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Old 02-05-2014, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Help! I have a 12-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. My fiance has 3 daughters (ages 15, 13, and 9) and a son (12). My fiance is planning on moving in April 1st. He has his children every other weekend from Friday till Sunday. My daughter and son grew up in this 4-bedroom house and each has their own room. The plan is to have my BF's two oldest sleep in the spare bedroom and have his youngest daughter sleep in with my daughter. The boys will stay in my son's room. My daughter is having a very hard time with the idea of this. She's always had her own space... I guess there are some ownership/princess issues going on. I want to be sensitive to how this change is hard for her, but I can't give in to her selfishness. My BF's children need to feel like this is their home when they are with their father. In his current housing situation, his girls all sleep in one big room together. My BF is insisting that my daughter be more welcoming and accepting, but she's just not there. This is a HUGE source of stress for all of us and I don't know what to do. I do not want my BF's kids to feel like visitors whenever they're here, but at the same time, they have their own spaces at their mother's house and do not have to have their space "invaded" every two weeks like my daughter and son will experience. But would giving my daughter her own room be seen as favoritism? We have plans to buy another house in 6 months to a year, but there are no guarantees that this house will have more than 4 bedrooms... and then we're back to the same situation. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 02-05-2014, 10:21 AM
 
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Does your daughter have a preference for any of his girls, or they for her? Does it have to be the 9 year old that rooms with her? Everyone has to share a room anywyas, maybe if it was the 15 or 13 year old who was going to be sharing with her, she'd accept it more readily. I could see part of the resistance being because she's getting stuck with 'the baby' instead of being associated with the older girls.


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Old 02-05-2014, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That could be part of the problem... but I really think it's the fact that she has to share at all that is the issue for her. She's never had to share her stuff/space before. She's starting with the whole, "I never asked for any of this!" and "Why does he have to have four kids!" arguments. I've been trying to validate her feelings without promising her things I can't deliver on. I am both frustrated by her attitude, but saddened that she's hurting and angry. So much going forward is going to be make or break depending on how our kids gel. So far, his kids and my son seem to be handling it well... my daughter is the only hold out. I think that my fiancé is starting to think that I'm bowing to a spoiled brat when there are 7 other people involved in this. I think it's just that I can't help but want to make my daughter okay with everything.

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Old 02-05-2014, 12:09 PM
 
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You don't have a playroom or other area that could be worked into bedroom space?
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not really. And then somebody still gets special treatment if they get their own room. If my daughter lives here 100% of the time and his kids come only every other weekend, is it wrong for her to have her own space? I just want to do what's fair for everyone.

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Old 02-05-2014, 12:35 PM
 
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It sounds so hard to figure out. I would have problems sorting that out too. In my mind someone there all the time is going to have more stuff etc, and the other kids have their own bedrooms at home. But in order for them to feel equally valued they might need more. I am sure some families in the same situation will chime in. I have no personal experience.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:13 AM
 
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And then somebody still gets special treatment if they get their own room. ... I just want to do what's fair for everyone.

 

I'm not parenting in a blended family, but I saw this on the new threads and wanted to comment. One of my parenting philosophies (actually, life philosophies) is:

Fair doesn't mean that everyone gets the same thing. Fair means everyone has their needs met.

 

So, I would encourage you think outside of whether everyone has the same thing and think about what each of your six children needs. Perhaps your 12 year old daughter has a need for her own space that is different than what your other children need? Perhaps some of your children prefer the companionship of a roommate? I would take the concept of "special treatment" out of the conversation; meeting needs is not special treatment.

 

I would also encourage you to talk with your fiance about how you think and talk about your children. Your fiance may not be happy with your daughter's behavior, but labeling her a "spoiled brat" (even just in thoughts) is disrespectful. If you fiance can articulate what behavior he doesn't like, you can likely have a far more productive conversation about how you together want to address the behavior and your daughter is more likely to be responsive if you address a specific behavior or set of behaviors.


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Old 02-06-2014, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your response, HHM. I like your philosophy very much and it will be a helpful outlook to adopt as the parents of six kids! I need to talk with my fiance about this some more. It's a very sensitive issue for him... he'd like to have his children more than he does, so to have them feel that his home is as much theirs as their mother's, even in the limited time he has them, is very important to him. I can understand his perspective that if his three girls come to the house on the weekend and have to share a room while my daughter gets her own space, there might be some grumbling. On the other hand, I think that if it were explained to them that since they're with their mom most of the time, that's sort of the scenario where they have all of their space and stuff, and that my daughter needs that, too, they might understand. I just hope we can get somewhere with this... it has been non-stop arguing lately.

