As we try to blend our families, we tend to be a little overly sensitive to our children’s emotions. Afraid that they will not like each other or get along, afraid they may complain to their other parent and shed a bad light on your home, whatever the reasons, we all do it. You get upset when they are fighting, and you and your spouse run to the rescue to stop it. You’re trying so hard for everyone to get along, that you walk on eggshells to not rock the boat. You don’t want to side with your own children too much or else the new children will feel you have favorites, and you can’t side with your stepchildren too much or your own will feel rejected, right? Wrong! If you truly want to blend a family, your heart needs to be ready. You have to let them know that your household is one family and that they are now brothers and sisters and there is no difference between them.
Yes, that’s right: Let them fight!
Just as you would with your own children, when the siblings fight, you help them resolve it by talking with them and treating them all as your own. Letting them work things out is the beginning of their own bonds. If the children are older, of course, this is a bit more difficult so there needs to be a lot more talking because they have spent a lot of their growing years without the new stepchildren. Name-calling, toy stealing, pinching, etc. is all going to happen when they’re living together. You and your spouse have to be prepared for this and make sure you’re not jumping in to save your own. All disciplinary actions have to be across the board for all. Rules have to be set and lines drawn. When anyone crosses that line, they pay the price. No favorites!
What about privacy? Well, privacy issues are very important and we need to establish those rules and show our children that we do respect their privacy. However, when your children are very little (under 5), it’s ok for them to share rooms, change in front of each other, and bathe together. If they are always kept separate, they will fell separate from each other. The family bond develops by living life together, and this is what you must do is let them live life together without you standing between them as a shield. As long as they're all loved and treated the same, they"ll love each other as might as they fight!