Chaos in our Blended Family

>> Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the early years (OK, for almost a decade), our house was pure chaos on the weekends my stepkids were here. My stepson was acting out BIG time and despite anything we did, we could not get support from his mother to help him. We were left on our own and, of course, met with criticism from the ex because we were too strict (giving consequences like sending him to his room or taking away video games was too strict). We never hit him. He was angry, aggressive and became violent many times.

We had basic rules (bedtime, no hitting, clearing plate from the table, cleaning bedroom, using manners at the table) and gave consequences when the rules weren't followed. He never felt he had to abide by our rules. We eventually posted rules and consequences so they were clear (hoping it'd help). There could be no confusion for him (or any of our children who we were trying to teach basic manners and respect for themselves and other people). Again, we were criticized. We were at our wit's end with his behavior and with his mother's behavior. His mother had it in his head that we were singling him out (like we let the rest of our crew run wild but we made him tow the line). It made it worse because he misbehaved and his mother excused it away for him.

When he hit, we gave him consequences. His mother would get upset because he was being grounded but the other kids weren't. The other kids weren't hitting, bloodying noses, etc. Why would we ground them for something he did? It made no sense to us! My stepson tried to stomp on his infant sister's head. Were we supposed to ground the baby too?

I still have posted rules so the kids know what is expected of them - ALL of the kids. Since my kids are here 99% of the time by themselves now that we are on a long distance schedule with my teenage stepkids, they are mostly for our own children now. I guess we weren't just posting them to single my stepson out eh? They are quite basic though after reading a sample of Scott Gale's family constitution, I am wondering if something like this would help organize our busy lives a little better. Lately it feels like with all the different extra-curricular activities and other responsibilities, we are a "Type A" family at the moment and I'm not liking that at all. I've never been a Type A anything! I feel like I have all these balls in the air and it's only a matter of time before one of them drops.


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