Navigating life as a blended family can be complicated. There is often a mix of emotions, especially when traditions change to accommodate different family members.
While you may know that you need to use empathy when working together, it can be challenging to guide your family on the right course when it is time to make plans. Managing a blended family can often come with frustration as you learn how to make the interfamily relationships work.
Here are a few tips for supporting your blended family through making plans together.
Consider other perspectives
People tend to make their worst decisions when they are hurt or upset. Although a change in plans could seem minor to you (or other family members), for the person who is upset, their feelings are real and need to be acknowledged.
As you are talking a family member through their frustration, take a moment to consider their feelings. When you allow everyone to feel heard, they will be more comfortable understanding other members of the family.
Make plans in advance
While a spontaneous event can be thrilling for some, it can be stressful for others. Planning in advance allows you to give everyone a chance to attend a gathering or decline if they have another plan.
No room for guilt trips
Often family gatherings come with a significant amount of guilt. No one wants to disappoint other family members, and adding guilt to the equation only breeds resentment.
If someone cannot participate in an event, it is typically best to assume they want to be there but are unable to attend this one. When you assume positive intentions, the other person feels comfortable setting healthy boundaries and is more likely to attend another time.
Part of making plans with a blended family is learning to plan and respect each other’s boundaries. When you build a platform for positive intentions, you can support each other and develop your relationships.