Wanting advice on starting this "blending"
We are relatively early in the journey, but My partner has asked me and my daughter Cress age 5 (not using real names) to move in with him. He has 3 children - James (12), Brandon (8) and Livvy (7), who he visits once a week at the exes home and who one weekend stay one night and then the alternate weekend stay the whole weekend. My daughter has known my partner about a year now and his kids have known me and my daughter about 7-8 months.
We have done it slowly, starting off with small playdates, visits to museums etc and now we have moved on to doing more normal things like hanging out at each others watching tv etc. Because of my daughters visitation schedule with her dad (she goes to her dads for half terms etc rather than a regular schedule) it's meant that there's been times where I've seen my partners kids all weekend without my daughter etc and I feel that I've got a good, appropriate relationship with them. I've also met their mum and communicate with her about basic things to do with the kids (I refuse to get involved in parenting stuff, but I'll text her to send her pictures of the kids that have been taken etc).
We aren't planning on moving in together for another 6 months or so but I can see teething problems starting up between my daughter and his daughter. Initially they were "best friends" but the novelty seems to be wearing off. My daughter absolutely adores my partners kids, she kind of hero worships the two older boys and desperately wants my partners daughter to be as enamored with her, but Livvy isn't playing ball. Cress is naturally a very bubbly, over-the-top affectionate little girl, but slightly over sensitive and immature and Livvy is a lot more reserved and used to only giving attention and affection on her own terms. To be honest, she's pretty patient with my little girls exuberance but it's got to the point where she'll blow up and tell Cress she's had enough of her.
I've tried speaking to my daughter about how people are different and how Livvy is entitled to her own personal space but she's 5, she's just ended up hurt by the rejection. Also, I absolutely adore all my partners kids, but I've probably spent a bit of extra time with Livvy when Cress has been at her dads and there seems sometimes to be a bit of competition between them not only for my partners attention, but for mine as well. It's not enough to be a massive problem yet, but I'd like to nip it in the bud because I don't want Livvy hurt or upset either, she's a lovely little girl and I don't want any jealousy developing between them.
Especially since thinking forward to the future we will be living in a 3 bedroom house and Cress and Livvy are going to have to share a bedroom at weekends and I'm concerned that it's going to be a bit overwhelming for my daughter as an only child and I don't want Livvy to feel pushed out. At the moment my partner lives with a housemate and his kids all share one room at the weekends, but when his housemate moves out, I feel it would be more appropriate for the two younger girls to share and the two older boys to share, given the fact that James is 12.
So I guess my question is two fold.
1. How do I help two little girls quite close in age to get on better and not feel in competition with each other?
2. Is there any tips on blending a family in the next 6 months or so that will make the transition easier?
I just want to add that we haven't spoken to the kids yet properly about plans. My 5 year old is actually more switched on than the older kids and asks if me and my partner are ever moving in together and draws pictures about us "in the future when I have step brothers and a step sister" and says she loves everyone and asks questions about sharing a bedroom and I actually put her off her tangeants. While my partners kids are a little bit more clueless, if I'm honest.
With the best will in the world, you can make all the best plans and try to smooth the way but if the kids won't "play ball" you will have issues.
Fights over whose room it is, sharing space and belongings, one kid throwing the other out the room....(can you tell I'm talking from experience here?), petty squabbles and resentments over sharing everything from rooms, toys and parents.
I'd definitely look at getting you all together and you and dp laying out ground rules. Get input from the kids but make it clear you two are the adults and this is what will happen.
Don't have any experience, OP, but just want to say you sound lovely and it's great that you're thinking about these issues well in advance. I don't think you can completely avoid teething problems, but as long as all the kids feel loved and valued, they'll eventually shake down together. Good luck with it
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