Re: Advice on Blended Families needed
We have a blended family with 5 x teens that pretty much all do 50/50 with their other bio parent. So keeping in mind my kids were similar ages to yours at the time then the below is what we did.
We sought professional guidance before even meeting each others kids. ALL advice was to wait until we were together at least 12 months before introducing anyone.
We waited close to 3 years before moving in together. This is really important if you want things to have the best chance of working out. Do not rush the kids and make sure your relationship is better than excellent as blending families is tenfold harder than a primary relationship. So much to consider and be aligned on, financial, ex's etc.
Before even meeting each other kids we had hours of discussion on all aspects of step parenting. We are both 100% on the same page with the set up, neither of us disciplines the others children, if he has an issue with something one of mine said or did then he comes to me and I sort it out with my child, visa versa.
Many people set themselves and the kids up for failure when they try to parent instead of step parent. Children will kick against it if a step parent tries to discipline them, it creates a really bad vibe and some of these rifts will never be healed.
Step parents are bonus adults, they will never be the same as a bio parent and neither should they (unless the child has lost their bio parent). The thing many don't see is that the role of step parent can actually be a really positive and rewarding role, much like a grand parent. You are there for the child but you can have a relationship without conflict if you do not try and be the parent.
Our kids ALL have their own rooms, we built a new home together to accommodate everyone. We have a huge house, 4 bathrooms, multiple living areas, home theatre etc so there is plenty of room for the kids to have friends over and have privacy.
Everyone in our home has equity when it comes to rights and responsibilities. Respect is non negotiable.
There are 2 major relationship killers when it comes to blended families, money and children. Our financial set up is pretty much water tight as we are a high income/ high asset family and inheritance to our own bio kids is super important to both MrH and I. It is really important that these things are sorted well before considering blending families, it is much harder than many think and should not be entered into lightly.