Different Rules for Different Kids – a good idea or a road to disaster?

So my husband and I have slightly different philosophies when it comes to blending. I think he wants us to seem like one seamless family immediately, and I am still comfortable with the fact that it may take a long time. One place where these two divergent philosophies sometimes are at odds is with rules for the kids.

When a couple has kids together, they gradually agree upon the rules of the house. Most likely (if they have their wits about them) they come to an agreement about the rules before the kids even sense weakness, I mean realize there may be too different opinions on the rule. When a couple is on a second marriage, the initial rules were set with somebody else. Which means our kids entered this blended family with two different sets of rules and they are old enough and smart enough to figure that out.

Now my husband would very much like us to come to our own agreements on rules so that the kids who all live under one roof share the same rules. We both know that is not always possible – for example, Julia has a different bedtime than Addison. Since one is nearly 17 and one just turned 7, we can easily explain that. my husband simply wants to have very good reasons for why there might be different rules for different kids and the “you’re of vastly different ages” is one such logical reason. My husband would like to avoid “because Debbie is not your real mom” or “I am not Justin’s real dad” being given as a reason. And I do understand that.

However, once in a blue moon, we come to a place where the bio parent outside of our relationship sets up a rule that I cannot abide by. The latest example is that our 14-year old (who is about to turn 15) wants to skip school on her birthday. She wants to go do community service with her mom that day. Now, though I am a big fan of community service, I am not sure why she needs to skip school to do it. I am sure there are plenty of worthy organizations that need help on the weekend or in the evenings. And of course my fear is that once the other kids hear this plan they too will decide they wish to skip school on their birthdays. Since bio mom is sanctioning it with Kurstin, my hands are somewhat tied. And I suspect if Kurstin does it, I will not have much of a leg to stand on with Taylor and Landon and Addison. BUT if Justin thinks he will be skipping school with his parents’ permission, he’s got another think coming. And when he says to me, “But it was okay for Kurstin to do it. Why can’t I do it?” I am not quite sure what my answer will be, but if it comes to it I reserve the right to say “Because your mom says no.”

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About bradybonusmom

I recently combined my family (me and my 7-yr old son) with another family (dad and five kids). Needless to say, this has thrown us into a whole new world. We look a lot like the Brady Bunch - except we don't have an Alice.
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One Response to Different Rules for Different Kids – a good idea or a road to disaster?

  1. Karaboo says:

    Totally agree with you on setting rules across the board. However, I think in the case of skipping school for community service needs to be looked at a little deeper.

    Are they missing school for other things less worthy? If not, then let them have that one day. Why? Because there are bigger things to stress about in a blended family. Make it up to the other kid in a different way if you don’t feel comfortable letting him skip.

    I’m the disciplinarian in the family (stepmom) and I wouldn’t let the kids just skip for anything, but I wouldn’t stress about this and would be ok with it. Heck, I’d love it if my bio-mom even considered community service on her radar!!!

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