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madsmom1030's avatar

For those in blended families- What are some of the biggest issues you faced and how did you as a family resolve them?

Asked by madsmom1030 (1023 points ) January 7th, 2009

Shortly I will be marrying into a blended family. I am a widow with a 5yr old daughter. My betrothed has a daughter my daughter’s age and a 9yr old son.

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15 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

Is “blended family” the new PC way to say the kids are bi-racial or the new PC way to say you’ll be step-parenting?

madsmom1030's avatar

That means I will be a parent to 3 children not 1 any longer

EmpressPixie's avatar

Thanks :) I have no advice, I was just curious.

Jack79's avatar

Well for us it was a nightmare. We had one daughter each, and both were 3. Complications with both our exes did not make things any easier, but the two main problems were jealousy (so common among children) and routine.

My daughter adores me and does not want to share me with anyone, not even for a second. I could never talk to my girlfriend (forget about the other child) and she’d always interrupt us to get my attention and make sure she’s still #1. My gf really had a problem with it after a while, and it was pretty hard for me to keep the balance.

The second problem (which also made the first one more acute) is that while hers goes to bed at 8 and even has a midday nap, mine is awake (and very active too) all the way till 10pm. Of course hers wakes up at 6 and mine at 9. Which caused some practical issues (such as quality time together, watching a DVD and of course sex).

What also did not help is that, while I can communicate with my gf’s daughter easily (and took the time to build a good relationship right from the start to the point where she calls me “daddy”) she did not manage to hit it off with mine. So in the end after a couple of months living together we decided to get separate flats and just date like normal people.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Congratulations, madsmom! Did you and norasnave meet on Fluther, or did you know each other before? Is this our first Fluther wedding?

madsmom1030's avatar

Thank-you- no we did not meet on fluther. After we met he told me about the site and thought I would be interested. So noraasnave did introduce me to the site. some of the questions and some answers to our questions have made for some very deep and interesting conversations.

noraasnave's avatar

we are getting married?? Nice, I didn’t think I had asked that question yet ;)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@noraasnave, well now you know the answer before you ask. :-)

cdwccrn's avatar

I really loved my fiancé yet as our wedding approached, I felt anxious because we were each bringing 2 children into the marriage and home. His
were older and he had fulltime custody.
It actually went very smoothly.
I never had to correct his kids beyond, ” get your room cleaned up.”.
Each kid had their issues, some more troubling than others, but none related to step parenting.
We were/are blessed.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I think what makes it sticky is when kids get thrust into the middle of conflict between households, and feel they are required to take sides. Kids crave stability, and an environment where they’re not anxious or feel they have to choose sides between parents.

Jack79's avatar

cdwccrn I think it may have helped that they were of dffferent ages. There is no competition then. The older ones will have different interests and understand the situation better.

In madsmom’s case, it is also very important to see what type of relationship the 2 5-y-old girls have. Ours love each other but can’t play together for more than 5mins before fighting. Neither wants to share her toys and all you hear is “meine!”, “diko mou!”, “moje!” and “mine!” (they speak 2 languages each which makes things even more complicated).

galileogirl's avatar

My stepmother had 3 children 13–18 and her 19 and 20 yo brothers. My Dad had 6 children ages 7–20, although I was the oldest and out of the house. She was a widow and within a year my mother had moved on and out of the picture, so the “ex” problem was minimal. The thing they worked out was each dealt with the discipline of their own children. Whatever problems they had with each other’s kids they worked out in private.

I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we all loved and respected our parents so much and knew they both had a lot of adversity before they came together that we just wanted this to work. That doesn’t mean it was all sunshine and roses. The youngest girls on both sides had serious teen issues. But they had no conflict with the step parent who never made negative comments publicly. Within 5 years 6 of the 11 had left home but most of us were “boomerangs” coming back at least once for months during transitions. My husband baby and I spent two months in a very small bedroom when our new apt wasn’t finished on time. When the guys came out of military they went home with families until they were working.

Although my Dad died in 2000 we are all close to Mom. After a serious illness in 2005 I couldn’t be alone. Not only was I taken in by my 83 yo stepmom but she advocated for me and helped me get back into my own place instead of a convelescent home.

Darwin's avatar

My husband’s first wife died so conflicting parenting styles were never a problem with our family. However, my stepson was quite a manipulator so my husband and I very quickly agreed that any money going to him would go through my husband. All I would ever do is smile and say “Let me talk to your dad about that.” If he stomped off indignantly then I knew he had already asked and either been turned down or had gotten what he wanted but had spent it on something else (he was and is a bit impulsive).

My brother’s family is the ultimate in blended families. This is the third marriage for both. My brother has three kids from wife number two, who is doing her best to completely discredit my brother and drive the kids absolutely nuts (she now also has a stepson from her live-in boyfriend). His wife has one child from husband number one (he died and so is out of the picture), one child from husband number three (who is a male version of wife number two), and a stepchild from husband number three who saw through her dad years ago and considers herself part of my brother’s family. They also are raising a granddaughter and giving house room to two boys who have problems at home. Their house also serves as a gathering place for random teenagers, boyfriends and girl friends, and college kids who need temporary parent figures.

In general everyone gets along well with two exceptions. One of my brother’s daughters hates to have the limelight on anyone else and so has caused assorted problems with almost everyone over the years, including all the kids and all the adults at all the houses. And his wife’s oldest son has a bit of a problem with impulsiveness (hence the grandchild) leading to a variety of “interesting” legal adventures and job changes.

The main reason I think is that both my brother and his wife generally accept and love all children indiscriminately, no matter their flaws or foibles, as long as they make at least some effort to keep the house from exploding due to a build up of noxious laundry and fermenting dishes, and as long as they do their school work. In addition, all discipline is performed jointly with both adults present, so no one can be accused of being unfair.

RubyReds's avatar

Me having 1 and hubby having 3 (eldest, 17 year old girl), the eldes staying with us. Cant remember that a week has past without disagreeing about the kids. Thing is, his dad has also remarried and him and his wife still ‘fight’ about my kids and your kids!!!!! I so personally believe that it wont ever stop and it doesnt get easier. At least we talk about it, and we love each other. At the end of the day its us 2 sleeping in the bed together, not the kids with us. We get over things and handle the new ones. But its not always the easiest thing to do.

ColoradoMom's avatar

Step parenting is hard. Don’t try to take over the role of mother or father, especially if the other parent is still there. Just try to be an adult who cares. It takes lots of tounge biting, and usually some nastiness on the kiddos part that isn’t true. Eventually it shakes out, takes time, and in the end your will be suprised how good of friends everyone will actually be. My step-kids acutally come to me for advice on college and employement as opposed to their bio-parents. It all shakes, just don’t force yourself on them. Kill them with kindness, that is sincere, and again bite your tounge alot.

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