russellnewton asks:

Respect and some help from new blended family

Having problems fitting in as the stepfather.
Always biting my tongue when it comes to discipline.
Trying to get my 2 new step sons to do anything is such an effort, they do nothing around the home to help either one of us unless it benefits them in some way.
The boys are 21 and 16.
Their mother (my new wife) sides with them on every occasion whether right or wrong.
We both work and are trying to renovate the family home while I go to school part time.
Normally I clean the kitchen majority of the time as I don't cook often and share the laundry and tidying up duties.
I find the more I do, the more I'm taken for granted.
Have decided to change my ways and actually do less as the other approach does not work.
I now will not do the kitchen cleaning and have said to my wife I have left this to the boys.
Cannot talk to them about it as I think they are still too young and consider this trivial from myself and it's just me complaining.
The eldest does work part time, 2-3 6 hrs shifts a week, the other is still at school.
Can't talk to my wife either as she sides with her boys.
She has previously spoiled them and was doing everything for them.
So as the boys she thinks it's just me being hard on her boys.
Is this the right approach as the other way is not working?
Just want a little help as at the moment. I feel like it's one versus three and yes have tried to talk to my wife but she too thinks this is trivial.
I so want this marriage to work but I'm not a slave.

In Topics: Blended families
> 60 days ago



Oct 26, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Blended families are tough, and sometimes everyone doesn't know their new role in the new family. It's time for you and your wife to create some new Family Rules/Guidelines.  These rules are designed for anyone living in your home (21 or not) and eating your food, etc.

Sit down and discuss priorities with your mate. Create a list of guidelines for the kids.  Here are some ideas:
-Treat everyone with kindness and respect
-Keep your own area clean
-Help with meals, or clean up meals
-Do your assigned chores each week (and create a list of chores for each child)

Gather everyone together, after you and your partner have created these guidelines, and go over it with them. If she is the biological parent of both boys- then let her take the lead, with you supporting her.  With the guidelines should also come a list of consequences, both negative and positive (and developmentally age appropriate.)

Then, the burden isn't on you. Everyone is informed of the mom and dad (in this house) expectations, and everyone clearly knows if these expectations have been met each week.

Good luck, and make sure any disagreements between you and your spouse are discussed in private.

I wish you the very best.

Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Founder and Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
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Additional Answers (2)

Jiff , Student writes:
You should sit down with just the boys, and have a nice talk with them. Maybe take them golfing, camping, ask their ideas?
> 60 days ago

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JamielaIsmail , Teacher writes:
Hi there,
Blended families are tough.  Rightfully all in the household should be doing chores. You are NOT a slave.

I suggest you speak to your wife about your concerns and decide on how to approach the boys.  I agree with the "expert" that your wife speaks to them with you at her side.  You are now one body and should handle issues as one body.  The boys will see that you both mean business.  They can easily sense something is wrong between the 2 of you if you are not united on this matter.

The boys are old enough to do their share and if it means starting with their own spaces - rooms then let that be a start.  Neither mom nor you does anything in their space.

The rest of the chores - spell out the chores and let them choose and have a rotation of doing the dishes.  There are consequences for chores not done.  Even if they earn a salary otherwise suggest he tries living on his own and become independent.

Weekends THEY can cook even if it is making sandwiches.

Spend time with your wife, spend time with the boys and spend time together as a family and in each of these times bring out the best and also the concerns.  Go to church together - there is nothing like spiritual uplifting to keep a family together.

I wish you well and keep the door for communication open.
> 60 days ago

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