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Old 02-06-2014, 12:00 PM
 
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It could also be something you seek to improve after your move too. It might help him knowing that you will look for something to better handle 6 kids in the upcoming move. Plus your kids would handle new arrangements better than giving up space that has always been only theirs.
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:53 PM
 
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That is a tricky situation.  When I lived with my ex, we had a 3-bedroom house and 3 kids (our two together + dsd from his first marriage).  Dsd always had her own room, even though she was only there 30% of the time.  I struggled with this at first, because it wasn't really "fair."  But, in the end, I do think it was the right thing to do-she is 6 years older than dd, and needed her own space.  So sometimes doing the thing that seems to make the most sense on paper (i.e. our two kids having their own rooms and dsd bunking with dd when she came over) don't work out the best in reality. 

 

Are your bf's 3 girls opposed to continuing to share a room, or is it your bf who is concerned that they will feel unwelcome if asked to do so?  If they truly want or need more space, then yes, your daughter might have to find a way to share her room, which will be hard.  Is there a way to separate her room with a screen or curtain so she could still have space to herself that was off limits to whomever shares with her? Does she get along well with the 13-year-old? That would seem like the natural choice for room sharing since they are the closest in age and perhaps might share more interests.  Or perhaps you could relax the rules about maybe watching a movie in her room with headphones on when her step-sisters are there so she can still get some privacy, etc.  I would also suggest that they each have space for their own things-i.e. separate dressers, desks, etc. if possible-I'm not sure how large the room is! 

 

Good luck!


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Old 02-07-2014, 02:09 PM
 
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On the other hand, I think that if it were explained to them that since they're with their mom most of the time, that's sort of the scenario where they have all of their space and stuff, and that my daughter needs that, too, they might understand.

Wouldn't your daughter have that, though, during the time that your step kids are with their mom? It sounds to me like, every 2 weeks, all the kids will have their own space for 11 days and then share for 3 days, is that right?

I understand the perspective of "fair" not always meaning "equal" -- I'm a fan of that philosophy from the Faber/Mazlish books. I think in this scenario, however, when you're in the initial stages of blending families, maybe it's better to err on the "everyone is equal" side, and then over time as varying needs become apparent, adjustments can be made.

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Old 02-07-2014, 03:37 PM
 
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Personally, I would see what your husbands girls want. Would they like the three of them to share a room? They would be able to have their own room, set up with all of their stuff, so it is "theirs". They may be more comfy with that than sharing with your dd.


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Old 02-08-2014, 04:05 PM
 
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Personally, I would see what your husbands girls want. Would they like the three of them to share a room? They would be able to have their own room, set up with all of their stuff, so it is "theirs". They may be more comfy with that than sharing with your dd.

 

Depending on the size of the bedrooms, i think this might be the most obvious solution. The three girls share a room so that their stuff stays untouched when they arent there, they can close the door or whatever. Whereas if one of the girls shares with your daughter, she's basically going to have to have half of her room go unused much of the time OR the other girl will need to deal with "her half" of the room being used when she's not there. Seems easier to avoid all that by having a totally sep. room for all three girls that is totally "theirs." You might need to get creative with the beds for three kids, maybe a trundle under bunks or something. 

 

Does your daughter just not want to share at all or not want to share with the youngest? Maybe sitting down with all the kids to get their input? they may come up with a solution you havent thought of. 


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Old 02-10-2014, 12:53 PM
 
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I agree with some of the others who suggested talking to the three girls and getting an idea of what they would like. They may be perfectly fine with all three of them in a single room (assuming you could fit the beds/bunkbeds!) I'm on the other side of the situation - my kids go to their father's house every other weekend, and share a room (even though they are different genders, which will probably become an issue in the future). They don't really complain about sharing a room there, but DO complain about their step-siblings getting into their stuff and breaking their toys (they're not allowed to bring their toys home that are given to them by any relatives on that side of the family). So having a room that is theirs alone would allow them to have that privacy from their step-siblings, so they feel like their belongings are "protected" while they're not there to keep an eye on things. Just a thought!
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your feedback. I tried discussing this again with my fiance, but it didn't go well. He is adamant that my daughter is trying to manipulate the situation to get what she wants and that his kids will feel shunned if she gets her own bedroom. He said that if I talked to his kids, they'd probably do whatever I suggested, but that's because they're kids... that by giving my daughter her own room, I'm giving into her bad behavior. I think it's more complicated than that. I honestly don't know how to come to some resolution with this situation when we're on such different sides of the fence.

