Help For Step Families

Real Life Brady Bunch


After seven years of being the "Brady Bunch" family, I can say that I have finally mastered the art of mothering my children vs. the stepchildren. Now when I say verses, in the beginning that is what it felt like. My children were trying to compete with his children for attention, love, equality and finding their place! In 1999 the family dynamics began with, two 9 year olds (my son, his daughter,) two 6 year olds (my son, his son,) and two 3 year olds (my son, his son.)

I started out being his kids "friend". I wanted them to like me and not consider me the mean step mom. My kids immediately got jealous and thought that I was being nicer to his kids because I did not discipline his children the same as I would my own.

The other issue that was a huge problem was the "ex". This was not a good situation, which only put further strain on my relationship with his children, especially his daughter. It didn't matter that I was nice to them, the fact that me and their mother did not get along set the tone for the relationship. For several years, I wasn't sure how we were going to make it.

After years of practice and doing the wrong things, here is my list of practical rules for newly integrated families:

1. Treat each other with respect.

2. Always back each other up on decisions.

3. Be fair and consistent with your discipline.

4. Do NOT show favoritism (this is a hard one but do your best, it pays off!)

5. Everyone does chores equally (this creates a REAL family environment.)

6. Make peace with the "ex" (hard, but necessary to save your family.)

7. When arguments occur, both parties involved get the same punishment,

(this discourages further conflicts and favoritism claims.)

8. Always take family vacations together (thus creating a family togetherness


9. Attend all sports, banquets, and special events for ALL the children (they

will know you care.)

10. Do not give up (if or should I say when you fall, start back at rule number 1

and repeat the steps as needed until you have perfected them)

Good luck, and may I remind you, it only took me seven years to have a wonderful relationship with my step children as well as their mother. My sincerest hope is that these steps will take off a couple of years of struggle in your quest to integrate stepchildren into your family.

Real Life Brady Bunch
Real Life Brady Bunch

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Comments 1 comment

Donna S. 8 years ago

Thank you for the advice. I am newly married for my second time. My two children are grown and my new husband has a 11 year old daughter that loved me at first. Once her mother made it her mission in life to destroy her dad and myself, life has been difficult to say the least. The ex-wife has done everything possible to try and ruin our marriage and turn her daugther against me. Now that we have the facts from the daughter on all her REWARDS SYSTEM for making life difficult. The daughter is now getting punished when pulling a stunt. This has actually made her mad at her mom for she is being punished for something she was told to do. This is horrible to watch and it kills me to punish her when I know it is her mother. But I feel that no matter what, she must be punished for her actions even though we both know they were wrong. I hope we get passed this soon, for it will be impossible to do your recommendations #6 (befriend the ex-wife). My children have accepted his daughter and she actually loves them. She is just not allowed to "love" me. I told her that I don't expect her to love me, but respect me. I am not trying to replace her mother in any way. I have my two children and my grandson. I love having her in our family, but I will not allow her to be disrespectful to me or any oneI care about! Hopefully, in time, this will all pass!

All the best to you and your family.

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