4. Equality amongst the kids is incredibly important. The quickest way for one side to resent the other is when there are special privileges or the same rules don’t apply to all. It is common for parents that only have their children part-time to treat them special. They are not expected to participate with the household chores or the parent buys them extra things. This is hurtful to the kids living there full-time who must follow all the rules.
5. Communication is vital to the success of a stepfamily. Let everyone know that it’s better to discuss problems than feel miserable about them. Set up an acceptable forum for that, such as Sunday brunch what’s going on time. Allow everyone to air his or her feelings without judgment and come to an acceptable compromise. Parents should not discuss issues amongst themselves and declare new rules without including the kids in the discussion. Studies have shown that kids are always more cooperative when they can participate.
I remind my clients of this: if my husband came home and announced that his buddy was moving in, it would really change the dynamics of our household. Even though I may really like his buddy, life would never be the same and the more he invaded my territory, the more frustrated I may feel. That’s how kids feel and we can’t discount that. Remember throughout this process to keep your relationship with your spouse a priority. The stress of step parenting can take a toll on your emotions but keep the long-term view in sight. Your love, determination and cooperation together will benefit the kids.