By Jodie Lynn
This is the first time my new husband and I will have our blended family under one roof for the upcoming school year. When discussing homework the other night with the kids, I realized my husband and his ex-wife had some very different rules than what I have for my own two kids. How's the best way for us to figure out how to mesh these without upsetting our new family and each other?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Talk the situation over with your new husband and also with his ex-wife. Their input will be extremely helpful in this matter. Your step-children will look to their parents for positive reactions and not to you. Believe me, I have been there and know firsthand it can become an uphill battle. - P. G. in Janesville, WI
The challenge can come from several places, such as the ages of the children, their activities after school, when dinner is eaten, what chores the children are responsible for, how much downtime they are allowed, etc. As kids get older and add more activities to their school year schedules, their own personal lives can become quite hectic. Then, there's also their individual personalities and learning styles and you may even have special needs to look after. Overachievers are pretty much pooped from brain overload and definitely need a break after school. Children who have learning disabilities need more time to do assignments and may need mini breaks after even one assignment. Procrastinators may need to have a watchful eye on them completing their homework. Some children are more into visual learning while others need to have more audio, among other examples. Once you and your husband have identified these critical points, you can then discuss what might work best for each child. Since they are all separate individuals with a wide array of needs, they may need to have totally different habits pertaining to schoolwork and varied, reasonable expectations from your husband, his ex-wife and yourself pertaining to what is the best plan for each one. The goal is to have each child be as successful as possible without constant worry that they are following the right set of rules.
CAN YOU HELP?
Although my soon-to-be ex-husband and I have been separated for one year, my daughters are very upset with me because their dad and I are now getting a divorce. It makes me quite angry that I appear as the bad guy in their eyes. When and how should I try to answer their questions and concerns?
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