Choosing vacation destinations, in general, can be quite the hassle. When you have to factor in specific vacation days, flight & hotel information, not to mention reservations of any kind at the vacation site, there is a reason why you hear the adage, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” Nowadays, there is one more particular element to factor in that perhaps is the most sensitive of topics — the blended family.
It can be traumatic enough for a family to deal with the dissolution of a marriage & an end to the family you’ve come to know, but it can be even tougher to become part of someone else’s family all because your parent met another parent who has kids of their own. Though the idea of the blended family is sitcom gold because of the general mismatches & hijinks, the notion of just becoming someone’s new nuclear family member is not a simple matter.
How, then, do you pick a place for everyone to go on vacation? There are a lot feelings to take into consideration. ‘Mom and Dad’ might want to do something fun, exciting, and even a little romantic, but that may not be great for the kids. What about vacation traditions from the previous family unit? Those may be some of the things kids will attach themselves to for a sense of normalcy. The new siblings may also find it hard to spend time with each other & may even have resentment toward one another.
It is for these reasons, and many others, that family counselors agree it is important for any vacation planning to readily involve the kids. See what each one wants out of the vacation. Any activities that seem cool? Is there a type of food they’d like to try? Give the kids some ownership of the trip, and let them know they matter. At the same time, though, it’s important to maintain a sense of accountability with this ownership. You want the kids to feel at ease with all of this change, but you don’t want them to run the show.
One final key item that is an absolute must is the need to establish new traditions. Everyone in your new blended family still remembers life as it was before. While it is still important to maintain a sense of stability through those old ways, it is important to make new memories & traditions with the new family. Once again, have the kids chime in a little about what they think would be a neat idea. Maybe something like “Silly Selfie Sunday Seafood” would be a great way to break the ice & realize that what’s new isn’t such a bad thing.
For the blended family, vacation destinations hold a sense of the unknown & perhaps the unwanted. With the right approach, though, your new family may find just the right way to open their hearts to new possibilities.