Here are some examples of how to ease this situation before it gets out of control. Remember that in stepfamilies the kids become siblings, not friends. Siblings want time away from their siblings and don't want to include them in everything. This is healthy for kids to have their own friends, interests and boundaries. In stepfamilies, kids may be forced together, because they are in the same proximity each week. One parent may feel that their child, the one visiting, should be included in all activities, and the child living in the house all week, may not want that because they are trying to maintain their boundaries and space.
Sometimes there is a younger child of one parent, and the other children are older. They might be forced to play with a 5 year old, when they are 12, or be forced to engage in family activities they may not like. This resentment and unhappiness cause the stepfamilies real problems.
Sometimes parents may not see right away how the lack of healthy boundaries affects their children. Here is how to set reasonable and effective boundaries.
Having a stepfamily and bonus children can be a wonderful thing. Parents need to work on their own communication and openness with each other, so that they are on the same page. Parents also need to be aware of the individual needs of the children, and be assertive in expressing their own needs to the children and each other. If you can do the work, it can be well worth the price.
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