When a family decides to split for whatever reason, embedded in their makeup are traditions they have built. They might have memories of some of the greatest times you can imagine. Someone new coming into the family might have a hard time coping, or gaining any ground of their own.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for a new family member to listen to stories of the past. Especially when those stories are connected to ongoing traditions, it’s particularly difficult for a new family member to enjoy when it’s a constant reminder that it’s something they are not a part of in any way. Sometimes, this happens unintentionally. But, the wall is still there.

To provide an example to help you relate, let’s say that a single father with one child comes into a new relationship where there is a single mother with two children. The ex-husband is a great guy who takes his kids on a skiing trip every year. The time comes this year for him to take his children on the skiing trip and suddenly, one child in the family feels out of place. Two children go on a skiing trip while one is left behind.

Of course, no one should look wrongly on the ex-husband that he didn’t take the other child as well. This particular type of situation is tough to deal with for everyone. Some people deal with it better than others and the ex-husband certainly deserves his quality time with his children. He shouldn’t be required to include another child as well.

So, what a new family can do to fill these gaps that come along with the program is create new traditions for themselves. “Feeling left out” can easily become “feeling welcome” when new moments are made and new memories are created.

A simple special meal night is easy enough. Pick a food everyone likes and choose a night that works.  Wednesday night is Taco night or Thursday night is Steak and Cheese subs. Of course, it could be a collage of foods that each particular family member likes. One child likes fish sticks and another likes chicken. They each get what they want, only switch it around. One child has to be a part of preparing the other ones dish.

Movie night can be on the same night if you want. Movie night brings the family together anyway. That day, the kids should come home and do their homework early so that everyone is ready for the movie.

Camping once a year or more is a great way to bring the family together.  You can certainly build some memories when you’re pitching a tent or parking the camper. Go fishing. Go swimming. Have night time stories and special foods like s’mores or something you design yourself. If you haven’t picked this up yet, food is a top notch secret weapon for strengthening family bonds.

The hardest thing about camping is that not everyone will be into it. Just get them out there and give it a try. Sometimes the complainer makes the greatest memories of them all.  And sometimes, they learn to love camping after all.

There can be a million and one things a family can do together from picnics to family vacations. It’s not hard to come up with something that you and your family can own together. There will always be extended family time that might leave a few of the family members feeling left out for a moment. But, coming up with some of your own pulls you back together and keeps your new family strong.

Michael Allen is the author of When You Miss Me, a children’s book for families who are experiencing the difficulties of separation. He has come to understand and value the new family definition because he has lived it himself with his daughter. When You Miss Me helps children cope with the absence of a parent, and it teaches them the magical trick of turning times they spend apart into times they spend together… http://michaelallenonline.com/whenyoumissme