Put blended family drama on ice this holiday season

Don’t feel crummy! Holidays can be tough for step-families.

The calendar for the holiday season fills up fast, both with festive gatherings and all the preparations for them. It can be challenging to find time for everything — and when you’re dealing with the conflicting demands that come with today’s blended families, those challenges can seem insurmountable.

In order to make sure both you and your ex feel that time is shared fairly, you have to start with figuring out what “fair” means to everyone involved, says Katie Dunleavy, assistant professor of communication at La Salle University.

“Is ‘fairness’ about dividing holiday time equally, or are particular events more important to one parent or the other?” she asks. For instance, if one parent’s family tradition is that Christmas Eve dinner is the highlight of the holiday, he or she might be fine with not seeing the kids at all on Christmas Day. For others, dividing the day in half may feel fair.

Dunleavy stresses the importance of talking honestly with your ex about how you’re feeling. “It is likely that there will be feelings of guilt, loneliness and possibly annoyance when making decisions about spending time with family members on holidays,” she says. “Acknowledging these feelings to others won’t eliminate the problem, but it will alleviate some of the emotions attached.”

What if there is an event that both parents want to attend, like a school play or a religious service? Dunleavy says they should put aside their conflicts for the length of the event. “As the children grow up, there will be future events — graduations, weddings — that require that both parents be in same vicinity and share in the celebration.” 


MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.


Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.


Body found believed to be missing Fitchburg boy…

The body of a child found off of a highway in Sterling last week is likely that of missing Fitchburg boy Jeremiah Oliver, authorities said.


Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…


'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…


Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.


MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win


NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1


MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing


MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox


Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…


Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…


Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…


4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.