a favorite ornament of a deceased or divorced parent, for example, he or she should have that option along with new traditions introduced over time by a new family. When the children are ready for new traditions, they will often let new parents know in very subtle ways. A new parent may simply leave a box of ornaments out in the open and allow children to decide when it's time to let go.
Starting some new traditions may take a little negotiation between new parents and their blended families. A parent may want to ask older children if it would be okay to use a different tree-topper with sentimental value, or to spend more time at a new relative's home during the holidays. If a new parent has old family movies or photographs depicting the suggested new traditions in action, children may have an easier time accepting the changes. Creating new traditions should not be viewed as a overnight thing, but as a positive long-term way to build new connections with a new blended family.
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