How do you handle conflict between parents in a blended family?

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  1. JillKostow profile image87
    JillKostowposted 9 years ago

    Let me start by saying I have 2 children of my own, a girl age 9 and a boy age 6, my fiance has a boy age 9, and togethter we have a 2 1/2 year old.  We find ourselves at odds alot of the time about punishments with the children.  I try to keep it fair but no one is perfect.  But I feel he does not keep it fair, or even tries to keep it fair.  My children are home with me all the time, they go with their father when he asks to see them, usually on the weekends.  Me and their father have no legal custody agreement.  My fiance has a custody agreement with his son, he is here from Sunday to Friday, and he goes to his mom's house Friday to Sunday.  So he to is here most of the time.

    I am having difficulties in the way the children are punished for misbehaving or forgeting school work, etc.  My fiance made the rule reguarding homework that if it was forgotten more than 2x they better be scared.  (Last year they were expected to stay in and could not play video games.)  His son forgot homework 5 different days and finally got punished, he was told he had to stay in.  I came to realize he was upstairs playing the playstation and it upset me because it should be off limits.  When I brought to my fiance's attention he started screaming at me that I was trying to overtake his position as dad.  We have been together 6 years and I hear this alot but it is really starting to get to me.  My daughter was grounded for her attitude and even then she was in with no video games!!  He compares his 9 year old to my 6 year old to point out unfair punishments.  Ex.  My son (6) has autism, (not severe) and he has meltdowns that can last for hours, and he does not get punished for these because they are uncontrolable, but if his son starts throwing a tantrum because I asked him to fix his homework I will send him to his room to calm down for a couple minutes, usually 10-20 minutes.  How do I get through to him that the other kids are different from the 6 year old, and I am being fair with punishments?  We are in a huge battle and he is constantly yelling about it being my fault he is stressed.  Does anyone have any advice for me to get through to him?

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image62
      prettydarkhorseposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      This is difficult for you Jillkostow, understand that he is tired working, but on the other end he should understand your situation too -- you are left alone with the kids, most of the time.Your fiance shouldn't talk to you that way -- because you are mostly left with the children, so you are left with more time and disciplining, it is not as if you are taking his part.

      Misunderstanding about parenting disciplining puts a toll on your relationship and this is not good, instead of the house being a place for relaxation, it may become otherwise.

      I hope you find time for the father of your children to have more time for them, specially during weekends when your fiance is there. That gives you more time with your fiance as well.

      I know it is hard for you to be consistent and have the same punishment as your other son has slight prob., but I would like to suggest you talk to a counselor -- family counseling, (child psychologists) specially that you are about to embark in marriage with your partner.

      I hope your ex understands you more, and you to him, a whole lot of patience and consistency in disciplining is needed.
      Your 6 yrs old son needs you more than ever.

      1. JillKostow profile image87
        JillKostowposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you, I was in going to counseling but during the summer months I had to take a break because the children were home from school.  Counseling does help to a point, but it is still the fact that I am trying my hardest to treat these children fairly.  I feel bad if one is upset all the time because another gets away easy.  I feel like him and my daughter are at odds, and I just want to find that happy medium for the both of them.  But I know it stems from the way his son and her are punished or told by him about whatever they have done wrong.  I know she holds alot of resentment towards him and I would like to get them on the same page.  Just everything I try fails, and he then feels like I am sticking up for her. I am fighting a two sided battle and I don't know how to make it stop without it ending in yelling or silence.

        1. prettydarkhorse profile image62
          prettydarkhorseposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          oh, that is difficult indeed, you are in between two loved ones -- Try to look at his side of the equation, the two of you should decide on an agreement and if you think it is fair, then go for it, and stick with it.
          I know it hard at times because it is your child, but it is always the best to be consistent and both of you and your partner agrees on the same punishment. Explain this to your daughter, the situation also -- she is 9, she can understand things already, tell her mama loves you so. Most of 9 year olds can understand well enough. If your partner becomes really unreasonable, then you may have to think the overall future with him, always your babies come first. I hope you find balance, Cheer up,

    2. almasi profile image60
      almasiposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I think you should sit down and agree with him on the appropriate rules and punishments for each age group. If you can't decide, buy a book on parenting and let it guide you on what is appropriate. Then write down the rules and hang them in a prominent place.

      I would also advice counselling for both of you as a couple, possibly a Christian counselor  because with Christ there will be more peace.

