We're all moving in(10 Posts)
I haven't posted really for a while on MN and not ever on this board but I wanted some advice on blending families.
DP and I are moving in together with our 2 DC (he has a DD and I have a DS) they're both 4. We've been friends since school and have been together for over a year now. We made the decision recently to start looking at somewhere for us all to live and have found somewhere perfect very quickly. Does anyone have any hard and fast advice on how to make the process as smooth as possible and what possible problems we might come across?
It could be quite a good combination, two kids who are young enough to accept both of you, and grow 'into' you as a unit, and who are the same age. You are moving into your own new house, which is great, important to have neutral territory.
If it is quick, and they are young, there may be some turbulent emotions, maybe falling out between the kids, or stark realities of any differences in your parenting, as it's such a hands on age. But that could be good, to just get it all out there?
I don't know if I"m great at advice as I've not really succeeded that well with my own lot! But I do wish I'd really talked through parenting before we moved in. Even as formal as having a list of what you'd do in different scenarios. If you did it now over wine or something, a meal together, you could thrash out some potential difficulties?
Even see a counselor just to talk openly? Meet with them every 2 weeks or month to have a safe space to just thrash out any problems that came up?
Also, it will be bumpy. You won't love his kid as much as you do your own. Does your DP realize this? False expectations can really hinder progress.
Giving your kids plenty of time to be themselves, plenty of time with their own parent one to one, don't make them feel that they have to like the other child right away - or other parent. They do have to be nice and follow rules, but allow them to feel what they feel too. If bonds are to grow, they will grow slowly and not in a forced way. I.E. Not too many 'we are such a brilliant family outings' at first, go at your kids pace, not yours.
And let them decide lots about their own bedrooms, and the house too, involve them in the painting, the colors, where their toys are kept. HOpe it goes well.
The one most important thing I would say is, sit down and really, honestly discuss how you will parent the DC. Will his DC only be there part of the time, will yours? What are both your views on how to discipline, what kind of food to you both give them, do they have similar bedtimes/routines, how much screen time are they allowed, will they have to share a bedroom, if so will they both get a say in how it's decorated? There are a million little things which, if you're not on the same page, will cause resentment, jealousy and general discord! Thrash it all out now, agree to discuss anything new that crops up, and always support each other!
Bananas we both wrote almost the same post....within a minute of each other!!!
Are both children going to be living there virtually full time?
Thank you all for responding! They'll each have their own room. My DS will be there 4 nights a week and his DD will be there 3. We've done lots of talking so far and we do have differences but diet and discipline are fairly similar. We wanted to do this because we felt ready but also so that we were settled because we're both living with family at the moment and sharing bedrooms and stuff with the DC so it's been cramped. This will allow them their own space and stuff. I've been having problems with my DS's behaviour whilst staying at my parents (lots of conflicting information and discipline) so I'm looking forward to him having his own space and a home of his own.
I wanted to go in either my eyes open to what might come up.
Bananas I searched for some blended family threads before posting this one and I think you came up on one from a few years ago. You were talking about counselling then - does it work?
....and Bananas is right, neither of you will love the other child as much as your own, and it can cause niggles. But, if you both accept this and don't treat it like a taboo subject, it can be managed!
Have you all spent plenty of time together as a foursome in a 'home' environment (either at his or yours) to get a flavour of how you all get on and where the flashpoints are? There will be flashpoints.
Yeah we've been building it over the past couple of months and the main flashpoints were the kids sharing and getting along. They do get on really well most of the time but bicker a bit like 4 year olds do. They're obviously fairly fickle at that age though! At the moment I have a closer relationship with his DD than he does with my DS but I've spent more time with them as a two. There will be niggles I'm sure and I'm prepared for that but I'm also really looking forward to it. Thank you for the advice, I will have a good chat with DP and see where we get, he's very open to this stuff so I think (hope!) we'll be OK. Someone on another thread I read said to never stop talking to each other, which I thought was good advice too.
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