Patty Moyes Stepkids
Now that you’re married again, you have to decide where to live. My place or yours? Well, it all depends where your children and your step children go to school and where your ex lives (if you have a shared custody situation). If you want to make it easy for your kids, and yourself, remain close to their school and the things they know. They already have to get used to a new family. Don’t make them have to get used to a new school and make new friends.
Keep the changes as small as possible. Keep them in the same activities and sports. Depending on your relationship with your ex and the kids’ schedule with him/her, everyone staying fairly close is ideal.
If your kids and step kids go to the other parent’s house every other week or weekend, keeping the continuity for your children is important. That way, no matter whose house they are, they still have their friends to play with and after-school activities to be involved in. Removing the children from the environment they are comfortable with will only make them feel isolated. If you both live close to each other, they can still make it to birthday parties, events at school, etc. no matter whose weekend it is.
Spending time away from what they know may even lead to feelings of resentment toward the parent and a reluctance to go to their house. If this is the case, don’t take it personally. It’s not that they don’t want to be with you, they just need the things that feel like home and normalcy. It’s understandable not wanting to live in the same city. I mean, who wants to run into their ex’s new girlfriend at the store when you’re wearing sweats and a headband? But living somewhere like a neighboring city where you can still get the children and step children to school would work.
Private school, albeit expensive, gives you the ability to live in any district but you still want to live close enough to the school so that they are not always commuting and can get together with classmates regardless of whose week it is. Private schools in San Bernardino county
What if you both have children and step children going to different schools and have arrangements with your exes? Depending on the kids’ schedules with the other parent, shoot for living as central as possible to everyone. The house is not as important as the well being of your step children and children. You don’t have any equity in it right now anyway, so get going!
Loving your new stepchildren by Patty Moyes
What do you do when you’re in a new marriage and have new step children to take care of? They could be young children or older ones, but there is definitely some blending that has to take place! Well, of course, you said “for better or worse” and sometimes you have to go through “worse” to get to better. It’s difficult to blend step children into a family. They have their parents that they’re attached to and are still testing the waters to see how you’re going to affect those relationship. You ask them to do things and they look at their parent to see if they really have to.
Scenario #1 the kids are all playing and suddenly your child runs in screaming saying that your stepchild has hurt them. Your first instinct is always to protect your child and defend them but this is where problems begin in a marriage. Remember, your spouse’s instinct is also to protect and defend their child. When these power struggles between the children begin, the most important thing you can do is to stay objective. Talking it over with your spouse first before dealing with the children is vital. This way, you can have a united front with the kids and show them you’re a team and you love them all the same.
Treating your stepchildren like your own is a must. Any standard set for your children should be the same standard your stepchildren are held to. Rules and even rewards should also stay the same. Even if your stepchildren go to their other parent’s house and are provided for, your responsibility to them is the same as your own children. If the other parent allows it, driving for school functions, sports, dances, school meetings, etc. should all be a part of taking care of your new kids. Yes, your spouse at first will be the focal point for them and the disciplinarian, however, once you become closer to them, do not continue to leave your spouse to do the bonding or providing. Loving your stepchildren should be a natural consequence of loving your spouse and an extension of your commitment.
Scenario #2 There’s an argument between the children and your spouse sides with his/her child. Nothing can bring division to a home faster than children! First, make sure you’re being objective enough to test whether your spouse’s opinion is justifiable. If not, exploring this subject with your spouse often leads to better understanding between the two of you. He/she may feel the child gets picked on too much.
They may be overcompensating over guilt. Putting guilt and fear to rest is the key to uniting the family as one. One of the biggest obstacles to loving your new children can be your spouse. In the way he/she treats them in contrast to you or your children, with favoritism, and with different expectations from your children. Being easily manipulated by their children, and whether or not your authority is being supported also plays a role. These things can actually cause you to resent your stepchildren.
It is important that you and your spouse come up with a plan. This plan should address all of these issues and how they will be handled and by whom. This should be a contract that is put into place BEFORE you marry. Of course, there will be amendments along the way and trial and error, but the main focus should be how you will handle the children, step children, AND how you will honor the marriage.
Love, love, love. Isn’t that what the Beatles said? Below are some words I’m sure you’ve heard before, maybe even at a wedding ceremony. Let’s take a look and see what the standards are for loving your new children:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. (1Co 13:4-7)
Love is a choice that we make everyday. Feelings fade, but commitment and love are what endure.
Patty Moyes is a blended family writer for the Examiner in San Bernardino, California.
Should Your Stepchildren Call you Mom? by Patty Moyes
One topic that invariably comes up with blended families is the issue of what the new stepchildren will call the new parent. Many parents want their children to call their new spouse ‘mom’ or ’dad’. Is this O.K.? The answer can always be found in the heart. Do you really want the best thing for your children? If so, we have to let go of our fears, insecurities, or good old fashioned selfishness and give them the choice.
Coercing a child to call the step parent any specific name can lead to anxiety and, perhaps, guilt. It was not the child’s fault that you got a divorce and the child was not responsible for your choice in having a new mate (Sometimes the children are not even consulted on the matter!) Since this is the case, the best you can do is to help your child make the transition as easy as possible.
If your child wants to call your new spouse or, heaven forbid, your ex’s new spouse ‘mom’ or ‘dad, you must let the child make the decision. He/she may want to call them by their first name if they are not that comfortable, or they may choose to call them their parent out of the need to have a complete family unit or masculine/feminine role represented in that household. If the child feels bad or guilty for calling the new spouse by ‘mom’ or ‘dad’, a special name may be chosen, such as one you would use for grandparents, aunts, and uncles i.e.mima, etc.
Whether you have to go scream and cry it out in your room, the fact of the matter is you have to do the right thing by your children and provide a nurturing environment for them to flourish in the divorced and blended family situations. Don’t worry; they’ll never forget who mom and dad really are whether that’s a good or bad thing!
Bio - Patty Moyes resides in Corona, California with her husband and blended family of four children. She writes about blended families to give insight, and hope to those needing advice on establishing and enjoying their family. You may e-mail Patty at firstname.lastname@example.org.