By Jodie Lynn
My current husband's kids do not get along very well with my own. This Christmas will be the first time that all of us will be together during the holidays. What are some things I can do to help them get along better so that we can have a nice time instead of arguing during the two weeks that they are here?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Kids are always going to argue amongst themselves over something. It's just harder when there's a blended family, especially if not everyone lives in the same house. It will be extremely important for you and your husband to be a united front in every situation. When my mom got remarried, I made sure that I made my new step-dad's life a living hell hoping that he would leave. If kids think that they can manipulate their parents or members of their blended family to get what they want, they will. - P. S. in Nashville, TN
If possible, try to get the kids together at least once or twice a month. You do something with one of your kids and one of his kids and vice-versa for your husband. Put the ones that seem not to get along with each other on the same outing. What you will be doing is separating them with a non-sibling and allowing them to work on their own challenges without an adult getting involved. Kids need to be able to work out as much conflict on their own, unless it turns into a heated situation. You two need to listen to what they have to say to each other and to you. Once the kids go home, the two of you compare notes. Right now you may think that the kids don't like each other, when in fact it could very well be jealously or something else. Before they go home, do something as a blended family that can eventually turn into a family tradition including all of the kids. For example, allow one child to pick out what kind of meal they would like to have. Perhaps suggest theme dinners and take turns with who gets to choose. Maybe one night one of them will choose Chinese. Try to have the table and surrounding area geared for this type of theme. Offer trivia facts geared toward their ages. By getting started with this plan as soon as possible, hopefully, it will give all of them time to work out any hiccups amongst them before the holidays. Plus, theme dinners can become a family tradition. It's not going to be an easy situation to endure. In the beginning, you will most likely hear all the normal complaints and arguments. Nevertheless, it'll all be worth it in the end to have peace throughout the year and on special occasions.
CAN YOU HELP?
My husband and I have four little girls and he has one daughter from a previous marriage. We moved across the country to be with his mom, who is getting older and needs help, and also so he can visit with his daughter. His ex-wife has made it very difficult for him to actually be in her life and he's really taking it hard. Should I personally try to help with their situation by talking to his ex-wife or even to his mom who gets to see her more often than he does?
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