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How do you set the rules in blended family?Any advice please?

(9 Posts)
WonderingMama Sat 03-Jan-15 06:31:12

We are a fairly new blended family.I have 5yr old from previous relationship and newborn with my husband.We have been living together for 8 months along with his mum and her sister who is unwell.
I have gone through very draining court proceedings with my ex when we split,not communicating at one point about our son,him telling lies to my son,introducing new partner within two weeks of knowing her etc.
My husband's been very supportive,I was very careful in waiting to introduce him to my son and we only started living together once we got married.

My husband thinks my son is playing me and my ex and is getting everything he wants,that I give in all the time and my son is bossing me around.
I prefer to talk to my son rather and explain to him when he is out of order rather than raise the voice and shout but lately I feel I am put on spot and has to show my husband "I am tough"
I struggle because my husband works long hours and hasn't got time to built a relationship with my son and get to know him.With newborn,we are always busy around the house and I am aware my son doesn't get full attention,
He also recently makes things up or say a lie to not to get into trouble.

Last night me and my husband had argument because he said in front of our son "your mum thinks it's ok that you can damage curtains but I don't " we were in the kitchen and my son came to tell me something happened with curtains and I asked hi. Was it cat?Our cat likes to claim on them.He just nodded and then my husband caught him pulling curtains and he blatantly lied.I was trying to talk to him and explain is wrong to lie etc.and then my husband said that quote.I walked out of room and when he asked me what's worn I just said you shouldn't have said that.We ended up arguing.

My son loves him,there is no issue there,but u can't help feeling being on my toes all the time when my son is with us.

My husband never had children-he is 45.he is very relaxed and take examples if his friends about parenting but I explained to him every family,children is different.

Feeling sad about it all and wish I knew how to approach this next time.Feel like I am failing all the time sad

Do any if you are in the similar position?

Thank you

homeaway Sat 03-Jan-15 07:03:43

I think that you have to sit down and discuss with oh how you are going to parent both children. Your little boy has a lot of change in his little life so it is not surprising tgat he is playing up. You both have to be singing from the same hyme sheet or the kids will play you off against each other. You need to decide what the boundaries are.. Good luck.

WonderingMama Sat 03-Jan-15 07:23:06

Thanks homeaway,I think we have general rules but we need to take more time about disciplining and stick to it.I feel we have to be unit when it come to issues,which most of the time we are but there are times it's not easy,especially when have different parenting styles.

wheresthelight Sat 03-Jan-15 09:10:47

it is fine for partners to have different ways of disciplining a child but if your dh isn't even making an effort to bond with your son then I am bit sure that getting married was the correct action. how can you have got as far as this without discussion about the key things or him having built a relationship?

I think you need to put your child first instead of yourself and dh and star looking at why he is behaving like this! you have met married and had another kid with someone in a house where you admit your son doesn't get attention and your husband doesn't make an effort to have a relationship with him. no wonder the poor kid is like he is

PeruvianFoodLover Sat 03-Jan-15 09:13:26

My husband thinks my son is playing me and my ex and is getting everything he wants,that I give in all the time and my son is bossing me around.

Is your DH right? Sometimes a caring stepparent can see the dynamics of a relationship more objectively than the parents can.

I prefer to talk to my son rather and explain to him when he is out of order rather than raise the voice and shout but lately I feel I am put on spot and has to show my husband "I am tough"

By "tough", do you mean he expects shouting, or does he want to see you enforcing consequences? Talking to a child is important, but so are boundaries - and if the only consequence for deliberate misbehaviour, defiance and lying is your one-to-one attention, then it's not a surprise that he's continuing with the behaviour.
The trick to parenting is to "reward" positive behaviour and create a situation in which negative behaviour results in negative consequences, so that the DC is motivated to make positive choices.

There's a lot of pressure on you as a couple - newly moved in together, newly married, new baby and sharing a home with other family members. It's imperative that you make quality time for each other; the day to day niggles will be easier the stronger your relationship is. And don't expect miracles - it's generally accepted that it takes at least 5 years to "blend" a family.

WonderingMama Sat 03-Jan-15 11:08:57

Whereisthelight he has known my son for year and half(I am with DH 2 years)and I took time to introduce him.Of course he built the relationship with him as much as he could but it was sporadic initially,only at the EOW and he didn't stay over a night as I didn't want him to get confused.When we house hunted we talked to him constantly about having bigger house etc.
My husband talked to me about these things before,he felt he had to take a step back and not say anything but I want him to be involved.It doesn't help that when he is with his dad he gets away with murder and keep saying to us "but my daddy said it's okey not to have a bath and it's okey to watch DVD instead of story" these are just couple of examples.
I said that we just had a newborn baby so that obviously had an effect on not getting enough quality time with him but the suggestion I am not putting my son first is really not helpful.I came on this forum to ask for advice,if any of you had similar issues,not having judgemental comments and jumpin the boat.The whole picture of my family and situation is difficult to put in few hundreds words.

WonderingMama Sat 03-Jan-15 11:13:16


I am definitely thinking about the points you raised and yes I am aware that stepparent can see things more coherently.Definitely.

It's hard to explain about all the situations we had,my son do get rewarded and punished as well.I think sometimes my DH thinks I excuse my son,when for example explain he did this because of attention seeking.I make time to do things just us-me and my son and my DH took him out few times since newborn as well.Hard to juggle everything but we try,thanks for your points again.

wheresthelight Sat 03-Jan-15 13:38:56

I am not making any judgement I am questioning what you put in your op. you state that your dh works long hours and doesn't have time to build a relationship with your son. if he doesn't have time then it's no wonder your son is unhappy and playing up.

is dh making an effort to build a relationship with the baby? if so you may well have your answer

PeruvianFoodLover Sat 03-Jan-15 15:49:21

I think sometimes my DH thinks I excuse my son,when for example explain he did this because of attention seeking

It's a reason, but not an excuse, for poor behaviour, even in young children.

The role of the adults is to ensure that the DC has appropriate levels of attention, and is not rewarded for poor behaviour by being given attention in response.

I can understand why your DH is frustrated if your response to your DS inappropriate behaviour is to give attention (so reinforcing the behaviour), but not address the underlying reason for it.

Take, for instance, the examples you gave. Your DS damaged the curtains, and then sought your attention by telling you that they were damaged. His "consequence" was to gain your attention as you asked him if the cat had damaged them. Then, when he lost your attention again, he damaged them again, got caught by your DH and regained your attention by lying. His poor behaviour is gaining him the reward he is seeking.
His defiance about not bathing and watching a DVD instead of a book is another example - he knows that saying that will get your attention! He's five, so at school - long explainations about why he needs to bath/can't watch a DVD aren't necessary - he knows that teachers/parents/grandparents all do things differently and (presumably) he goes along with what his teacher says to do?

I appreciate that he is young, and that he has a lot going on in his life, but all the more reason to keep long explainations to a minimum and teach acceptable behaviour through positive reinforcement.

If you can recognise the indicators that suggest that your DS is seeking attention (coming to tell you about the damaged curtains, for instance) then you can react to that, and avoid situations in which he makes poor choices. I realise that may be easier said than done - but essential for your DS, particularly given the differences in parenting style between you and his Dad.

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