  2. profile image0
    Home Girlposted 9 years ago

    Counseling-shmounseling, it's YOUR LIFE, no counselor is going to live it for you! You have to find a time, send your children with a babysitter for a walk, sit with your partner "in crime" across the kitchen table and make a plan. One for you,guys, one for children - written in simple words, clear and fair. Your rules, you don't have to write, but for kids you better write it down in big clear letters and put it on a wall somewhere where they can see it. Explain to them what they should do and what they should not. Even better make them write that plan themselves, or correct yours. Do not expect them to be perfect, they are kids and your house is not a prison. Let them chose their own punishment. It may sounds strange, but it will be more effective, they can just "punish themselves", for example he knows that if he had a bad mark at school - no video games, or no walk out, or no friends coming in, etc. And no yelling at them, your sad word and disapproval should be enough. And everybody should be punished equally(between you and me, it's not a real punishment, just attempt to reinforce responsibilities in a big family). It's not easy but it's more effective, than shouting at each other and wasting your nerves and your childrens', harvesting hidden agression, anger and who knows what in their undeveloped souls. But you need a plan, and ability to follow it without unnecessary fight and stress and anger(the hardest part). Everybody has to have their chores and do it. Around the house, it's imperative! You cannot possibly do all cooking and cleaning for them. They have to do it. Good way or bad way at first, they will learn and fast and eventually will do it better than you. But you have to follow your rules too. And the first one will be: no shouting at them under no circumstances! You have to learn to talk - they -  to listen, not to fear, - listen.

  3. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 9 years ago

    Just some thoughts (and I don't have anyone else's kids in my life, and I know there will be plenty who disagree with these thoughts)...

    First, when my son was young (elementary school age), if he did something that warranted it, I'd have him go to his room.  Well, he loved being in his nice room.  It had a little television, a lot of his books and toys, etc.  So, for him, being in there was a chance to really take the time to enjoy the books, tv, and toys.  (The living room tv wasn't on very much, so he had a chance to watch as long as he wanted when he was off in his room with the door shut.)  Answer to that problem:  I removed the tv.  When he was being "exiled" to his room, he generally wasn't in there or else was there to sleep.  The tv had been a nice extra, in case there was one thing or another he may want to watch.  So, anyway, when it turned out he got to the use tv more when he was sent in there, I took it out.  That's what I'd do with the video game thing too.

    Personally, I think there are some things that are the "the business of one child and his parent" that have to stay that way.  I don't think your boyfriend's kid's homework ought to be your responsibility or concern.  If he works (the way so many parents do), he needs to deal with whether or not his kid does his homework when he's home.  I think the same applies to your kids.  Maybe I'm "odd" (or something), but I really don't think your your boyfriend has any place disciplining or otherwise putting his two cents in on your child (EXCEPT when it comes to some rule about the house and/or behavior in the house in general).  There's a difference between whether a child does his homework and whether he puts his sneakers on the new couch when the "house rule" is "no sneakers on the new couch".  A "house" kind of rule might be, "We expect all kids in by 9:00 at the latest."  That's a shared rule, and I think it's up to each parent to get his own kid(s) to follow that kind of rule.

    When you live in a family, sometimes there are things like, "everybody do his own laundry" or "everybody make his own bed".  I think, "everybody take care of his own kid's personal and school business" isn't a bad policy.

    If the other parent is around, he'll have to deal with his responsibilities when he gets back.  If necessary, maybe he can let the child go with other "real" parent until as another option.  If one parent isn't home,and a kid acts up when it comes to one of the "house" rules (rather than "personal/school business" things, the parent should address it when he gets home; or else the non-parent should call the parent home and tell him the kid is acting up.

    When my three kids were young their father worked a lot, wasn't all that comfortable with little kids, and (I guess) assumed I knew what I was doing.  So, I was a single parent when it came to caring for them supervising homework, doctors, and telling them right from wrong.  Their father was there for a little fun after dinner, and we'd all be together on the weekends as a family.  It's completely possible for one person to "graciously" be the one who deals with the responsibilities of the kids without it seeming at all weird.  Nobody has to say, "I'm the one to report to for your homework."  It can be just of natural that one parent (or the only parent) just kind of let the kid knows he's there to do the supervising and handle any consequences of "wrong doing".

    When it comes to any house/house behavior rules you and your boyfriend can agree on them as a team, and you let the kids know what they are as a team.  It's only if one kid or another doesn't follow those few, basic, house rules when his own parent could deal with it.

    I just think that kind of plan would free up then non-parent from responsibilities he shouldn't have, prevent over-stepping over bounds (especially in each child's eyes), and free up the non-parent for more pleasant interaction with the kids/family.

    There's conflict that doesn't have to be there, because one person is putting is two cents in how the other person's kid is being disciplined; and the other person has "inherited" the disciplining of a kid who isn't hers, when she's got her own kid to deal with.  If each parent disciplines his own kid, the kids can usually understand "Fred is Stevie's Daddy.  I'm your Mommy.  Stevie is 9.  You're 6.  Things won't always be equal."

  4. KCMama profile image59
    KCMamaposted 9 years ago

    We have a blended family - I have 2 children and together we have 1.  We have been together for 14yrs and married for 12yrs.  I went into the relationship knowing that this could be an issue and simply stated that if he was going to be a part of my life he had to love my children as his own.  If he could not do that then it would not work.  early on I had to call him on it a few times, especially with the oldest.  But it was not long and most people have no idea that he is the step-parent.  It is not about whose kid is whom's.  It is about raising people together.  Loving the ones that are in your home, no matter what. Therapy for all of you might help, but you are all going to have to get on the same page with this.  It has to be in the heart first before any books or advice on how will work.  If you love this man you will love his children.  If this man loves you he will love your children.  Regardless from what relationship they come from.  They are all apart of each of you, together.


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