It’s never easy to be the parent blended families. When you have “mine and yours,” someone is always going to feel slighted. That can’t be helped. With some patience, though, you can be a good parent to all the kids in your blended family. Check out these tips for parenting kids in blended families.
Parenting Kids in Blended Families
Be Equal and Age Appropriate
When you have multiple ages, whether they are step-siblings or not, kids tend to feel that the others are always treated better. Make a concerted effort to treat all the kids equally — according to their age. What does that mean? Obviously, the 17-year-old in the family will be given more rights and privileges than the 9-year-old to some degree. The 17-year-old will be allowed to stay up later, spend more time with friends, and of course, do more chores.
The 9-year-old will undoubtedly feel slighted, but if all the kids are treated equally otherwise, then it won’t be a huge issue. On the other hand, don’t give one child special privileges that another child should also be allowed. Don’t give treats and gifts to one child if you’re not going to do so with the others. This is favoritism and in blended families, it has no place.
Spend Time With All the Kids
While it’s important to have parent-child time with your birth children in a blended family, it is equally important to spend time with all the kids. Plan special family outings that include everyone and try to keep the separate activities to a minimum. When you are a step-parent, the kids are all watching to see how you treat each of them.
Stop Thinking of Your Spouse’s Kids as “Theirs”
In a blended family, it is important to stop referring to your spouse’s children as “theirs” and your own children as “mine.” Start using “ours” and make sure you continue. This is important so that all of the children feel as though they are part of the family and connected to their step-parent.
Refer to the Kids as Siblings
Encourage the kids to refer to each other as brothers and sisters — not step-siblings. Seeing each other as simply siblings instead of step-siblings can help the kids develop connections with each other that will help the blending in the family.
Don’t Allow the Kids to Divide and Conquer
When parenting a blended family it is essential that you don’t allow the kids to pit parent against parent. In order to keep this from happening, parents have to agree to not take the bait if one or more kids tries to play “divide and conquer.” It is imperative that kids see that the parents are working together and that they won’t take sides or fight with each other.
Blended families are more and more common today and as such, parents must work together to make things work. It takes patience and flexibility to handle the challenges a blended family can present, but it is certainly worth the effort.
Do you have any other tips for parenting kids in blended families? Share them in the comments.