Blended Family Rules And Boundaries

Written by Jana Angeles 

It can take time to settle in a blended family and it’s definitely not an easy path to bunch up the kids together and expect them to get along. Setting family rules and boundaries can help your children understand what is expected from them. Though parents coming from different households have followed their own set of rules, things will change once a family becomes blended. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does take a while to adjust for children that have been used to their own routines and lifestyles.  

Make sure there is a line of open communication between your partner, your children and stepchildren. Try not to implement rules without the input of everybody. This way, you’ll feel like everyone has made a collaborative effort when it comes to family rules and boundaries. So, what are the main tips you should follow when implementing these? 

Follow Rules Similar in Both Households 

Your children and your stepchildren have different views when it comes to rules. They may have come from a strict or lenient background. If you want both of them to adjust accordingly, create rules that share the same core ones they followed in their previous household. This will save time and conflict on how things were done previously and your stepchildren will appreciate your consideration when it comes to these rules. Ensure that the rules are fair and can be followed by all of the children.   

Be Patient When It Comes To Everyone Adjusting 

It’s not going to be easy moving in with children you don’t know very well so try not to be forceful and demand too much when certain rules are broken. It saves a lot of stress and drama being patient with everyone, so try not to place such high expectations on everyone to follow these rules. Again, communication is key and always be open when it comes to discussing matters of the heart with your partner. If you feel like you aren’t being heard or their children are being spiteful towards you, tell them about your concerns and work together to find ways in which all the children can get along in the household.   

Implement Rules That Focus On Safety And Respect 

Blended families are no different to other families; rules should always aim to focus on safety and respect. It’s not hard to be kind to each other and if you feel like your stepchildren are being cruel to you and your children due to jealousy or other reasons, try not to take it personally. At the end of the day, your goal is to help them reach clarity about the situation while also being honest and kind to them. If they see this in you, hopefully in due time they will become open of the new situation and be less spiteful of you and your children. Respect and safety go hand-in-hand, so hopefully in time they will understand why they were implemented in the first place.   

Make The Rules Visible 

Whether it’s writing them on a whiteboard in the living room or putting them down on paper and displaying them on the fridge, making the rules visible can give your kids a daily reminder that they are there and that they need to be followed. Put them in a place where they can see it on a regular basis. Hopefully they will see the rules before they make a bad choice such as picking a fight with another sibling, not tidying up after themselves or adapting lazy habits. Making the rules visible can help them make better decisions and learn about actions and consequences efficiently. 

Ask Your Children What Rules They Think Are Fair  

Getting the children’s opinions when it comes to the rules can be an efficient way to overcome any obstacle you may face with one another. This can be because they have a say on how the rules can be better improved accordingly. It’s important to ask them if they are fair because it gives them better control of what their ideal household rules should be. It also gives them the opportunity to find ways to adhere to the specifics and better relate to the rules as well. 

In conclusion, blended family rules and boundaries aren’t any different. As long as your children respect everyone in the household, you shouldn’t run into drastic problems. However, it will take time in the long run for everybody to adjust so don’t have such high expectations in place when everyone has had a chance to settle down for a while. You need to be patient and respect to the situation; let it flow naturally and have faith that your blended family dynamics are well-developed!