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.

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