On July 1st my boyfriend and I combined families into a new home, while his kids live with their mother for residential purposes they are with us three weekends a month so we still needed to be sure to address how we would parent five children together; his and mine. Communication is one of the most important factors when you are working to blend two families together and is an important part of a healthy relationship. Both my boyfriend and I were acutely aware that we needed to find a middle ground to parent our five children together.
I have parented my children with a positive parenting approach all of their lives so they are used to my rules, and while I am pretty much a big kid and very lenient there are some things that are simply important in keeping that parental boundary up with your children. My boyfriend wanted to be both the parent and friend all of his children’s lives but struggled with finding the happy medium that I had found as a parent wanting the same result. This alone is why we work so well together, he can see how I approach situations and set rules makes sense; I am all about give and take, teaching kids respect, trust and allowing kids to have an open forum in my home. I would much prefer to have built a strong relationship with my kids so that in the future when big deal issues arise they will not be afraid to turn to me for answers, advice and support.
Prior to moving in together my boyfriend and I came to a middle ground with parenting, the issue is that his kids are not used to many rules. It’s been a difficult transition as we when discussed how we would do things it involved poster board in a common family area in our new house with lists of house rules, and we have yet to create this poster board. We have yet, in two weeks, to been able to sit down and truly implement how we planned to parent our children together in this home as a family unit, but are going to take time this coming weekend to really get implementation started.
Here are some ideas we have put together to keep a happy, healthy home with boundaries, happy kids and teach our kids responsibility as well as consequences;
- Create house rules poster board; this will cite all rules including TV shows that are not permitted to be watched by any child in this home, language usage by children that is appropriate, use of positive words are accepted in this home but not negatively putting down anyone else, walk away when you feel overwhelmed, appropriate bed times per age group and rules on electronics usage … just to name a few.
- Create chore Charts based on Age Groups; this will list out chores for the three older kids (my daughter and his two) that they will be expected to complete when they are here. My younger two boys will have their own list of age appropriate chores on another poster board. Since the older three are here half the time or so, then they will have chores to do but not be expected to do so many chores that they are unable to have fun while here.
- Be consistent, Firm and to the point; no more explaining the whys behind saying NO, we are the parents and all children in the house need to understand that as parents we can just say no because we simply feel that’s the best answer, there is no need to get into an explanation to your child about why you said no. Especially when said child feels they deserve, need and expect an explanation for the word no.
- Create Consequence Board; a poster board will be created listing out consequences for actions, this will help both parents stay on track with being consistent, firm and to the point as well as working together instead of apart from each other.
- Hang All boards in a common room area for all children to see. Sit down and explain this is our family rules, consequences and expectations of all in our family and place boards in common area of home for daily reference if need be by both parents and children.
You see, my boyfriend’s children are amazing kids but they really have been raised differently and like most co-parenting children each home is slightly different or extremely different. While it’s recommended that co-parents work together to establish similar parenting rules across households to alleviate transitional issues with the kids it’s not always how life works. This is our way of working together to implement structure ito our home so that we can all love each other as a new formed family unit, and help make transitions from one parents house to ours slightly easier.