It’s not unusual for a marriage to result in the blending of families. A single parent can go from quiet and calm to chaos and clutter when she marries an individual with children — and challenges — of his own. There are productive steps that the parents in a blended family can take to help avoid problems and deal with day-to-day challenges so they don’t become overwhelming or disruptive.
Maintaining Order and Peace
The parents in a blended family can have conflicting expectations of how a household should run. One parent might have lots of rules for his kids and expect them to do numerous chores, while the other might prefer a more loosely organized household. This can cause friction and misunderstandings. The parents must come together and set similar rules, guidelines and responsibilities for all children in the blended family. It’s essential for both parents to present a unified front to keep the peace among all their offspring, no matter how many there are.
Conflicting Disciplinary Styles
Parents in blended families might also have different disciplinary styles. One parent might be more tolerant of bad behavior and poor manners than the other, which can cause marital rifts between parents and resentment among the children. It’s essential that the parents try to treat all the children as fairly as possible. The parents must also decide early on in the marriage — or even before the marriage occurs — if the nonbiological parent will discipline stepkids.
Parents must not only blend families, but also their hard-earned dollars to care for a new, larger household. To avoid misunderstandings about child support, bills, savings accounts and other money issues, the parents should take the time to lay out a budget, discuss any money issues calmly and reasonably, and distribute funds as fairly as possible among all members of the household. Parental discussions should take place before any financial emergencies arise, which they likely will.
With so many different interests and outside activities, scheduling family members for meetings, soccer practice, dance class, football games, gymnastics and more at different times and places can become a nightmare. Creating a fair schedule of parental and child responsibilities to get everyone where they need to be on time and with the right equipment is workable with a little teamwork and a whole lot of communication. Keeping activity calendars, which list all upcoming family activities, where everyone can view them will go far in maintaining structure in an otherwise busy and chaotic household.
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