Question:How do you handle a living situation when your step-children are only at your home every other weekend or 4 days a month? We have one child together and my spouse believes his biological children should still have their own rooms even though they are only being occupied 4 days a month. Therefore, taking away from space that can be used for other purposes for those of us who live in the home full time. This also creates a financial burden of having a larger home in order to give the children their own separate rooms.
Answer:There is a lot of information missing here. But “Children First” is the principle we can easily ignore. We remarry knowing our new spouse had children and yet ignore the package that comes with them. Get creative! I believe that the children should feel welcomed but the room doesn’t have to be totally dedicated to them. When they are in your home the room is “theirs” and should be referred to as such. Appropriate privacy is important for them. When they leave the room can be used for multiple purposes. The attitude of the bio and stepparent is crucial. Trundle beds, folding beds, etc., are examples of being flexible. Most important: the children are already wondering where they belong and are the ones living between two worlds.
Question:My husband buys birthday and Christmas gifts for his kids but always says he doesn’t have money when it comes to my kids. How do I address this?
Finances are the #2 problem in stepfamilies that leads to re-divorce. The first question is; do you have a financial plan that you put together? And, does it address how money will be spent on the kids? It is normal to be more invested in our bio-children. Bonding with stepchildren can take years, so unrealistic expectations up front can get in the way of step-relationship development.
Another aspect is exploring attitudes toward money. Finances can be the “playground” for power and control issues. Searching one’s own heart is important to see if I’m contributing anything to this struggle – or what part of the problem am I? Finally, it is the bio-parent’s responsibility to see that the needs of their own children are met – at whatever level.