Stepchildren: watch out for those first-holiday landmines

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Stepchildren: watch out for those first-holiday landmines

These trips with a partner’s children can be fraught and have far-reaching consequences, so plan carefully

Xenia Taliotis

When Cliff Richard sang Summer Holiday he had clearly never been away with a new partner and their children: “No more worries for me and you”? A first holiday together can be like badly packed baggage, crammed with emotions ready to burst out, plus fears about whether you’ll get on, and finding your place in the family.

So talk about the trip before you go. Prof Lisa Doodson, a psychologist and founder of the Happy Steps support centre for step-parents, says: “It can take years before a stepfamily settles down and begins to function properly, so going away together too soon can be enormously challenging.

“At the very least, the couple should have an honest discussion about expectations. Does the parent expect the partner to play an active part in parenting the kids? Is the partner happy with this? Defining roles is complicated, but even a rough framework is better than none at all.”..

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