Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
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Your kids are pretty little. I'd guide them toward working this out on their own, as they get older, by doing what it sounds like you're already doing: paying attention to what matters to them and what doesn't.
If, for example, one daughter's hair bows seem special to her and being forced to share them would make her resent her step-sister, then you should buy the step-sister her own hair bows (so she doesn't feel slighted) and give the girls private areas to keep their bows (to minimize their temptation to take each other's). When they're older, you should ask them to consider that if they were both open to sharing, each of them would have twice the hair bow selection to choose from. But if they never latch onto the advantage of that, you shouldn't breed resentment by forcing them to share. You should set - and stick to - a reasonable per-child hair bow budget. The same goes for clothes.
When we first "blended", my twin sons shared a bedroom, my step-son had his own and they had a communal Play Room. The twins, of course, were used to sharing everything and kept all their toys in the Play Room. Before DH and I married, DSS had lived as an only child with his mom. Naturally, he wanted access to everything in the Play Room, but kept all his toys in his bedroom and did not share them. This annoyed me, but it was also understandable.
Later, one of the twins got a magic show set for Christmas that he'd been wanting for a while. He kept it in his room - a habit he had picked up from DSS and the recurrent disappointment of never being welcome to check out his toys. One weekend when the twins were at their dad's, I found my step-son and his friend in the twins' room, playing with the magic set. My son would not have been terribly upset about this. Nevertheless, I told DSS gently but firmly that he needed to respect the twins' privacy, just as he wanted them to respect his and never touch anything in his room. It was clearly eye-opening for DSS. I can't say it totally changed his personality, but after that he did make more of an effort to share with the twins, especially if there was something he wanted them to share with him. Before that, it just never occurred to him that there ought to be any quid pro quo. And that natural lesson went over a lot better than if I had forced DSS to share his toys, earlier.
With expensive things, I think it's perfectly acceptable to insist on sharing. For example (when your kids are older): "If all of you would like an XBox, Dad and I will consider buying one at Christmastime. But we can't afford - and don't think it would be reasonable - for each of you to have one that you can keep in your own room or take to your other parent's house on the weekends. There will be one XBox in our home, for any child who is here to use."
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate:
... twin sons:
(HS seniors) ... step-son:
(a sophomore) ... our little man:
(a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all