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Do you have a Step Family? If you do, you know that Summer Vacation Scheduling can be a nightmare. As the children get older things become even more interesting. As parents of 6 children, 2 working parents, Summer can send our schedules into a tailspin quickly!
I spoke with another mother the other day, she has 3 teenage girls, and 1 boy. Funny she was facing the same struggles as I was, and they were NOT a Blended Family.
I quickly realized that at times Step Families seem to think that the things that they face are because of the divorces that occurred in their families. However, the real truth is that teenage years are not easy at all! You see your baby girl, who used to be cute, cuddly and precious in your site, make HUGE mistakes and decisions that you would never allow.
All is part of the process of growing, learning and maturing. We made mistakes too, did we not? It is really easy for us as parents to forget that we had a dirty room as a teenager at times, forgot our homework, and pouted when we did not get to go to a friend’s house.
Remember that smell that came from underneath your brothers bed? Yes, I am sure your mother hated it when he did not clean his room too!
The hard part is when the 2 biological parents are not on the same page. This opens the door for teenagers to take full opportunity of circumstances that would normally not be an issue. We have found in our home that all we can focus on and control is what goes on in our home. Once the children leave our home base, we ask God to protect them until they return.That is all we can do.
Summer Vacations are a perfect example where things can go awry. If both biological parents do not communicate, only a set schedule that is mandated by the court is followed. The calendar that is set does not take in perspective the Parents vacation schedule dates, the children’s summer activities, work schedules, baby sitters, etc. It is a set schedule to ensure that parents get time set aside to spend with their children, no matter what is going on in their lives.
If parents work together to make sure that the children’s needs are taken care of for the summer, and what is best for them, instead of their own set needs it would be so much better for the children. I have many friends who are in this situation. The set summer schedule is a guide to be used as needed. Even though this is mandated they take measures to make sure the Children’s needs are taken care of FIRST. This ensures that the children are never left alone during the summer days while the parent is at work, they have time to visit grandparents, go to VBS and youth events and see their friends. Within my friends homes, their Children are allowed to see the parents during the week if wanted and on the weekends if something fun at the other parents house is going on and they are invited. Of course the parents vacation dates can be set ahead of time, and should hold presidence over other times because this is time that is set aside for that parent to spend with his or her children. This makes summer vacation a special time and gives the kids the opportunity to look forward to for their summer. What a blessing a Summer Vacation can be for Families of Step Children instead of a bothersome time.
In the end it is all the responsibility of the Parents to make sure that is not a back and forth time for the children, making them feel that they are not loved or wanted at this time. They should never feel that “Oh I have to be at Dad’s house for 6 weeks because it is HIS time to get us!” It should be a great time to spend with your kids, bond with them and get to know them. Flexibility during this time for pop up events is KEY!
I love this article about Step Families learning to live out of the box…
“As far as the juggling act of trying to adjust to both families, they said that it has taught them to become flexible and accepting of people’s differences.It meant that all of us had to create different ways of staying connected to both families.
I guess you might say as a divorced family, it means “learning to love out of the box”.
So for many of my readers, this Summer will be a blessing, others a hassle, others just quite frankly do not know how to handle it and give up instead of trying to work out something with an Ex Spouse.
Remember, Summer is a wonderful time. If you have the luxury of taking your children on vacation…DO IT! If you can not financialy swing this, vacation at home. Create special times, remodel a child’s bedroom, play games at night. Start a special project. What ever you can make the most of these times with your children, they go by so quickly and grow up so fast!