Liza Johnston, APC, NCC, MS
Both newly blended families and long-term blended families can suffer from a loss of identity as a family. Working to claim the family’s identity can go far in making children feel secure in the new family. Children benefit from belonging in a defined group with its own rituals and routines. One way to explore your new blended family’s identity and “personality” is through engaging in both play and purpose together. Children will feel more rooted in a family when they can take part in its traditions and feel proud of its unique qualities.
One family activity that is creative and can involve everyone in the crafting of a family flag. Let each family member have their own area of the flag to design. This family flag can be made from a large sheet of paper or can be fashioned from a large piece of felt. If using paper, then the only other supplies needed are drawing utensils, such as crayons or markers. To make a felt flag, the family can use paper or other pieces of cloth to glue or sew onto the flag’s sections.
Each family member can draw what he or she thinks is an important part of their family, whether it be a table to represent family meals, a dog to mark the beloved family pet, or an ornament to represent a special holiday tradition of painting ornaments. It is vital that each child and adult have roles in this process and feel that their addition is well-received by everyone. Having children describe their addition to the other family members helps each child feel heard.
By interacting together with respect, humor, and play, the family can unite around this craft project that works to highlight what makes this particular blended family special and distinctive. Building a family flag together honors the wonderful combination that makes up your blended family and models a sense of belonging for everyone involved.