Step Parenting Question – Rules

I love my kids. I love the KoD’s kids. I love each one of the seven assorted children differently. They all have different personalities and need different parts of who I am at different times. Any parent worth their salt knows that you cannot parent each child the same way. It just doesn’t work. BUT there are certain things that hold hard and fast no matter the temperament of the child. Things such as House Rules.

I don’t believe in there being different sets of rules for his kids and my kids, for the kids that live there full time, and those that just visit occasionally. I know in some blended families that is done, but I cannot operate that way. That really doesn’t help the kids to all integrate into one big happy blended family. By the time we are all together under one roof I want us all to have an idea of what the rules are.

How do we enforce these house rules especially when some of the rules may not be in play in their other homes? How do we answer “my mom/dad lets me do that / doesn’t make me do it”?

What are acceptable House Rules? so far I have :

  • Speak respectfully to both parents and all siblings at all times
  • Keep your hands and feet to yourself
  • If you have a problem with someone talk to the parents
  • No friends over when parents are not home or are resting
  • No TV on a school night
  • Bedrooms must be kept neat at all times
  • Homework must be done before computer games are played
  • No door slamming

What rules do you have in your home? How do you enforce them? Are you a blended family? How is that working for you?

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14 Comments

  1. shorty says:

    I think my inlaws (who are a blended family 2 kids each) were having trouble with meals. everyone picky about their own. I think the rule was, only one dinner made my Mama. If you don’t like, make your own (includes dish washing after) or don’t eat.

    There was also kitchen duty rotation.

  2. The Birth Whisperer says:

    I let my kids have friends over even if I’m resting. And since we went TV free 2+ years ago we don’t have to worry about that rule:)

    • hadassahsabo says:

      but BW you have older kids….if it was just your littlest one in the house and you were resting would you trust him to be alone with a friend?

      • The Birth Whisperer says:

        no but I would trust my 8 year old

        • hadassahsabo says:

          my worry is that if we had all 7 kids at home and they each had one or two friends over while we were resting, that the place would be trashed (not that any resting would happen with that amount of friends in the house…lol)

  3. YC says:

    Where possible bring kids into process, have regular family meetings where this stuff/rues are discussed.

    We rotate who chairs the meeting, best meetings were chaired by my 3.5 yr old.

  4. shoshi says:

    # No friends over when parents are not home or are resting
    # No TV on a school night
    # Bedrooms must be kept neat at all times
    # Homework must be done before computer games are played

    I think all those are very specific and therefore I understand if step children do not want to abide by them, especially if they were not asked before setting them up.

    I would organise a family conference and set up rules in a democratic way,where ev eryone has his say.

    It is also imagninable to have a special set of rules that applies to everyone when they are present.

  5. shoshi says:

    If I understand you all right, you are moving in with KoD.

    In principle, this means that YOU have to abide by the “house rules” that were in force before you came.

    Be very carefull about imposing new rules, this could provoke quite a lot of resentment and hostility.

    It is perfectly OK if you tell your own children what they have to do, since they are “under your jurisdiction”.

    However, don’t try to do the same with KoD’s children.

    Not so long ago, you had a rant about other people trying to educate your children. Well, the situation is not so much different here (when you try to educate KoD’s children).

    So I think it is really best to organise a family conference and to find a consensus.

    But even in a family conference, you have to watch that your stepchildren are not crushe. For example, you could give them one more vote (since your children are 4 and they are 3). Furthermore, it could be that they are not as articulate as you are, so try to listen in the first place and not to do too much talking. (Sometimes, protest is expressed in a muffled way, and it can become a big problem if you are not attentive to it).

  6. joiedekitty says:

    My parents divorced when I was 4, and there was one set of rules at Mom’s house and another at Dad’s house. That never posed a big problem for me. (The few times I asked about it, my mom’s answer was, “Your dad makes the rules at his house and I make the rules at my house”.)

    What turns into a problem really quickly is when the parent and stepparent don’t see eye-to-eye on the house rules, or when the stepparent becomes the primary enforcer of the house rules. Then you develop territory issues (“Who does stepparent think he/she is?! This is my house and I’ve always done things this way and now he/she waltzes in and starts telling me I can’t anymore!”) and the kids can play the two of you off each other.

    So I guess my advice would be for you and KoD to sit down together and come up with a mutually agreeable set of rules. Then present them to the family and let KoD take the lead in enforcing the rules with his kids while you take the lead enforcing the rules with yours. It’s always a bit of a ginger situation at first, but eventually everybody will settle in and adjust to the new status quo.

  7. YC says:

    God started man off with one rule, man broke it, yeah yeah, he blamed
    woman (and man blamed God by implication fo giving him woman). Frankly
    she did not do better, as she pointed her finger at at the snake-no
    no, not man, but a real snake.

    As a side point it is worth noting the women got a punishment but not
    a curse: “Arur”. And but to snake and man God said because you
    listened or because you did- no such language by the woman’s
    punishment. This many be because she was not commanded directly or God
    agreed it was the snake’s (once again the real snake’s) fault.

    So when one rule did not work and no rules did not work we got 7
    rules. Then as a people we got 613 rules.

    So God likes limiting rules in general but made an exception (that is
    a different story).

    In the house (our homes) we should limit the opportunities we give our
    kids to break rules (limit the rules). With that said I did bring the
    following to to a family meeting once and hand it on the fridge.
    Suffice to say it is no longer hanging and OY!

    HOUSE RULES

    1. If you make a mess, clean it up.

    2. If you take it out/move it, put it away

    3. Leave it looking better than you found it.

    4. If you open it, close it.

    5. If you turn it on, turn it off.

    6. If you unlock it, lock it.

    7. If you break it, fix it.

    8. If you can’t fix it, mention it to someone who knows how to fix it.

    9. If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it or improve it.

    10. If you use it, take care of it.

    11. If you don’t accept responsibility for taking care of it,

    don’t expect the privilege of using it.

    12. If it belongs to someone else, ask before you use it.

    13. If you get permission to borrow it, return it.

    14. If you use it all up, replenish it.

    15. If the supply of it is running low, put it on the shopping list.

    16. If you start a fire, put it out.

    17. If you don’t know how to operate it, don’t touch it.

    18. If it doesn’t concern you, don’t mess with it.

    19. If you want it to get done, just do it.

    20. If you don’t know how to do it, learn how.

    21. If you don’t know what to do, ask.

    22. If you don’t like doing it, too bad. Do it anyway.

    This comment has 2 steps- I wrote for Hadassah’s STEP post and I do
    consider myself both a student and grateful to STEP Systematic
    Training for Effective Parenting

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