Summer’s Coming…Are You Planning A Vacation with Your Blended Family?

Posted by Delaine - May 9, 2011 - Blended & Changing Families, Relationships - No Comments

Summer will soon be here and some of you who have new boyfriends/spouses may be wondering what to do about vacation time:  what works best for the kids?  What’s ‘too long’, where should expectations lie, and most importantly, how can you make create a positive and memorable experience for everyone?

Blended family expert Shirley Cress Dudley answers these questions and more in the following article:

Summer is coming and you and your new spouse are wondering what to do about a vacation…

Do you have the fantastic idea of taking your newly blended family on a three-week car ride all around the United States?

Uh Oh… maybe you haven’t thought this through.

Your spouse is asking if maybe we should just take separate vacations.

Nope!  That’s not the answer either.

Keep it Simple

So…it is really wrong to take a three-week car ride all over the United States?  No, not really.  If your blended family has been together for over a year or two, the kids are small, or you have a large recreational vehicle, then it sounds like a wonderful adventure.  But, if you’re just starting out as a new blended family, I don’t recommend it.  That’s too close quarters and a lot of patience for adults and children to have for such a long amount of time.

Keep it Fair

Taking vacations separately is not completely wrong either, just a little difficult.  When families blend in a new marriage, the kids are watching to see if everyone is going to be treated the same.  The kids may expect to receive special treatment from their biological parent, but this sort of behavior just leads to parental conflicts and a sense of instability, insecurity and uncertainty in your household.  I don’t recommend separate vacations except under certain circumstances:

·         The school breaks are different (i.e. Spring Break) and the kids are out at different times.  Take each group of kids on similar vacations, but at different times.

·         You want to take one child on a vacation, alone, to celebrate an accomplishment (i.e. graduation from High School or College.)

This is fine, but realize that the other kids are already anticipating their trip!

Keep it Short

The best vacations for a newly blended family are weekend getaways, but not more than 3-4 nights.  These are trial adventures, for your family to get to know each other.  Examples of these types of trips:

Weekend in the mountains

Weekend at the beach

Weekend at a historical city/location

3-4 night cruise

Keys to Success

You don’t always have to stay together, the entire weekend as a blended family.  But, as your children are watching, mix it up a bit.  Let older teenagers take younger children on a short outing, while the adults have some time alone.  Split up with your biological children for a couple of hours, but make sure you do similar/equal activities.  Or, husband takes the boys and wife takes the girls on separate outings.

Keep a record of the event

Take informal, candid photos of your group.  Every now and then, when things are going well, take some group shots.  When you get home, put these photos in a family album or scrapbook, and also your favorite photo on the wall or counter for all to see and remember.

Shirley Cress Dudley is a licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, and a master’s degree in Education. She has a passion for helping blended families grow strong and be successful, and her book, Blended Family Advice, has been touted as the ultimate must-read for couples contemplating or undergoing such change.
Share