Urgent Suggestions Needed! Blended Issues - Don't know if I can make it.

Malinda - posted on 08/11/2009 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Hello All!



I am engaged to a man who has custody of his two children (12 & 14) who live with us and have for a year now. My kids are 10 year old triplets. A little background info. Their mother was not around much so they did what they wanted, when they wanted. I run a much tighter ship. With triplets, I had to keep us on a routine if I was going to keep my sanity! Anyway they are still fighting the structure which showed in their grades last year. Even at one point mine started to slip into the rut but I pulled them out before it affected their grades too much. So needless to say I am a little harder on them because I am trying to instill some values, responsibilities, and morals. I even get a hard time with getting them to do chores! When I ask /tell them to do their chores, I always get "have you told your kids to do their chores?"



I love this man dearly, but I cannot continue to daily listen to the "why don't you like my kids" and "why are you so hard on them" when he knows what I am trying to do. He just thinks it's kids being kids, etc. I do allow them to be kids, but also trying to teach them at the same time. Today's kids/teenagers are so "me, myself, and I" and "I want... gimme gimme gimme." Anyone raised in my house will EARN what they get and be proud of it. I will not accept the selfish attitudes in my house. Most of us were raised this way... why are so many letting their kids act this way?



All I want are well-rounded, self-sufficient kids who are respectful, be appreciative and be happy with what they have. Not to be always wanting more. Am I asking to much?



What do I do? I am at the point I can't live with the constant wall that I face daily and close to leaving!

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Susie - posted on 08/31/2009

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I've been in your shoes and am still facing a little bit of the "you treat your kids better than us." Having a calm conversation is a good idea, but you and your man have to be on the same page about discipline, etc. He needs to have your back when it comes to his kids especially. One thing you might consider is counseling. My husband and I went to a counselor on some advice that if we dealt with communication, etc. now, we could avoid having major problems down the road. If this is the biggest problem in your family, you really are pretty lucky so far. Just remember that the kids are with you guys for a reason and you are doing the best you can for the good of the whole family. They probably won't understand that, but you can.

Melissa - posted on 08/31/2009

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I went through a similar situation. This worked for me. Maybe it will work for you. Sit your hubby down and make out a list of house rules and consequences of breaking the rules example: 1. Respect Everyone. 2. Do chores. 3. Use good words, Please, thankyou, will you...so on. Type them up and frame the rules. Find somewhere for the family to see it. Have a family meeting and explain the rules are for EVERY ONE. If they don't follow the rules there will be a consequences. There will no longer be any more " you let her get away with it, why doesn't he have to do that." I do ask that you and your hubby have to be on the same side or it will never work. Kids will play parent against parent. Good luck.

[deleted account]

I like what Meagan had to say. I come from a blended family of 13 and I have a blended family and so does one of my daughters. The first thing the kids need to know is there is no yours and mine but ours! The children need to understand that participating in chores is their way to contribute to the home just like the parents. The chart idea is good but I would go one step further. I would as the parent, sign each chore as they are done. This way, dad can take one look at the chore list and know who is not working. That saves mom from "confrontation" with dad. Compromise is absolutely nessecary for your marriage to succeed. Both of yall need to write down what you expect from the children seperatly, compare notes, and then write down what you can compromise on. It's all about communication. His children will come around as long as you have His support. If not, the marriage probably will have a lot of problems. Hope this helps

16 Comments

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Natalie - posted on 10/03/2009

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I agree with the majority of the posters here. Good advice. I like the book and cd's Bonding with Teens through Boundaries here is a lot of good information in there that will even help pre-teens and adolescents.
I have seven kids and they have all lived with us. It is a struggle still because sometimes when I need to speak with my husband and it involves one of "his" kids (even though we view them all as ours, feelings can still come up that may seem the other parent is picking on the child) we have to make sure we say that "I am not picking on them but there is a behavior issue that needs addressed, can you talk about it with me and them?" This works.
Our kids are blended adolescents and teens. They view each other as brother/sister and we have even had the school principle call and commend us on how the children are "one family" and do not even act like they are "step." This warmed our hearts...BUT it was years in coming. About 2 years it started to get easier and now at seven its even more so.
There will always be issues with the kids being kids, but it doesn't matter who gave birth to them. Be the best Mom you can e, it sounds like they really need you to hang in there.
Blessings to you and yours!