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Old 02-12-2014, 09:22 AM
 
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I don't think that's bad behavior at all. I think it's really reasonable honestly. Your fiance might just be feeling defensive of his girls, which is understandable, but he has to see that is just makes sense for your daughter, who lives there full-time, to have her own space. It's not about her being selfish. It's about her stuff being together and his girls' stuff being together and separate. I think you should talk to them and get their input. If you approach them honestly maybe they'll just be honest back and not feel like they need to oblige just "because they're kids." Maybe talk to them first and have him have a personal follow up with them so he can feel assured that they're either okay with it or they're not. If your daughter only has to share a few days, his daughter's things could just be kept neatly in their own place, they don't need to spread out into her room.

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Old 02-12-2014, 09:47 AM
 
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You can't force her to change her feelings, and stating how you feel is never bad behaviour (some of the words you use can be, but they're easy to avoid most of the time, ha ha!) If you make her share her room, won't she just take it out on her stepsister? And then the other two and their brother will come to their sisters defence, probably. 

 

On the other hand, the 3 girls seem like they are willing to go wtih the flow. If you let her keep her own room then at bedtime she is going to be alone and probably hearing the muffled sounds of  other 3 giggling and talking for a bit before they go to sleep. Once she feels more comfortalbe with them, she's going to want to be part of that. She will probably be having sleepovers in their room, or inviting one or more of them to sleep in her room. I'd be more inclined to let that happen, than create a situation where people are going to polarize themselves.


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Old 02-12-2014, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He's just not budging. He says her attitude is selfish and that I'm letting my 12-year-old call the shots. He thinks I should just tell her how it's going to be or say she can go live with her father. This is hopeless. By advocating for her he feels like I'm not aligned with him.

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Old 02-12-2014, 11:16 AM
 
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I'm sorry this is so difficult!

 

I wonder if this is more of an issue between you and your partner, and not so much an issue about your children?  Could it be that you have different approaches to parenting in general?  Could it be that he has fears about how this move will affect his children and wants to make sure they are welcomed, but has a rigid idea of how that welcoming should happen?  Does he fear you do not value his children as much as your own?  How does he usually interact/parent your children?  Can you meet together with a therapist about this issue?

 

I see great potential for a lot of fun weekends with the ages of kids that you have!  I would plan some fun activities that include all of you and give time for bonding before moving in together (if you haven't already done that).  

 

We sometimes share "onions and orchids" or "roses and thorns".  It's a sharing where people can say what they want (without name-calling or other attacks) and everyone listens without commenting.  It's just a quick go-round.  This could be a way for both parents and kids to feel heard and to realize the broad spectrum that each of you bring and enrich each other's live with.

 

Another thought: Could you let all the kids write anonymous notes about how each of them would like to see the rooms arranged?

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Old 02-12-2014, 12:02 PM
 
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He's just not budging. He says her attitude is selfish and that I'm letting my 12-year-old call the shots. He thinks I should just tell her how it's going to be or say she can go live with her father. This is hopeless. By advocating for her he feels like I'm not aligned with him.

This would be my cue to end the relationship.

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Old 02-12-2014, 04:52 PM
 
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I would be super pissed that he suggested you tell your daughter to go live with dad if she doesn't like it.  That is not okay and is pretty much telling your daughter that you are choosing your fiancé over her. 

 

Is moving in together a done deal? Honestly, if he is unwilling to budge on this one small issue, I would be hesitant to move in together right now.  I get that he is defensive of his children-this is something ex and I struggled with a lot (I felt like he favored his oldest daughter, my stepdaughter because he felt guilty that he didn't see her all the time, so I in turn became defensive of our younger two).  I just think that if he is this defensive about something like this, that might be something you need to work out before you put all the kids together under one roof all the time.

 

If you do move in together, and if your daughter feels that strongly about sharing her room, and the other girls are willing to go with the flow, I would let her keep her own room for now and see what happens.  It's possible that she might realize that a couple days a month feels more like a sleepover than sharing a room.  Or she might relax one she gets used to the new family dynamic and be willing to be flexible.  Or the other girls will decide they hate sharing a room and you'll have to put your foot down with your daughter, but at least it will hopefully be after she's had time to adjust to the new family dynamics. 


