Priorities in a blended family/marriage - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 22 Old 04-10-2006, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
Kindermama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: she's only happy in the Son
Posts: 2,629
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In your opinion, should a parent put their new spouse before their own children in a blended family. I'm not talking about situations where there is a abuse. I'm talking about in the day to day scenarios.

I feel that the day I married DH and vowed my life to him, his son should step down from top priority and our marriage should be #1. This also stands for my own daughter. DH agrees but does not act though he does. I feel our family will never work if DH doesn't put "us" first and especially if DH undermines the way I mother his son.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
Kindermama is offline  
#2 of 22 Old 04-11-2006, 11:01 AM
 
mom24's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: michigan
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i feel that the kids should always come first. especially when/if dh only gets to see child EOWE and Wednesdays. That is my opinion, and how our family works. My dh on the other hand thinks opposite. But, for now at least, i put the children and their needs ahead of dh and I would never try to come between dh and his son. Our kids are all under age 7 though, maybe as they get older and more independent my views will change a bit.
mom24 is offline  
#3 of 22 Old 04-11-2006, 11:24 AM
 
mamameg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Wine Country, CA
Posts: 2,872
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it depends on what you mean by "first".

For example, do I think I should get new shoes before dss gets new shoes? No - the kids come first. But, do I think dss should be allowed to disrespect me and disobey me that's okay because he comes "first"? No - I come first in that scenario. If the spouses do not put a priority on the marrige, the children are following the parents lead and will also not treat the r-ship as important.

But I feel this dynamic also applies to non-blended families. Spouses of blended families may have more challenges as far as the children pushing and testing those boundaries, but I think the kids need to clearly understand that there is a new spouse to be considered and he/she is absolutely a part of the family, in a parental role and that role is to be respected. The kids are looking to the adults for clear boundaries and it's our job to clearly define them.
mamameg is offline  
#4 of 22 Old 04-11-2006, 02:06 PM
 
boobybunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,361
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In my blended family, new husband, two older kids and an "our" child. My husband claims all the children as "his." He takes complete ownership into being their father.

We look at it as the family comes first. If someone is doing something that is not good for the family dynamic, things have to change. At times, an individuals need will be more pressing than the group.

Even if I do not agree with the way my husband is handling something with the kids, I support him. Then we talk about it AFTER the children are asleep. I am one of the lucky ones. He has no other children, is a very honorable man, and loves the stuffing out of all of us.
boobybunny is offline  
#5 of 22 Old 04-11-2006, 03:56 PM
 
papayapetunia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: SE Portland, OR
Posts: 5,137
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I just wrote a whole post and then accidentally erased it. A hint from the world that I was long-winded...perhaps. To sum up my thoughts:

Priorities such as "marriage first" = bad. It's a remnant of the tough-love movement. Damaging to children to walk around knowing they are not as important as so-and-so. Every relationship is a priority. "Marriage first" can cause life-long rifts between family members, especially in stepparent families.

Needing husband support for discipline = bad. Gives kids message that independently, your authority doesn't mean much. You + hubby = Agree on rules and discipline standards. Aside from that, start getting comfortable with your independent authority in your household. Your kids will get comfortable with it only after you are comfortable with it.
papayapetunia is offline  
#6 of 22 Old 04-11-2006, 07:14 PM
 
MommyMine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 689
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Any time anyone puts the children and wife against eachother such as "this one first and that one second" you are set up for failure in step life.

They aren't competing.
MommyMine is offline  
#7 of 22 Old 04-11-2006, 08:46 PM
 
MomBirthmomStepmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: southern CA/inland empire
Posts: 1,915
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg
I think it depends on what you mean by "first".

For example, do I think I should get new shoes before dss gets new shoes? No - the kids come first. But, do I think dss should be allowed to disrespect me and disobey me that's okay because he comes "first"? No - I come first in that scenario. If the spouses do not put a priority on the marrige, the children are following the parents lead and will also not treat the r-ship as important.
This is exactly how I feel as well.

I've never gotten an inkling of how SO feels on this subject, but his actions seem different than my thinking. Alot of times *his* son comes before not only our relationship, but *my* daughter (whom we raise as *ours* for the most part).

