Nov 27, 2018
Brian Mayer talks about how kids come to know they and their family
are special by the small traditions that are developed over
time. Often in a new stepfamily, new traditions are either
sometimes not developed or they are met with criticism by the
child. We will talk today about that difficulty and what to
do about it. We hope you are inspired by today’s
message. For more information and additional resources please
visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- When we get older we often think back to the special little
moments in our lives growing up. The moments that are often
the most special are the ones that are repeated often. In
addition they are often the ones that are the simplest.
- What are traditions? The dictionary describes it as “the
transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to
generation.” When you put it that way we can now see the
importance of this issue in families.
- There is a problem with traditions though when the nuclear
family gets dissolved through divorce. Often these traditions
are either stopped completely, or continue different sometimes
through one parent only. This can be very disruptive to
children for sure. Especially when the traditions are changed
it can even create some animosity toward the parent not involved in
the tradition any longer and even worse the new parent that comes
into the new situation.
- Developing new traditions are important. Unfortunately we
as stepparents will often not engage in anything new or stop
something when we meet resistance from the child. There is no
doubt this is difficult and we can often justify shutting something
down, but we should try to push through this resistance.
- I have some fond memories of small traditions that were built
by my parents after the divorce I went through as a child.
For one my father often when he picked me up on Fridays to go to
his house for the weekend, would do something special that I still
remember to this day. Back then, packs of Star Wars or
Baseball cards were something like 25 cents a pack. He would
buy me 4 at a time, and I think he may have given me the dollar to
pay for the cards with the clerk. I remember spending lots of
time looking through the cards, sorting them, reading through the
information and especially learning the baseball statistics on the
- Some parents might say this is spoiling a child in that they
come to expect something everytime something happens.
However, as in the example above it does not have to be anything
that extravagant. In fact it doesn’t necessarily have to be
anything that really costs money or something that is a material
- I remember another tradition that involved Christmas and this
one was with my Dad and Stepmom as well. Around Christmas
time after the Christmas tree was put up, decorated and lit up, my
stepbrothers and I would ask to sleep out in front of it for at
least one night during the Christmas season. It was such a
joy to wake up in the middle of the night to see the warm glow of
lights. Forty years later this is still such a special
memory. In fact this was one that I carried on with my own
daughter as she grew up.
- What kind of traditions are you building in your
stepfamily? Is there a fear in starting something? Have
you started something only to have it be met with lots of
criticism. If it helps, I grew up as I have said in the homes
of divorced parents and to be sure I am sure I verbally criticized
and mentally critized lots of things that were done in both
families. However looking back those things I criticized were
actually things I grew to love and appreciate as I got
- Ever heard the verse Proverbs 22:6 which says “Train up a child
in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart
from it.” You can of course apply this to lots of things like
discipline but I think you can also apply it to traditions.
The key part of this verse is “when he is old.” This means
that it is possible and probably liking that your child will reject
what you are doing for a time but eventually they will come back to
it and do this with their own children. So again the message
is do something for your stepkids in light of a longer term
- Here are some ideas for traditions:
- Develop something around leaving and coming back together such
as the cards idea. I always remember having waffles as the
morning breakfast when I would leave my father’s house on Monday
mornings. Develop something for the kids that they can come
to expect and enjoy during this transition time.
- Around the dinner table, ask everyone to talk about 3 things –
what is something that happened that day, what is one thing they
fear coming up, and what is one thing they are looking forward
to. This will help them know that you are encouraging and
listening and not just their to correct and discipline.
- One day a week allow your child to wear clothes that don’t
match. This will be tough for those of you that are somewhat
obsessive compulsive and have some anxiety about the desire to
control how the kids are viewed. To be sure some people will
wonder what is going on, but you can tell your kids to let people
know that one day a week they can decide. Of course when kids
get older they will begin to make their own choices but this will
help the younger kids.
- For the older kids especially the ones that can drive, maybe
allowing them to drive the family to dinner out every Friday night
could be something fun that they will always remember.
- These are just a few examples of some traditions. Take
these ideas and morph them into your own or maybe go in a
completely different direction. You get the idea!
- Don’t forget to join the Facebook group by going to the show
notes and sharing your new traditions and how they are going and
Thanks For Listening!
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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it
is something you do. Talk to you next week unless you are
binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in
about a minute! Take care.