Step Siblings At Thanksgiving-Reinvent the Menu

Have stepchildren and are trying to figure out how to blend families as Thanksgiving and the holidays arrive? Add a new facet to the ritual that makes it fun for the whole new step family. Sunset Magazine this month features having Thanksgiving dinner at the beach in Long Beach California.
If you don’t live near a warm beach make dishes that are favorites for kids of both sides of the step family. Mashed potatoes and lasagna can be accommodated at the expanded table. Setting up new rituals for stepsiblings can avoid future I Hate You stories in a step family.
Rituals are the glue and the bond of family life. They patch up disputes and give us an architecture of a year full of celebrations to mark family history. They are the touchstones for rites and family passages and keep us gathering over and over again to celebrate and observe those landmarks. Rituals also give form to every day we spend and are the counterpoints of the turning clock when the family can gather and talk, share and gossip.

Don’t just reinvent Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah through a new twist to include stepsiblings. Breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, bedtime all are ritual occasions for families to gather. To avoid sibling squabbles with younger family, start with the day-to-day passages.

Try to have regular meals where everyone is invited to sit down and share. Even if it is occasional fast food, frozen, or take-out—these daily gathering can bring siblings and new members of the family together.
Gathering for rituals occasions like Thanksgiving , holidays, or even day-to-day meals allows you to spend time together as a family and gives kids and their siblings the tools to solve problems, to negotiate and compromise and learn the skills of working together as a group so future siblings I Hate You stories are not written in the here and now whether siblings are be half, blood, or step.


About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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