Becky - posted on 10/01/2009

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do a chore chart and post it on the fridge so they can see it in black and white and then hold everyone responsible for their chore on any given day...make sure your fiance is supportive of this, and will back you up on it. and if you pray, then pray. that is the best help.

Elaine - posted on 10/01/2009

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talk to your partner first... about what rules you both think are fair and you BOTH can uphold... like you i run a very tight ship... i have 0 tolerance for bad behavior ... and well dad is more passive way to passive... then sit with all the kids (without pointing fingers) and ask each one why... they are not wanting to following the rules and talk about what you expect from them and the rewards of following the rules... it is hard... i do know... its been 10 years for us now and we made it. we only have 2 kids left at home.... its still up and down... letting them have time alone(with their parent) they will feel like they havent lost them, and then time together as a family can help bring them together. let everyone take part of what you do,helping make it happen... i wish you well... in finding peace at your house.... talking with everyone is the best way i found and giving them time alone made them feel like i was not trying to take there dad away..so the time he spends with his kids on his own.. you then do something alone with yours. and time all together was better.... good luck Elaine

Karen - posted on 09/18/2009

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I have boy/girl twins from my first relationship who are seniors in HS and a 7 year old with my current husband. We found it worked best to create basic household rules (put your own dishes in the dishwasher, put things away when you are done, etc) and sit down as a family to come up with ways to get along better, etc. The kids also picked one or two areas where they could help out around the house (boy twin preferred outside chores, girl twin preferred inside chores, 7 YO preferred sorting laundry). That helped with some of the chaos. However (and I know this will be hard for you to hear), the biological parent should handle all discipline issues UNLESS it's a matter of safety. You have to remember that you and your fiance grew up with totally different sets of family rules, much of which we all bring to the table with our own children. If you try to make the stepchildren bend to your rules and you involve yourself with discipline, they will only resent you. If you praise the stepchildren whenever you see good behavior and leave the discipline up to your fiance, you will be surprised how their attitudes will change. We still have our problems, but I swear this helps a lot. Also, I highly recommend premarital counseling so the two of you can get a plan of action in place before you marry. I wish we had done counseling sooner than we did....it would have saved so much time and stress!

Rashida - posted on 09/14/2009

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It has to start with you and their father being on the same page. If not....it will never work.... There can't be "YOURS", "MINES"....."IT'S OURS". You are the adult, and you should not have to walk around the house on pins & needles not wanting to say anything to the children. You and your fiance need to sit and talk and come up with chores and rules for everyone, including consequenses when something is not done. Once it is agreed upon between you and him, present it to the children TOGETHER. And when the family sits down to have this convo, the 1st thing that he needs to tell them is that "you are an adult, and they will treat you as such and give you the respect you deserve" If the father does not put his foot down about them respecting you, nothing else will even matter.....

Sredvay - posted on 09/14/2009

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We have family meetings where we discuss rule or consequence changes. That way everyone knows where they stand and no one is singled out.

In any family, blended or not, both parents need to provide a united front or the children will play one against the other and it can wreck havoc on your marriage.

We had 3 and 3. I know it can be hard, but try to get one on one time with everyone. If the bio mom is not very involved and they live with you, it should be even all around. Mom to all.

From the beginning we did not allow "you're not my mom/dad" or the words "real mom/dad" (if I'm not real am I imaginary?)

They are also at a tough age as far as attitude issue without adding the other stuff. Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Stuck it out. Stick to your guns as far as respect and responsibility. Find a middle ground with everything else.

Everyone here has good suggestions.

Good luck and God bless.

Whitney - posted on 09/11/2009

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I suggest you run NOT walk.. buy the books Boundries with Kids and Boundries with Teens. Then you and hubby need to read them together and come up with a reward and penality system that is even and across the board. Then the system will take the heat or give the rewards it won't be you being the heavy. Best of luck.... we have 10 kids total.. 5 from each family that has taken 4 years of hard work, but are now successfully blended. It can happen.

Andrea - posted on 09/06/2009

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I agree with the some of the other posters that their dad needs to be the one telling them what they should do. He needs to set rules, consequences, and chores for them. A stepmom is a friend, mentor, and adviser, but it is very difficult to also be the enforcer. I love my stepchildren dearly, but I am not their mom. I demand they treat me with respect and love and I do the same for them.

