Should my step kids come and go with friends to my house whenever they want without having to check if it's ok?
My fiancé and I have two children, one and three, and he has two other children sixteen and seventeen who come to visit. We always fight because he believes his teenagers are old enough to come and go as they please with their boyfriends and friends without having to check with me if it's ok. His kids are are always welcome but I like to know when they are coming or prefer set days. My fiancé hates to tell them no and resents me when he has to but I have two babies and work part time and just find no pre-warning a little overwhelming and stressful. I love my fiancé but he hates me over this. What do I do? Do I just sacrifice the way I like my house to keep peace and deal with my own emotions? Am I wrong to want routine? He says his kids are not made feel welcome because they always have to check with me and at their mother's they can do what they want whenever and she does not have two young babies. I am confused but it is tearing us apart.
Yes- I agree it's helpful to know when the step-kids are visiting. But, if it's not possible or your fiance isn't supporting the kids calling ahead- then here's what I would recommend.
If the kids just show up- then no special arrangements are made. If didn't plan on dinner for 6- and don't have enough- invite them to choose things from the pantry they can fix themselves. Don't change your plans, if you are working or have other plans with the kids. Explain to your husband that if it's not possible for them to give notice, then they can jump into any pre-planned activity you already have going (if it works for you) but will not have any special arrangements made or catering done at the last minute for them.
Another option is to create a set of family rules and guidelines: expectations that you and your fiance would like for everyone in your family to adhere to. Include giving notice for visits or other plan changes.
Just tell your husband you want the kids to feel welcome, and are more prepared (with food, activities and time) when you have some notice. He can explain that to the kids.
Good luck. Blended families are tough, but worth the extra efforts.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Executive Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Author of the best selling book, Blended Family Advice
Generally the good thing is that the children ask you for permission. It is the right thing to do.
I would together with their dad have a family forum in which you and he explain some house rules so that all the nastiness is avoided. It helps to arrange for extra guests at mealtimes.
A good relationship will encourage politeness and courtesy and a respect for all concerned. It is better now to talk about these issues before you get married as this already seems to be creating anxiety on your part and animosity on his.
Routine is good. You are right in your expectations. Your fiance needs to stand by you on this one aspect.