As families grow, they change. When a family changes, this can result in fractured family traditions as there may be someone who doesn’t want to participate in the traditions any longer.
The sad truth is our children do grow and change. While this is ultimately a good thing, it can feel uncomfortable at times and there can also be a lot of grief involved.
Go Ahead and Have Grief
Children inevitably grow and change, and it can be sad. Allow yourself to experience the accompanying grief. Grieving these changes and/or the loss of traditions you once shared with them is completely normal and there is nothing wrong with it. However, share the grief with someone else – not your child.
When your child presents you with a new tradition try to keep an optimistic viewpoint. If they’re sharing it with you this means they want to bring you into something new which is certainly better than not sharing with you and not telling you.
If they’re making traditions, these new traditions can lead to stronger bonds. Be proud! Your child is probably a pretty healthy kid if they’re trying to strengthen their family bonds through traditions, which you taught them.
Pat yourself on the back for creating somebody who is strong enough to make their own traditions and is relational enough to do so.
Finding a Compromise
Do take the opportunity to join them in the new tradition and don’t beat them over the head with the fact that it’s not the tradition that you taught them. Instead, try to come up with a compromise.
Ask if you can bring an ingredient or part of the tradition you shared with them to the table. By asking, you’re being respectful of the new tradition they are starting with their family.
If they agree, choose a part of the tradition you’d like to include and try to come up with a compromise of blending the old tradition with the new tradition. This way you are respecting both your wish and theirs. Who knows, you might start an entirely new tradition this way.
This is also a great time to consider stepping away from traditions with your kids and letting them create their own. Consider finding a new extended family member and doing a “tradition swap.” For instance, if your tradition comes from your parents, find a cousin of your parents who you can reach out to and share traditions together. It’s possible they may have a new tradition for you as well.
Often times, kids who change the traditions in their younger years will come back to them later, and may even want to hear about the old traditions again. Or, when the grandkids are at your house, you can share the traditions with them.
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