That is frustrating, because I'm sorry, our children are SUPPOSED to be *equals*, and I am SUPPOSED to be equal to him, so I don't feel that he and his son should have rule of the roost, if that makes sense.

However, most days, that seems to be how it is around here.
MomBirthmomStepmom is offline  
#8 of 22 Old 04-12-2006, 12:01 AM
 
augustgirl69's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 278
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was raised to believe that the marriage relationship comes first, children second. Now when I say that it is NOT physical needs b/c children need sooo much more in that area but it does mean to us ( a blended family - 2 Sk 's- his- and 3 kids together) that WE (dh and I) are a united front, treating ALL the kids as ours and our marriage relationship as a priority. After all, the kids are going to leave home and move on - what do dh and I have then if we put them before our relationship? We agree on this together.
augustgirl69 is offline  
#9 of 22 Old 04-13-2006, 04:14 AM
 
flapjack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: England, easily locatable by Google
Posts: 13,642
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
No, that's too simplistic a way of thinking of it. Priorities change constantly, just as a family does: sometimes the marriage needs to take priority, other times mum-and-dad time needs to wait because the kids need something. There's a balancing line.
If your dh isn't prepared to put the work in on your marriage, it's because he isn't prepared to put the work in on your marriage, not because he's prioritising his son. It's not an either/or situation, it's a win/win (or it should be.)

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
flapjack is offline  
#10 of 22 Old 04-13-2006, 04:40 PM
 
UptownZoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: In the monkey cage...
Posts: 2,349
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Interesting posts. My family is my two, his one, and our one. Kids range in age from 12 to 3.

I guess that, in general, I believe that my marriage comes first. My husband is my life partner, and will be my most important person forever, long after the kids have moved onto lives of their own. Also, my marriage nourishes my spirit and my DH's, and that can only make us better people, which makes us better parents. I think too, that for kids whose parents are divorced, the stability that comes from living with two adults who are able to make a firm commitment to each other is good for them.

But none of that means that I put my kids in a somehow secondary position. Everybody's needs are important, and it's DH's and my job to see to it that all those needs are met.

I think that my feeling that my marriage should come first comes partly from my strong reaction to the popular notion that says that parenting should be a self-sacrificial undertaking - that once I had kids, I sort of ceased to be. It's true that I have to make sacrifices for my kids (remember reading the paper in the morning? sleeping through the night? having sex any old time?), but that doesn't make me a second-class citizen or a person without needs.

Sorry to think "out loud" and ramble on here, but maybe kids and marriage just BOTH deserve top priority?

computergeek2.gif

UptownZoo is offline  
#11 of 22 Old 04-20-2006, 07:58 PM
 
Laggie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 3,126
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
This is an interesting discussion... I often feel placed in an "unnatural" position - because it seems to me that the "natural" order of things is for the parents (spouses) to have been together before the child came along. Therefore, the child falls into place in the life the parents already have, rather than a parent having to fit into the life of child and dad.

Does that make any sense?

In any case, all I can do is make the most of what I have. I've felt like giving up at times, but I've stuck it out, and it's only getting better. Crazy to think it's coming up on 4 years together...

But yes, I have often felt that I am "second". And I figure that is something I just have to deal with.

Finally pregnant with #1 and #2! Due September 9th, 2014 
   
Laggie is offline  
#12 of 22 Old 04-20-2006, 08:56 PM
 
woobysma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: over the moon
Posts: 3,130
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it's a balance and so does DP. Our relationship with each other is as important as our relationship with the kids. Sometimes those two things can conflict (not often, but sometimes) and then we make a decision based on that situation specifically. I can't really think of a time when we've had to decide which came "first" - we just talk about things when it seams like there's tension and it just kind of works out. We do talk about this on almost a daily basis, which I think helps A LOT - not big, drawn out discussions, but just keeping the communication open so we both know we're on the same page on stuff like routines, discipline/consequences, priviledges, etc. I think when you agree on the parenting side of things, then the marriage side of things stays healthy and happy.
woobysma is offline  
#13 of 22 Old 04-21-2006, 01:09 PM
Banned
 