Stephanie - posted on 09/04/2009

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I have this. I have 10 children ages 2 to almost 19 years old and I have on my fridge a list of 10 golden rules. Which are the most important things of both my husband and I want in our home. Then there is a list of chores and they are equally divided among the children. This works very well. And the one thing that everyone is right on about is your husband and you have to be on the same page or the kids will play the parents on each other. Also when we did our 10 golden rules we made the top 5 things things we would not tolerate then the other 5 are things like must laugh daily, must have play time, ect,. the best book out there or films and schools and churches and other parts of the communities are teaching Love and Logic get this book or get into the class. It's great and for all ages.

Cristina - posted on 08/31/2009

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Take advantage of their age -- I know what I want, I'm not a baby anymore, whatever it is... The elder is almost old enough to bag groceries at a supermarket (depends on the state), and you can get the younger primed and ready: Make them earn what they want. My 3yr old understands this. We taught him during potty training!! Give them chores, cleaning, whatever else!! If you don't need it, don't buy it. If they want it, make them earn the money to get it. Otherwise, come college (or age 30), they'll be really hurting.

Shelly - posted on 08/31/2009

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You are in a tough situation here. Especially since the other parent is not seeing eye to eye with you. It starts there. You two have to be on the same page, or there will be constant chaos, always. I know because I live this too. I am strict and expect the kids to do what they are capable of doing, and not wait on them hand and foot. I have 5 boys from a previous marriage, and 2 girls much younger with my significant other. The girls dad is too lax and laid back, and does not help with parenting. It sends such mixed signals to the kids when the parents cant agree. Stick to your guns. I agree with todays kids getting handed way too much. 4 of my sons are adults and out on their own, they cook, clean, do laundry, they do it all, and they are SO thankful that I taught them that. Their friends are slobs, and cant cook. They cant even pick up after themselves (the friends).

Teresa - posted on 08/29/2009

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With your kids being close in age to your step-kids,I'd assume that their chores are probably about the same.In my case,my teenaged step-daughters would complain that I wasn't making my two year old daughter do the chores that they were asked to do!They said it wasn't fair,and then they usually wouldn't do anything,just complain!Since they were teenagers,and also did not have the proper guidance that comes from having a mother,I tried to instill values,morals,etc... in them,too.Sorry to say,it was too late,in my case.
I am fortunate to say,my hubby knew that what I was trying to do was a good thing,and in their best interests,so he supported me 100%.But they probably saw that as him "being on my side",since I was the "enemy" in their eyes.
I especially like what Deb T. wrote.I think if we had done as she suggested,we would have had a lot less problems.

[deleted account]

Sit down and talk with your man and go over things that you think are important. You have two choices: either both of you find middle ground, or leave.



Middle ground does not mean you have to deal with your kids differently, it just means that you will have to accept what things you guys can work towards and what things to leave in the dust (obviously more towards his kids than yours)



Instead of having to remind them about chores see if you and your man can compromise a list of things that you can post up somewhere that have to be done and by who. That way there is less nag and talk back, plus if his kids are slacking off you can point out the list and explain that you will have to talk with their father about it. Leave the struggle to him to work out, if its on the list then its followed by both of you (you can always talk with your kids about why some rules are different for them and their step siblings)



I can let my kids have a yelling match since they will either give up the fight or come whine to me (though I dont get too involved) whereas we cannot let my stepson argue this way since his first instinct is to physically harm who he is fighting with. Meal time in our house comes AFTER things have been cleaned up (you can whine all you want but its going to either get cleaned up or your gonna eat a cold supper)



he expects a clean house while I could care less if my kids are mouthy as long as they get the job done that was asked of them, hes compromised on how much complaining he will listen to (he dislikes back-talk) while I compromise on the fact that I would rather things wait till later to get done if its not all that important.



Now if you guys can't compromise then its up to you if you will put up with it or decide to leave. Oh almost forgot dont try to have the compromise conversation if something else is on your mind, pick a time and place just for this conversation. Write down a list of things you will compromise on and what you wont and let him stew over it for a few days then sit down together and see what things he will and won't compromise on.

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