Celebrated in the United States since 1997, National Stepfamily Day is an unofficial holiday that aims to promote the understanding and celebration of stepfamilies and blended families. Stepfamilies have dealt with negative stereotypes for countless years. Popular representations are often woven with tensions stemming from jealousy and mistrust. While stories including blended families frequently rely on representing them as broken or ill-equipped to navigate family life, families have overcome these representations with a strength that disproves these outdated stereotypes. Because blended families still find themselves fighting this stigma, however, some families are choosing to celebrate their strength annually. Blending two families takes hard work, patience, and trust, so taking the time to appreciate the progress you and your partner have made in creating a new family unit is probably long overdue. While you don’t necessarily have to celebrate on September 16th, here are a few reasons why you should consider officially celebrating your blended family.
Why should we celebrate blended families?
It may feel strange to celebrate your blended family when other family structures don’t have specific holidays. If your blended family is new and still working through the unavoidable growing pains, you may worry that a celebration of this nature may feel forced. Consider these points for why your family should celebrate National Stepfamily Day:
- Celebrating is a reset: If your family is struggling with coming together, over big issues or small conflicts, taking time out of an otherwise normal week (even amidst the chaos of going back to school) can help your family to restructure their thoughts about blending together. Mindset can control outcomes, so taking the time to appreciate all aspects of your family can help each member reboot their thinking.
- Celebrating is a chance to talk: If you’re more worried about forcing a happy-go-lucky attitude on your changing family, take National Stepfamily Day as a chance for a family heart-to-heart. Having a family meeting, or having parents meet individually with their children, can give you the much-needed chance to reconnect with your family. Ask what your children are thinking about their new family structure and really listen to what they have to say. Conversations that may not have happened without prompting can provide new insights into your family’s anatomy.
- Celebrating fights stigma: Even if your blended family isn’t currently experiencing any underlying conflict, it’s possible your children or even your partner are feeling the negativity seep in from external sources. None of us are completely impervious to negativity from other people or outside influences. Celebration can chase away the shadows of doubt that some of your family members may be subconsciously fighting.
- Celebrate loud and proud: More and more people are coming to realise and celebrate the fact that there is more than one type of family. Celebrating your own blended family can fight the stigma that has dogged stepfamilies and other unsung family structures for years, changing the public’s perception of what families look like.
What could a celebration like this mean for your family? Maybe you already celebrate your family’s unique composition daily, showing appreciation for the amazing ways in which you’ve all come together. Nevertheless, an explicit celebration for the family structure that brings you joy, that has gifted you with all of the bonus family members you’ve come to love, could be exactly what your family needs. Whether you celebrate on September 16th or choose another day entirely, we hope you get a chance to take some time to rejoice in the family you and your partner have made. And we would love to hear how your family ends up celebrating, so after the festivities are done, be sure to come share with us on our Facebook page.