Probably one of the more notable challenges of living in a blended family is adjusting to the various lifestyles and attitudes each of us bring to the newly formed group. The kids were old enough, when their biological mother left, to remember some differences between her style (everything from clothing to discipline to attitude) and mine. Dave had been a single dad for almost two years and was very independent about everything.  His kids had been, from my perspective, somewhat coddled in the inevitable guilt that follows divorce.

While our differences were probably what made our relationship and marriage so much more successful than the first marriages we each had ended, it also challenged us (and continues to challenge us occasionally, even as the kids are now adults) to some degree particularly with how to handle child-rearing and parenting issues.

This is an excerpt from Shadra’ s book, Stories From a StepMom, available on Amazon Kindle. Read more or request a review copy.

 

6 thoughts on “Adjusting to Life in a Blended Family

  1. “We try not to be so competitive with each other that we feel threatened or feel like a lesser parent by asking for one another’s input or advice.”

    Such wise words :-) It’s so easy to feel vulnerable and then defend “my way” and it leaves the other feeling hurt. Instead of going to the other for help or advice.

  2. HI,
    Blending differences into a family dynamic takes a lot of love and a lot of surrendering.

    I am not a stepmother, I am a grand mother of 3 beautiful kids born from a mixed race couple. I look after them and I understand the demands, expectations and skills needed to honour my own values and traditions but not at the expense of others. Not easy when one thinks one is right. These days I accept that though my standards are right for me, they are not the only standards. It is indeed colourfully challenging!

    1. Bec,

      What great perspective you must have!
      Thanks for sharing. It is definitely a journey, learning to understand and accept each person’s differences.

      Shadra

  3. I have been with my partner for four years. When we met my son was 10 and they got along so well, we have since moved in together and had a daughter of our own whom is now 2. My problem is my son had troubles at his dads and we use to have a week on week off parenting plan. My partner extended out and said to my son that he is welcome to stay here as many extra days as he needs. Well that was until the other night when out of the blue my partner says it has to go back week on week off as he can no longer tolerate my sons disrespect. But my son is 14 and all he does is forgets to do his chores and forgets to greet people when he comes home from school and leaves for school. I believe I am abandoning my child if I allow this punishment to stand. But my partner is wanting to enforce it. I don’t know what two. I don’t want to lose my son or have him feel he has no safe place. But I also don’t want to lose my family please help me.

    1. Amanda,

      I am so sorry you are going through this. Your child has to be your priority, as he cannot fend for himself. However, if he is being disrespectful, rather than your partner issue an ultimatum, perhaps you all can sit down and try to work through the issue together – if not alone, then with the help of a family counselor. At 14, your son should be a part of the discussion and a part of the solution – but so should your husband. I suspect your husband is simply frustrated and feels as if he has no control over the situation.

      1. Acknowledge your husband’s frustration and let him know you’re glad he said something to you about how bad things have been
      2. Let your husband know that you do not want things to continue as they are, but that you’d like to be able to talk about what you, as a couple, can do to make things different.
      3. Sit down with your son (with or without your husband) and let him know that it is not acceptable for him to be disrespectful. Remove privileges from him if he chooses not to do chores and maintain his responsibilities. (Cell phone? Time out with friends? Video games?)
      4. All of you sit down together and try to work things out.
      5. Be sure to listen to your son’s side of things too.

      I’m not a family counselor, but these are some of the steps we’ve taken in our own family when there have been issues.

      I’m happy to help more – email me at shadra@momsgetreal.com

      Take care!!

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