snugg_bug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kindermama
In your opinion, should a parent put their new spouse before their own children in a blended family. I'm not talking about situations where there is a abuse. I'm talking about in the day to day scenarios.....
This is a largely debated subject. When I was dating, I would not get involved with anyone with small children. That was my choice because I have seen too many girlfriends go through heartache when their SO did not put them first. For my position, when I met DH his son was 15 so I felt that those early, needy years were done. If I ever split and had to start over and DS was still small, no way would I NOT put him first. Small children, I feel, need to feel they are the priority. Alot of ppl will disagree with me on this one, but if a child is young and already dealing with feelings of their parents being apart - well, I think things could get complicated.
snugg_bug is offline  
#14 of 22 Old 04-21-2006, 01:18 PM
 
MommyMine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 689
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oy, see I think teens can be so much harder in a blended family - I guess everyone has their preference right?
MommyMine is offline  
#15 of 22 Old 04-21-2006, 03:14 PM
 
The4OfUs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 5,102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny
We look at it as the family comes first. If someone is doing something that is not good for the family dynamic, things have to change. At times, an individuals need will be more pressing than the group.
:

Boy, I keep poking into this forum...but I keep seeing such thought-provoking threads here when I click on "New Posts". We're not a blended family, but still don't think either "us" or "kids" come first. We're all in this together; sometimes kids come first, sometimes spouse comes first...life is so ever changing, I can't see one concept working the whole time a family is together living in the household as a unit.

I also totally agree that with a child being involved (say, under 10 maybe) that having someone new come into their lives that they haven't asked to be there, and then having that person come "first" is just asking for relationship issues to crop up.

I don't necessarily believe in "child centered" families, but I DO believe in "family centered" familes, and give and take depending on the different stages everyone is at.

OK, I'll butt out again....unless someone else starts an interesting thread and I can't keep my big trap shut.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
The4OfUs is offline  
#16 of 22 Old 04-21-2006, 07:35 PM
 
Laggie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 3,126
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I read an article by a stepmom whose advice was: you're always going to be second, deal with it! Her example was an incident where her stepson (around 6 years old) purposely tripped her. She fell and was bleeding and yelled at him. Kid started crying. Husband comforted child.

Man, I'd be furious. Mind you, I don't think DH would react that way. But a lot of parents seem to feel so guilty about divorce, or so afraid the child will like the other parent better, that they always side with the child no matter what. Which certainly isn't best for the family, imho...

Finally pregnant with #1 and #2! Due September 9th, 2014 
   
Laggie is offline  
#17 of 22 Old 04-23-2006, 04:54 PM
 
mamawanabe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: lorrie in Chicago
Posts: 2,000
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by flapjack
No, that's too simplistic a way of thinking of it. If your dh isn't prepared to put the work in on your marriage, it's because he isn't prepared to put the work in on your marriage, not because he's prioritising his son. It's not an either/or situation, it's a win/win (or it should be.)
yes yes
mamawanabe is offline  
#18 of 22 Old 04-24-2006, 01:55 PM
 
Mommy Piadosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: California
Posts: 601
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This post for sure touched a nerve with me - I came over here to write a vent post- which I'll get around to in a second. my dh feels that the children you have before come first. we both had children before and he says he would have never married me if i had asked him to put me before his children and i should do the same. he feels that while our marraige is important- it is not as important as raising the children, i thought i agreed with him, but lately i feel really hurt- i have absolutely no say so in how my youngest stepson is being raised. if i out of genuine caring question the way something is being done i get told that- well its his son, and he has to make the choices- and he knows whats best etc etc.

Punk, hippy, mama to 4 amazing kiddos, Boy#1 (18), TheGirl (13), Boy#2 (11- PBD) and Boy#3 (6)
Mommy Piadosa is offline  
#19 of 22 Old 04-24-2006, 02:16 PM
 
woobysma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: over the moon
Posts: 3,130
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie
I read an article by a stepmom whose advice was: you're always going to be second, deal with it! Her example was an incident where her stepson (around 6 years old) purposely tripped her. She fell and was bleeding and yelled at him. Kid started crying. Husband comforted child.

