QWC - Blended Families
I’m a Northrop Grumman employee and a divorced Dad with two children, ages 7 and 12. I recently remarried a woman who has three children (ages 8, 14 and 16). I’m very happy to be remarried and ready to begin again with our “blended” family. The problem is I have always been very structured and disciplined with my children. My new wife is much more lax than I am and her children don’t have restrictions on cell phone use, television watching, videogame playing or regular bedtimes. I want to have a peaceful and comfortable household, yet I feel strongly that my children need limits on these activities —the truth is I think her children should have limits as well. How should I handle this?
New Blended Dad
Dear Blended Dad:
First, you are to be commended for recognizing at this early stage that you and your new wife have different parenting styles. This will affect how you set up a household with rules that apply to both sets of children. The first thing is to talk to your wife without the children present and discuss the differences in household rules and see if you can agree on some common rules, especially for those children who are close in age. You both must honor each other’s parenting styles, even if they are different from your own. Most important is that you and your wife always present a calm, united and respectful approach in front of your children.
If you are having difficulty establishing a set of house rules with your wife, you may want to contact Northrop Grumman’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP provides up to 8 confidential counseling sessions at no cost to you. Trained, professional and licensed professionals can work with you and your wife to communicate more effectively, to resolve and compromise on your differences and help establish a happy household for all of your children.
You can call the EAP at 1-800-982-8161. It is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week at no cost to you.