any tips on blending families?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by 92025, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. 92025

    92025 Member

    (I'm the one getting married - thanks SO much for all the well-wishes!). I know this can be tricky even with easy child's so has anyone done this with a difficult child? fiancee has an 11 yo daughter; cool kid, she has a few anxiety/separation issues when her dad goes out of town, probably from her mom abandoning them, but not anything major.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I grew up in a blended family from age 11 up. (My father passed away when I was a young child.) From a kid's perspective, 2 things stick out in my mind about what helped my step-dad make this work. In no particular order, 1) parents (the married adults in the house) should discuss all issues and discuss them in private, however, the bio parent of the child at issue makes the final decision. IOW, talk about all things amongst yourselves, without involving or informing the kids of details, but if it's your bio-child, you have final say, if it's his, he has final say. 2) Have projects around that involve every member of the household and make every member (ok- motivate them) to help with them. When my mom and step-father first got married and I learned he'd have at least one of his children move in with us, it was frightening and stressful. Plus, my mom moved us to a new house in the midst of it all. It's very unstabling, no matter how happy the adultsd might be. Finding an adult to be in a kid's life doesn't replace a missing parent- it never can- there's a lot more to it than that. But like my step-father did, if you can let all kids know that noone is trying to replace someone who can't be there but instead, the adults want to offer to help but won't force it. OK- I guess I inserted that one as a third but I do think it's important to let all kids involved know that and to reinforce that. The second one was really meant to be another thing my step-father did that I thought was a great idea.....and still do.

    The adults ( my mom and he) bought an old house in order to fit us all in. It needed work done on it- it's the only way they could afford it. He told us kids that if we pitched in and helped with the work, it would save the money from hiring someone else and we could afford to go on a vacation the following summer. Now that might sound like just some way to save money and get us to work. It was much more than that- it made each of us feel like we had a part in that house, it belonged to each of us equally, after we invested "work" in it, and we all wanted to take care of it because we had an investment in it. Plus, we got the vacation- at first motivated by our individual desires but it unified us as a family.

    I'm not suggesting you go buy a house and move if you don't need to; I'm suggesting you find a way to unify everyone and help everyone feel like they have an equal stake in it and that they can work together to get something individually and as a "new family". No one is singled out as "the bad one" or "the good one"- it's a unified family.

    Just passing on what I think worked when my step-father "joined" my family.....
  3. 92025

    92025 Member

    thank you so much cd! We are actually going to be moving as well at the same time. I need to get my son out of a condo and into a house so he can build skateboard ramps, get away from bad kids in the hood, etc so I was moving anyway. I've also heard that it's good to get a new house together so one "side" doesn't feel that they're intruding or being intruded on
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you- but here's the cincher.....if one of you make a decision for your bio-child (or regarding your bio-child) after discussing it but the other doesn't agree with that decision, you can't get mad at the child or take it out on them. Sorry-it's off the table. If one of the people think it's a horrible decision, it's a marrital issue- not a child complaint. This is just my opinion based on my experience but I tend to see a lot of problems in families where they don't do this. And it's the child that suffers when that happens.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I hesitate to share "tips" because we didn't exactly blend like the Brady Bunch. husband moved into my home after we were married and then we bought "our" first home before our lst anniverary. Although husband's children were always welcome and did spend Sundays thru dinner with us each week we weren't a 24/7 blended family as they lived in their childhood home (yes, husband voluntarily signed it over to his Ex so his children wouldn't have to move..sigh).

    So these are some things that worked. We did not share discipline. I stayed in charge of mine and he stayed in charge of his. Of course, we discussed and shared if the issues were important but it worked out well keeping the same structure as before the wedding. We did share a beach resort vacation week the first summer in hopes the kids would bond more. We bit our tongues and never said a bad word about the "other" parents.

    Some things that didn't work so well? Well we didn't expect the young teens to think about our private moments. My easy child son was 14 and his imagination got to him and he called husband Mister X for eighteen months...and politely avoided him as much as possible. Believe me there was no outward displays of intimacy. The kids were just at that age. Sigh. Didn't expect that curve. Also didn't expect husband's oldest daughter to be a stealth PIA, lol. She acted like I had stolen her Dad from her Mom. Uh...not. Her Mom kicked her Dad out of the house six years before I met him. She was 17 and I never saw that coming, either. Holiday celebrations can be a strain. If Santa has always come at midnight......eight AM isn't going to seem like Christmas. If everyone grabs and rips open presents when they want to, lol, it is not going to blend well with the "we take turns" family. Silly things can and will pop up and catch you off guard.

    I'm happy for you. Fingers crossed that the future is happy for your whole family. DDD