Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why Discipline should remain Even in a Blended Family?

Your kids have been through a lot. First, their parent separated and then got divorced. And now, a parent (or even both parents) has remarried to another person, which has now created a brand new blended family. You wonder, should you give your kids a break and loosen up on discipline or not?

Sometimes, we think that it's best to let kids get loose for once. But that may not be so. Why? well, here are the reason for blended family discipline to remain the same.

  • Even with a new marriage, your values still remain the same and you should always continue to teach your children the difference between what's right and what's wrong.
  • You may not know this but boundaries and guidelines can show that you love your children.
  • Your kids have been through a lot and having discipline actually provides consistency and security to your kids when there are a lot of things changing in their lives.
Now for the crucial question, how do we handle our step kids?

When you decided to be in a blended family, you decided to accept your new spouse and his/herkids. It is now your task to take care and look after them. Discipline is also an important aspect in this. The both of you should discuss house rules and standards for all family members to follow. To both adults, you should always consider fair discipline. Respecting each other's way of parenting is important, but you should still come to a mutual understanding and agreement of how all children (both biological and step) will be treated and disciplined at home. Now is the time for you two to sit down and discuss about the guidelines and boundaries for all your kids at home.

EQUAL treatment to all kids

All kids should be treated fairly and equally. This is important after both of you have created house rules, such as:

  • No eating in the living room
  • No TV after 9pm on a school night
  • Everyone helps clean the kitchen after meals
You can still add more rules, depending on what the two of you have decided. These rules will apply to every child in your family. As for the consequences, it can be different depending on the age differences and development stage. Just make sure that consequences are equal and fair, for both your biological child and step child.

Reminder: it may help enforce discipline if the adults also follow the same rules. You wouldn't want your kids to see you eat in the living room yet none of them can right?

The biological parent should take the lead

The biological parent should always take the lead in front of the kids. The new stepparent should be be perceived as the "heavy," or the enforcer of house rules. Give time for your spouse to get to know his/her new step kids, and after ample bonding time, the stepparent can now enforce the consequences of disobeying any family rules.


Rules that are agreed upon should be kept and applied every day. Don't change any rules because of some factors, such as you are tired or you  (or your spouse) are out of town or out of the house.

Dispense with any secret agreements (or alliances) with your biological kids

If you just change rules because your spouse is not at home, this can cause your children not to respect their stepparent and develop a notion that the bond between them and you is much stronger than the bond between parents. Remember that your relationship with your spouse should take priority. Having a strong relationship with your spouse creates a stable and consistent environment for all your kids. And this consistency and stability will make your children feel secure and can be the precursor for a strong, successful, and united blended family.

If you want to know more, check the Blended and Step Family Resource Center now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

5 Golden Rules for Grandparents in a Blended Family

You and your new spouse have had some time getting to know each other and have now decided to blend your gamilies. Even though you are already adults, hopefully you still introduce your new love to your parent/s before the wedding. And after the wedding is over, it is now time to help your Mom and Dad with some tips on how to respond to your newly blended family.

Talk to your Mom or Dad about these things.

Tip 1- Treat each grandkid EQUALLY and FAIRLY

Being the grandparent of a much larger family may be new to you. But you need to remember that your grandkids will always look up to you, both your biological and step grandkids. For your new step grandkids, it is best that you treat them similarly to how you treat your real grandkids. Remember, they are waiting and watching to see if you will be fair to all. If your biological grandkids call you "grandmother or grandfather", then also inviste your new step grandkids to call you "grandmother or grandfather". If you hug your grandchildren when you see them, hug your step grandchildren too.

Dispense with the "biological" and "step" labels as soon as you can. Keeping these lables in your head may cause you to treat all your grandchildren unequally.

Tip 2- Express interest in each child

Make time to learn about your new step grandchildren: their activities, friends, or hobbies. Figure out what makes each child unique. These endeavors will help you feel more comfortable around them and will also help you get to know them better.

Tip 3- Remember special days

Acknowledge birthdays, school events, or any other special activities of your new step grandkids. At the beginning of each year, mark all special events on the calendar. You can even purchase birthday cards or gifts cards for all your grandkids at the same time. That way, you are fair to all and will not forget anyone.

Aside from that, don't forget your new daughter or son in-law too. Greeting them with a card on their birthday will help show your support for the marriage. Share information about your family history or family recipes, in that way, you are helping your new daughter or son in-law feel that he/she is a part of your family.

Tip 4- Do not reminisce about the PAST

Your adult child has divorced and moved on to a new marriage. Recalling the good times in their old marriage is not going to help blending the new marriage. Take the old wedding photos off the wall and put them away in a special album. It is OK to keep the photos, but do not display them on the wall for everyone to see when they visit you.


When your adult child calls and wants to talk to you about their frustrating moments in their blended family, the best you can do is to LISTEN, but don't judge or say anything negative that you might regret later. It is very difficult to blend a family and requires a lot of patience. Support your son or daughter as they try their best to be a good parent and spouse in this new blended family.

In conclusion,

Remember, it's your job to love all your grandkids and support your adult child and his/her spouse in their new blended family. It might be a little new and unfamiliar at first, but it will be well worth your efforts. You will ultimately have the rewards of a bigger family that will love you back.

If you want to know more, check out the Blended Family Advice.