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Blended family questions....

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I posted this on another board, but it doesn't get much traffic, so I thought I would try here.I am really curious how others handle situations that come up with blended families.  Between DH and I we have 6 children.  I have two from my previous marriage and he has three from his previous marriages and we have one together.  The ages are 16, 12, 9, 8, 6 and 9 months.  All are boys except for the 9 year old and 9 month old.  The 16 year old is only here during holidays and for extended summer breaks, as he lives in Texas with his mother the remainder of the year, So, he doesn't really figure in much on the questions below.  The 12 and 8 year olds are here every other weekend and most holidays as they live closer.  The 9 year old girl, six year old boy are my children and are with us every day, except every Sunday evening and every other weekend that they are with their father.  The 9 month old is ours together.  We currently have the 4 kids that are here the most (12, 9, 8 and 6) on the same weekends.  So, we have all of them one weekend and none (except for DD that is ours together) of them the following weekend.  Here are my questions for those of you that have similar situations (if there is anyone!):

  • How do you handle chores?  Do you have specific chores for the kids that aren't here all the time?
  • How do you handle discipline for the kids that you only have every other weekend?  It seems like they really could care less because they know in two days they go back home. 
  • How do you keep the schedule straight?  Right now our entire life is on a Google calendar.
  • How do you handle bedtimes?  The 12 and 8 year old have no bedtime at their Mothers.  Even during school.  We have an 8:30 bedtime year round so I can keep my sanity.  
  • When the step-kids come do they come with clothes or do you have a supply at your house?  We have been buying clothes for them since their Mom sends items that have holes or do not fit or match, but we are paying through the nose for support and cannot afford to keep purchasing clothes that are outgrown when they wear them a few times.  The only bonus is that we have a 6 year old that gets hand me downs.  
Any other pointers you stepmoms and dads can give would be great!  Thanks so much!
post #2 of 3

I'm now a single mom, but I lived in a blended family situation with my dp, his daughter from his first marriage, and our two together for 7 years or so...my stepdaughter lived with us more then EOW, and we didn't have quite so many kids :), but to answer your questions as best I can...:

 

-Chores were mostly limited to keeping her room clean, helping to set the table, that kind of thing.  Chores that were easy to do/didn't need to be done when she wasn't there so it wasn't confusing for everyone else.  I tried enforcing things like changing the bathroom trash, taking out compost, other daily or weekly chores etc., but it just never really stuck.

 

-Discipline was never much of an issue-while the rules weren't exactly the same at mom and dad's, it was close enough and I think she is just naturally a pretty obedient kid who adjusted well to different expectations most of the time. Sorry! I would try to find discipline solutions that can be enacted while the kids are with you, because you're right, otherwise they might not care that much and it's not really fair to expect mom to follow through with punishments set by you guys unless that is something you have discussed and agreed on.

 

-I'm using google calendar now that the kids' dad and I have split up and I think it works very well :) I actually mostly use a big paper calendar hanging near the door, because I don't love electronic calendars and just like to jot stuff down as I remember it.

 

-We enforced bedtimes, more strictly when she was younger, but she still had a time to be in her room.  She did have her own room, which made it easier to let her stay up later than the younger kids, not sure what your situation is there.  Maybe enforce an "in your room time" and let them go to bed later if that is what they are used to? I need that quiet time at night as well, so I was never willing to have kids hanging out in the main living areas until all hours.

 

-We kept clothes for her at our house, and I expect my ex to keep clothes for our kids at his house as well.  While I'm willing to send over an extra set for now while we are getting things sorted out, I do think it is important to make the kids feel at home my stocking basic clothes and toiletries.  However, again, my stepdaughter was there more than EOW and I expect my kids will be at dads more than that too eventually, so the clothes got a lot more wear.  While sorting through dsd's old things for my dd, I did find plenty of clothes literally with the tags still on them though-yikes.  I'd try to find stuff at thrift shops, etc, and ask that bigger/less used items like winter jackets, boots, dress shoes etc. get sent back and forth (if applicable).  If they are only with you 4 days a month and the clothes stay at your house, you really only need a 3-4 outfits per kid per season.

 

Hope some of that helps!

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your reply!  The oldest boy, 16, has his own room when he is here and it is easier to make "set" chores for him while he is here since he is here for large chunks at a time.  The younger boys, I think I will try the make your beds, pick up their toys, etc.  

 

As far as discipline, that one is one that we will have to figure out a little more.  It is completely wide open at their mother's with absolutely no rules whatsoever and they are allowed to watch whatever, whenever they want.  We don't even have cable and are a completely G-rated household.  So, this one will take some time! :)

 

Great point about the used clothes as well.  I want them to be happy with the clothes when they are here, but I just can't buy new (trendy) ones every other month as they grow out of them.  

 

Very helpful! :) Thank you!

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