anyone with step children full time?(15 Posts)
Me and my bf are discussing moving in together and getting married. He has his 2 children full time (mother is deceased). I have a great relationship with his children, as do my 2 DC.
I have been thinking about how my relationship with his children may change when I move in. It is all great just now because I am their "friend" and I wondered if anyone had any advice on how to tackle the change in dynamics?
Do I still leave the discipline to their dad, should I/me and bf discuss how to approach things with the children themselves, any sort of advice would be very gratefully appreciated.
Pick your battles.
This will be a big change for them so having some understanding of that will be a big plus.
Ground rules are great for everyone so discuss it as a family.
Your DP needs to support you because if he doesn't it can go wrong very quickly.
I did have a resident DSD for many years. I'd definitely have discussed discipline. I'd say as a guideline your DP should do 75% discipline but you can't just continue as friend. Because you aren't. But that change should be gradual. I'd be upfront with DP and the kids, say that there will be an adjustment, that you need to have some authority. That this isn't about replacing their mum. Ask then what good things you can do together too.
Liken it to a kid walking into a classroom. The teacher will spell out what is expected, won't be trying to be a friend. It's so much clearer then. Also get a sense of what is precious to the kids and their dad, whether it be lots of stories at bedtime, relaxed about eating, lots if TV. Even if you disagree lots of rules should stay the same. My step kids had no limits on computer games, drove me batty but its not my place to change everything. I concentrated on household cooperation - e.g. saying hello, saying thank you, not leaving a mess, not treating me like a slave, basic hygiene, manners. I didn't change their meals, cooked what they were used to, to show I was adjusting too.
This is a different relationship due to the DC mother passing away. Can i ask how long has it been? I think you have to be careful to ensure they don't have you running around doing circles but also that their mam isn't replaced. I would take it as it comes small steps. How old are the DC?
If two sets of children are going to live togther, it helps if both parents have the same views on stuff like discipline, chores and manners etc..
You can't have one rule for "mine" and another rule for "yours".
Tbh in your shoes I would let him do all the disciplining.
if they need to do homework chores etc I'd be letting their father remind them.
Obviously someone up thread sees it differently but it's just how I would do it.
I'd also do the same with your own dc.
You can't have one rule for "mine" and another rule for "yours" - I think this is absolutely key, especially if you both have DC of similar ages. I don't have my DSC full time, but we do have them a lot, and moving in together meant all of us making some compromises. It's quite hard when you've been used to being a single parent who makes all the rules unilateraly to have to impose rules on your DC that you don't completely agree with, and that'll be something both you and your DP will have to cope with, as well as the DC coping with changing house rules.
We tended where possible to relax the rules where we differed - eg there is more junk food and computer time than I would ideally like, but imposing much stricter rules than before would have been harder still.
We also worked out a lot of detail of how our existing rules and routines differed and tried to bring them as far into line as possible before we moved in.
I'm not quite sure about the quitelikely's suggest of not disciplining them - do you have full time DCS that this works with quitelikely? I can see how it might work with a DSC who just visits ocassionally - who is essentially visiting their dad and will be in his company most of the time - but with ones who are living with you it's inevitable that you'll be left in charge of them sometimes. I think you need to know you have your DP's backing to enforce house rules when this happens, or make decisions if necessary, and the DSC will need to come to understand this too. I don't think a family could work otherwise - you'd be two parallel single parents with different set of rules and a lot of resentment between your DC.
My DSS lives with us full time and his M is not on the scene. My experience has been to work towards both parenting both sets of DCs equally. At the start we agreed boundaries and shared rules and each enforced initially with our own, then moved to low level discipline with all of them and now we are 50/50. It hasn't caused any resentment, consistency is the most important thing. You and DP need to have the same rules and expectations and then the rest will fall into place.
How old are his and your DC? What genders? I have a dsd who lives with us full time as her Mum passed away when she was 6. I have two DC - DD 11 (same age as DSD) and DS 9.
We've only all been living together since August so it's still early stages, but the equal rules thing is key I think. As is deciding on compromises that you're all happy with as you try and blend your different family's ways of doing things.
I'm still working out what my exact role is with DSD! I do also think that bereaved children (obviously I only know my DSD) might have extra needs when it comes to having a Stepmum.
Thank you for your replies. The kids' mum passed away 4 years ago but her and my bf had already divorced. The children are 11 and 12.
It seems that maybe a talk between me and my bf about each of our expectations would be helpful.
Then possibly a talk with all 4 DCs... my youngest is only 4 so will probably take it in his stride but my eldest is 11 and she is very close to me. Im guessing that any problems may come from my own DD...
Do you spend a lot of time together now? And how do the children get on? How is he with your children? Do you parent the same way?
These are the things to think about before you move into together. You all really need to be on the same page, and be prepared to compromise.
Some really good advise here. Its essential you decide things from the start and he backs you up. I think its easy for blokes to feel a tad guilty and let the kids get away with things.
Mine is slightly different as we were already living together with my dd (no contact with biological Dad) when they moved in.
I tried very hard to treat them the same but at the same time make sure your own dc don't miss out (they have to suddenly share their mum). Equally with Dad and his kids.
If your children see their own Dad that could prove a minefield as they may get jealous about what you do as a family when they arent there (have to be careful of this even now when step kids are with their mum).
The main thing is work together and back each other up - talk through the differences in private and keep up the United front to the kids.
Good luck - not easy but worth it.
Thank you so much for the responses.
We do spend a lot of time together just now. As my BFs children do not have their mum in their life anymore they are very close and clingy with me (lots of hugs, fighting to sit next to me etc), my eldest finds this a bit difficult and does get jealous.
My BF and I are very clear about all children being treated the same but my eldest has privately said she would like it if I treated her just that bit better than BFs children. I know I will have to tread carefully with her.
I have a lot to think about, thank you.
I think that you will become a family of 4 children and 2 parents.
There should be no inequality at all in expectations, behaviour and discipline.
The relationships will vary a little but one child should never be more important or treated more favourably than another due to their biological parent.
You have to work together as a family and make sure that everyone has their say but you and your bf are in charge.
You need equality in how you treat them all, in house rules and expectations.
But you need to do that from a basis of feeling quite differently about your own DC and your DSC. You won't have an equal love for them at first, and possibly not ever. I think it's OK to reassure your DD that she's your very special first born child who's always look loved uniquely. But that you'll need to treat the others fairly and kindly too.
Personally I found the times when my own DC were not with us - at their dad's, was really useful to bond with the DSC without having to worry constantly about whether my DD we would get jealous about it. Over time she developed good relationships with the DSC and can now laugh at some of the things she said 5 years back when she was first getting to know the DSC and was very jealous.
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