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Old 02-15-2014, 07:19 PM
 
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I'm sorry this is so difficult!

 

I wonder if this is more of an issue between you and your partner, and not so much an issue about your children?  Could it be that you have different approaches to parenting in general?  Could it be that he has fears about how this move will affect his children and wants to make sure they are welcomed, but has a rigid idea of how that welcoming should happen?  Does he fear you do not value his children as much as your own?  How does he usually interact/parent your children?  Can you meet together with a therapist about this issue?

 

I see great potential for a lot of fun weekends with the ages of kids that you have!  I would plan some fun activities that include all of you and give time for bonding before moving in together (if you haven't already done that).  

 

We sometimes share "onions and orchids" or "roses and thorns".  It's a sharing where people can say what they want (without name-calling or other attacks) and everyone listens without commenting.  It's just a quick go-round.  This could be a way for both parents and kids to feel heard and to realize the broad spectrum that each of you bring and enrich each other's live with.

 

Another thought: Could you let all the kids write anonymous notes about how each of them would like to see the rooms arranged?

This. I think this is more of a difference in parenting than specifically about your daughter. I have said things similar to my husband regarding his son, that my dh is "letting his son make the rules", and truly, this was the case sometimes. He didn't see it that way, most of the time, because his parenting philosophy was different than mine. I had to make peace with the fact that we had different opinoins, and neither of us was necessarily "right" or "wrong" in most cases, rather, we had different approaches to parenting. 


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Old 02-19-2014, 07:09 PM
 
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Thank you all for your feedback. I tried discussing this again with my fiance, but it didn't go well. He is adamant that my daughter is trying to manipulate the situation to get what she wants and that his kids will feel shunned if she gets her own bedroom. He said that if I talked to his kids, they'd probably do whatever I suggested, but that's because they're kids... that by giving my daughter her own room, I'm giving into her bad behavior. I think it's more complicated than that. I honestly don't know how to come to some resolution with this situation when we're on such different sides of the fence.

Then discuss it without suggesting anything. Present the options and ask what they would prefer, making it clear you want them to feel comfortable and welcome and that your home is their home, instead of suggesting something. There are so many more options than "she bunks with the 9 year old" or "they feel like outsiders", the kids may surprise you!

 

It's really odd to me that he's pushing this so vehemently when he hasn't even made sure it's what his daughters want. It seems very possible to me that his youngest would prefer to stay with her sisters, or that his middle daughter would be most comfortable rooming with your daughter as they're closer in age. If his daughters said this is what they want and what they need to feel comfortable and at home, I would certainly understand his upset, but as it is it seems odd.


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Old 02-20-2014, 02:51 PM
 
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I think it's unreasonable to expect kids who really don't know much about each other to be forced into a close-quarters situation when they're asking not to be forced and there is an option to avoid it. Your daughter isn't making a request that's going to force the family to move to a new house (like if you had a 2-bedroom house and she didn't want to share, there would be no place for his kids to have a bedroom). Even if the sleeping situation would be very unbalanced (if you had one child in one room, and 8! kids of the "other parent" in the other room) I think it's a reasonable way to start so they have a safe place to retreat as they get to know each other. They'll form their own blended cliques in time.

 

Another option to take a step back even further is to hold a family meeting with everyone present and ask the kids for ideas of what possible sleeping/bedroom arrangements they think there could be. Let them be part of making the suggestions and the discussion of which suggestions are reasonable and/or preferred. Letting it be a little silly--maybe even by contributing a few silly suggestions like everyone sleeps in the little room!--might help get the ideas flowing and keep tensions low.

 

I agree, the response of "if she doesn't like it she can go live with her dad" is a huge red flag. What happens when a true "bad behavior" comes to the surface? He can't just solve all the problems by sending her away (not that any should be solved that way). It speaks very poorly of his value of her in your life and of you in hers. If he's not willing to budge, he can not budge somewhere else. :irked Since you two have already made the step of getting engaged, it's obviously much easier for me to say he's not fit for you and your family than it is for you to end the relationship, so I wish you some peace and clarity in your decision-making, if he continues to refuse to listen to each of your children on what they want.


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Old 02-20-2014, 05:31 PM
 
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I didn't read all the replies.

It seems to me that if they are sharing a room at his current place they should be fine sharing a room at your house. I vote for letting sleepovers with your daughter happen naturally.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:55 PM
 
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is there a way to give the dsd's the largest room possible and giving your dd the smallest room possible, that way your dd is making a compromise as well without giving up her personal space?


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