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linguaphile's avatar

How did merging families with separate kids work for you?

Asked by linguaphile (14415points) July 9th, 2012

Either as house-sharers, subsequent marriages, etc, how did it work for you to merge families with kids? How did you deal with the kids’ biological parents, the ex-es, the adjustments?

For those that struggled, what would you have done differently?

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9 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I’ve never had the expereince, but, my daughter was subjected to several nut case women her dad was living with at different times during her teen years, she did not have good expereinces and noticed that as long as the women moved into her dads house it was fine, but as soon as they got a house together the women became very shrewish and controlling of my daughter.

I also have a friend right now that is having extreme issues with her current boyfriend of several years and their teenage daughters. He moved out 6 months ago due to conflicts with her 18 yr. old girl and they are attempting to see if they can work out the issues.
I think it CAN be done, but, quite frankly it’s not bed of roses and the odds of conflicts are extremely high.

cazzie's avatar

NOT AT ALL…. a special needs child was dumped on me by two uninterested parents. It was good for a long time and now… the child is 18 and the situation is horrible. I literally HATE the parents involved. They have been nasty and abusive and exceptionally neglectful.

SuperMouse's avatar

I brought three younger children to my marriage and my husband brought four grown children. It has been tough.

It was easier for him to adjust to my kids then it has been for me to adjust to his – even though my kids live with us. He is a really good teenager father and he operates as a father figure in my kids’ lives. They treat him as such and respect and mind him. He is tougher on my kids then their real father and much more gruff and more of an “alpha” male so it took them a bit to get used to his energy. They are used to it now, they trust him, and all three love their step-dad.

I had a harder time with his kids because they seem to think it is ok to be nasty to their dad and take their frustration out on him. He has always done a lot for his kids and ended up with full custody after they were removed from a very bad situation. I think because of this he has always felt over-protective and treated them with kit gloves and let them use him and treat him disrespectfully. He also cuts his kids way more slack then anyone else in the world. It frustrated me to see them get away with things no one else in the world (including me) ever could.. As time has passed they have learned to treat their father with more respect and do more for themselves so things are consistently getting better.

As for ex’s: since his kids are grown we don’t have to have anything at all to do with their mom. I have never even met her but have nothing against her and would have no reason to be anything but kind to her. My ex is not the nicest person in the world and tries to make us miserable at every turn (his latest stab at that was calling 911 and having the police rush to our house because we allegedly had seven kids living in squalor in our house). Honestly his harassment is much more about his own misery then it is about the kids and I am pretty sure it would be happening with or without kids involved.

DrBill's avatar

Having a poly house, we have 12 adults with 17 children and everyone get along fine, we let everyone know the house rules, breaking the rules means immediate and severe punishment, encourages the kids to solve their own problems peacefully.

ETpro's avatar

I had a second and brief marriage to a woman who had two girls. I had my girl with me. All were between the ages of 8 and 13. My wife was a total tyrant to my girl and hers could do no wrong. Then she ran off with a guy who worked where she did. I am sure my daughter was very, very glad to see her go.

noraasnave's avatar

My wife has a bio daughter, I have a bio son and bio daughter. We are in a blender…I mean blended and it has been hard.

My children’s birth mom left when they were 3 & 4. Then she allowed my second ex-wife to adopt them. Then I divorced my 2 ex wife a couple of years after that for infidelity. Throw in two deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan and you have my very blended children.

My wife’s daughter went to preschool one day….and while she was gone her father committed suicide with a pistol…while my wife was in the next room.

We have a ‘baby’ that is now a middle child, and an only child that is a ‘baby’ of three siblings.

We have the fragments of our left over families…all trying to be fair to some extent without the emotional energy to really love all of our children…some do really well, and some don’t even try.

The love and determination of my soul mate and I seem to be the winning factor in it all. We are determined that our kids are going to overcome their emotional development problems. By this I mean that we have had our children in counseling, they journal almost daily, we recently enrolled them in FOCUS

We have decided to disallow my bio children visiting their birth mom anymore (she has no custody rights) because she utterly spoils them for a week and sends them home rotten. We have decided to watch my parents with the children because they favor my bio daughter and exclude the other two children. We trust our children implicitly with the late-husband’s parents even thought the only one related is my wife’s bio daughter.

it sounds troubling and complex, but the good news is that we completed our second successful family meeting this last week and it went really well. The girls have a focus appointment this week.

We adults have issues too of course…I completed 12 weeks of counseling a few months ago upon receiving my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and am planning to enroll in some more counseling soon, my wife is currently going to counseling every week. We work almost daily on pushing our family uphill to where we want it to be. The imaginary place where home is a safe place where we can do more than just survive…where we can each thrive.

wundayatta's avatar

Wow! That sounds extraordinarily challenging, @noraasnave! If you tried to be more blended, I don’t see how you could be. Many layers of issues there. I wish you the best of luck!

cazzie's avatar

@noraasnave Inspiring. A big hug for you and your family.

linguaphile's avatar

A big thank you for all your replies (very belated… I’m behind, clearly)

@noraasnave Wow. I’m impressed and humbled by your journey. I wish you and your blended family nothing but the best.

I’m in the middle of blending a family— when I moved, I moved in to house-share with a guy who has a 15 year old girl, a 13 year old boy and a dog, bringing my own 20 year old son, 9 year old daughter and my 2 cats. We’re not exactly a blended family, but the dynamics are just as complicated.

So far, it’s been quite good—much better than I expected, actually. Most of us were able to connect with each other on some level. My housemate and I agreed that we wouldn’t discipline the kids that aren’t ours, but would talk to the parent first, at least until everyone’s more comfortable with each other.

My lack of frequent responses on Fluther lately has a lot to do with this situation—I’ve been focusing a lot on developing new relationships with new people.

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