Man, I'd be furious. Mind you, I don't think DH would react that way. But a lot of parents seem to feel so guilty about divorce, or so afraid the child will like the other parent better, that they always side with the child no matter what. Which certainly isn't best for the family, imho...
I agree, allowing any child to treat someone like that (tripping, hitting, hurting, etc) isn't good parenting, IMO, and teaches a bad lesson - that respect is reserved for only some people in the family. We have a "no hurting" rule in our house, and that applies to EVERYONE - to teach the kids otherwise would be a failure on our parts, IMO.
woobysma is offline  
#20 of 22 Old 04-24-2006, 03:00 PM
 
rebeccalizzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think I've been having a hard time with this thread because I can't figure out how it is meant. I agree, you don't let a child trip someone or act up, that's terrible! In that case, I'd put my spouse first. But I am the biological mom, DH is the step dad in our family. My DD was 5 when we got married. Before we got married especially, DD came first. She was little, and I really don't think it would have been fair to her to suddenly be less important that Mom's new husband. As a matter of fact, I think that would have been an excellent way to ask for all kinds of problems. If DD was sick, I cancelled dates. If she happened to be having a particularly needy night, I'd comfort her even if DH was there to hang out with me. I consider my marriage *very* important. But not "more" important than DD, just *as* important. I'm not putting either of them "first", and I think it would be childish to expect my needs to be more important than DD's. But honestly, I wouldn't have married my DH if he told me he expected to be more important than DD, so I guess it's not an issue for me.

I don't know, maybe I'm reacting to this because I have a good friend that I wish would dump her SO. He's got a child, and my friend wants him to basically ignore his child's needs and totally change the way he's been raising his DD for the past 11 years because "I should be more important than his kids, and I think he's raising them wrong". People like that shouldn't marry people with children, IMO.

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
rebeccalizzie is offline  
#21 of 22 Old 04-24-2006, 04:21 PM
 
woobysma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: over the moon
Posts: 3,130
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebeccalizzie
But honestly, I wouldn't have married my DH if he told me he expected to be more important than DD, so I guess it's not an issue for me.

I don't know, maybe I'm reacting to this because I have a good friend that I wish would dump her SO. He's got a child, and my friend wants him to basically ignore his child's needs and totally change the way he's been raising his DD for the past 11 years because "I should be more important than his kids, and I think he's raising them wrong". People like that shouldn't marry people with children, IMO.
I totally agree - and I hope that doesn't come off sounding harsh - I would never considering marrying someone who wasn't on the same page as me parenting-wise. When DP and I get married, I will be comfortable co-parenting with him because we went over this very subject over and over (and over) again (before the 3rd date even ) I know that we have the same idea of what our family should be like, so there's no issue of "who comes first"...... I guess I wonder why someone would choose to be in a blended family with someone who wanted to "compete" with the children or cause additional stress on the family.
woobysma is offline  
#22 of 22 Old 04-26-2006, 02:19 PM
 
Soul-O's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wiesbaden, Germany
Posts: 1,226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm in agreement with the "family first" sentiment as well. In my situation, I have two boys from marriage #1, my DH has no children from previous relationships, and we are expecting boy #3 (our child) in 8 weeks. DH is a terrific stepdad, and he understands that young children need to have their needs met first most of the time. This is not to say that we tolerate disrespect towards the stepparent or poor behavior from either child; rather, we are both committed to being parents to the children all of the time. DH knew what he was getting into when he married me, and we had established our shared parenting philosophy in advance of marriage. Going a bit further... my boys and I had been abused by their father, and the divorce/custody situation has been ugly for a long time now. My boys need to see, on a regular basis, that husband-wife/co-parents treat each other with love and respect. DH and I model that behavior for them by prioritizing each other and meeting each other's needs in visible ways as well as by conscientiously caring for them - does that make any sense?

Hope this helps... good luck in finding a resolution to this situation with your DH.

Tabitha ~ devoted wife to my best friend Stephen ribbonyellow.gif and gentle Christian mom to six DSs: notes.gif E - 2/09/00REPlaySkateboard04HL.gifA - 3/05/03superhero.gifA- 6/05/06 guitar.gif H- 2/07/08 jog.gif J - 11/14/10 bouncy.gif T - 8/23/12 + stork-suprise.gif due 9/20/14!  brokenheart.gif DD Janae 10/19/09 angel2.gif
Soul-O is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off