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xochitl
xochitl asks:
Q:

I have a blended family. It seems that his and my daughter are becoming distant not to mention his kids dont want to come to visit as much.

My husbands ex, he and I parent differently. At our house the kids have responsibilies and are held accountable. Mine included. His ex (their mother) gives them chores too but has no idea if they are ever done as she rarely follows through. Her husband is limited in his parenting with the kids. Its sort of like all the responsibility but no authority. They talk back to her and if they push enough she caves, as a result his kids would rather be with their mother than us. In addition I think there is some animosity between his 13 yrd old daughter and my 11yr old daughter. They had been close until recent. My daughter is excelling academicaly, athleticaly, musicaly and socially, whereas his daughter is not. In anger he has compared the two to his daughter which made all relationships stressed. Thier mother is completely apposed to counseling which I have suggested for years. My relationship with his kids has become distant as a result of all the issues we have had with them and the way it affects my husband. I keep my interaction with them to a minimum which I know is not very healthy.  I have also heard comments his daughter towards mine and it has increased my distance. What to do?
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Blended families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

ShirleyCressDudley
Jan 10, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hi- You have covered so many topics... I'll try to answer as many as I can.
 
It's O.K. for you and your husband to have different house rules than your stepkid's mom's house.  It's important for you and your spouse to develop your own house rules, along with consequences for not respecting your guidelines.  Kids will push a little, but really do appreciate boundaries and knowing that parents care enough to give them direction (although they don't always articulate this.)
 
Don't discount the limited time your husband has with his kids. Even a noncustodial dad can make a significant difference in his kids if he is consistent and clear in his expectations of them, when they visit (and when he calls them between visits.)
 
As far as the relationship between your daughter and step daughter- the event in which they were compared was unfortunate.  It's hard to be in a situation where you are compared to someone else.  Provide informal opportunities for your blended family to interact and have positive experiences.  Find activities in which no one is compared, but all have fun together.  These activities will help the girls become more comfortable around each other, and also his kids more comfortable around you.
 
I hope this information is helpful to you.  If you really want to work on the issues, and your husband is also interested, you could try coaching for your blended family.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC
Founder of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center (and coach for blended and step families.)

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ShirleyCressDudley
ShirleyCres... , Teacher, Child Professional, Parent writes:
Hi- You have covered so many topics... I'll try to answer as many as I can.

It's O.K. for you and your husband to have different house rules than your stepkid's mom's house.  It's important for you and your spouse to develop your own house rules, along with consequences for not respecting your guidelines.  Kids will push a little, but really do appreciate boundaries and knowing that parents care enough to give them direction (although they don't always articulate this.)

Don't discount the limited time your husband has with his kids. Even a noncustodial dad can make a significant difference in his kids if he is consistent and clear in his expectations of them, when they visit (and when he calls them between visits.)

As far as the relationship between your daughter and step daughter- the event in which they were compared was unfortunate.  It's hard to be in a situation where you are compared to someone else.  Provide informal opportunities for your blended family to interact and have positive experiences.  Find activities in which no one is compared, but all have fun together.  These activities will help the girls become more comfortable around each other, and also his kids more comfortable around you.

I hope this information is helpful to you.  If you really want to work on the issues, and your husband is also interested, you could try coaching for your blended family.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC
Founder of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center (and coach for blended and step families.)
> 60 days ago

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