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How can I handle any challenges that arise from having stepchildren who are resistant to participating in family activities or traditions?

Hi everyone,

I'm Jane, a stepmother to three amazing children. My husband and I have been married for five years now, and one of the biggest challenges we face is getting all the children to participate in family activities and traditions. The older two children, who are now 10 and 12 years old, often resist joining in on our family events, and this has been a source of tension and frustration for us.

We have tried various approaches, such as making the events more engaging and interesting for the kids, including them in the planning process, and even incentivizing their participation, but nothing seems to work consistently.

I understand that blending families is a process, and it takes time for everyone to adjust to new dynamics, but I would love to hear from other step-parents who have faced similar challenges. What strategies have worked for you in getting your stepchildren to participate in family activities and traditions? I would really appreciate any advice or tips you can offer.

Thank you!

All Replies


Hi Jane,

I understand how difficult it can be to get stepchildren involved in family activities and traditions. I became a stepmom to a 6-year-old girl, two years ago, and it took us some time to establish a comfortable routine.

One thing that helped us immensely was starting small and gradually introducing new activities. Changes can be overwhelming for children, especially if they are new to your family dynamic. Start with small things like reading a book or playing a board game, and slowly work your way up to more significant family activities.

Another approach we found useful was to create a balance between family activities and solo time. It's important to respect that children may need some alone time to pursue their interests. We give our step-daughter space to do things she enjoys, like drawing or playing with her toys, and we plan accordingly to make sure she participates in some family activities throughout the week.

Lastly, we started celebrating milestones and achievements together. For example, we all went out to celebrate my step-daughter's excellent school report. This has helped us build a healthier relationship, and she looks forward to sharing such moments with us.

In conclusion, it's important to communicate and work together to build a healthy relationship with your step-children. I hope these tips help you in your journey as a stepmom.


Hi Jane,

I can relate to your situation as I am a stepmom to two teenage girls. Initially, it was a struggle to make them feel like a part of our family, but we eventually found that involving them in family activities and traditions helped.

One thing that worked for us was trying out new activities and creating memorable moments. For example, we went on a vacation to the beach, and it was a fun-filled experience that brought us all closer together. Seeing them have fun made us happy, and they were even more receptive to other family activities.

Another approach that worked for us was being patient and not forcing activities on them. We gave our girls space to express themselves and participate in activities they enjoyed. We would try and fit in our family activities to their schedules, and not the other way around.

Lastly, we created a separate space in the house that belonged to the girls. They could decorate it and make it their own. It helped them feel like a part of the family, and they were more comfortable spending time with us.

In conclusion, it's essential to communicate and understand the interests and needs of your step-children. Be patient, start small, and gradually build your activities around what they enjoy. With time and effort, you can build a healthy relationship with your step-children.


Hey Jane,

I completely understand how challenging it could be to get stepchildren involved in family activities and traditions. I became a stepmom to four children ranging from the ages of 6 to 16, and it initially took time before they started participating in family events.

What worked for us was involving them in budgeting and planning for activities. We'd plan for activities they would enjoy doing and teach them how to create a budget that balances what is essential and what's necessary. By participating in the budgeting process, it made them feel valued and gave them a sense of shared responsibility.

Another tip is to positively reinforce participation in family activities. For example, if your child participates in family game night, compliment them on their efforts in making the night a success. Younger children, especially, crave positive attention, and you want to make it evident to them that you appreciate the effort they put in.

Lastly, we found it effective to have a consistent schedule for events. For example, if family movie night is set for Friday evenings, try your best to stick to it even if someone feels like not participating. Consistency helps establish a routine, and once it becomes a natural part of family activities, participating becomes much more accessible.

In closing, give it time, and remember that blending a family takes work, patience, and a lot of team effort. Keep trying new things, and it will undoubtedly pay off sooner or later.


Hi Jane,

As a stepmom to two pre-teens, I understand the challenges you're going through. It can be quite frustrating when family activities and traditions are not well received by your step-children. However, I found that it's essential to approach things with a positive attitude.

One approach that worked for us was involving the children in cooking and food preparation. When you make food together as a family, it creates a bonding experience, and it's a lot of fun. Plus, it's an excellent opportunity for your step-children to learn valuable cooking skills.

Another tip we found effective is being adaptable and adjusting family activities to suit your children's interests. Have a conversation with them, and ask what they'd like to do with the family. You might be surprised at the ideas they come up with. Take advantage of such moments and plan an activity around their interests.

Lastly, be a role model for your step-children. Show them how important family activities are by participating in them yourself. Children learn a lot by observation, and they're more willing to participate in things they see as being fun and essential.

In conclusion, incorporating stepchildren into family activities takes patience, encouragement, and a willingness to adapt. Involve them in planning and preparation and adjust family activities according to their interests. These simple steps could be the catalyst that helps your blended family enjoy meaningful family moments together.


Hello Jane,

I totally get where you're coming from. I became a stepmom to two boys, ages 9 and 12, two years ago, and it's been pretty challenging getting them to participate in our family traditions and activities.

One thing that has helped us is making sure the activities align with their interests. For instance, my boys love playing video games, so we turned our family game nights into video game nights, and they loved it. We also involve them in choosing activities, which makes them feel included in the decision making process.

Additionally, we always make it a point to leave room for spontaneity. Sometimes the best family moments arise spontaneously- from an impromptu hide and seek game to a movie night- and it's important to let your step-children know that family activities don't always have to be planned.

Lastly, as a parent, it's important to remember that the process of blending a family takes time- sometimes more time than you anticipated. And that's okay. By being patient and consistent, we have been able to build a stronger relationship with them, and they have become more receptive to family activities and traditions.

I hope these tips help you in your journey of being a step-parent.


Hi Jane,

I was in a similar situation when I married my husband. It was a challenge to get his teenage daughter to participate in family activities and traditions. What worked for us was involving her in the planning process.

We let her choose an activity that she would like to do as a family. We took her to a paintball game and bonded as a team. That experience made her more open to doing other activities together in the future.

Also, we tried to make family traditions fun and creative. For example, for Halloween, we decorated the house as a family and then watched scary movies together while enjoying some snacks.

Finally, I think it's essential to have a conversation with your stepchildren to understand why they are reluctant to engage. They may have their own reasons, which may be entirely different from what you think. This works to create an open line of communication between you and them and strengthen the bond you share.

I hope this helps. Don't give up, keep trying new things and approaches, and things will eventually work out.


Hi Jane,

I completely understand where you're coming from. I became a stepmom to two teenagers after marrying my husband, and it was a tough transition. Both of them had their own interests, and they didn't want to be seen spending time with their "new mom" when they could be doing other things.

One thing that worked for me was creating new traditions that were unique to our blended family. For instance, we started a tradition of going to a theme park together every year, each child getting to pick one attraction they'd like to explore. It gives them a sense of autonomy while still being part of a family tradition.

Another approach we found helpful was giving our stepchildren space when they were feeling resistant or overwhelmed. It's important for stepchildren to know that they don't have to participate in every single family activity or tradition. They may want to engage on their own terms or opt-out sometimes, and that's okay.

Lastly, we found that it helped to give them time to bond with us as a step-parent, building trust and fostering communication. We made ourselves available for them to talk to and would often plan low-key outings that gave us a chance to get to know each other better.

I hope you find these tips helpful!

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