Parenting Stepsisters and Stepbrothers
Any combination of his, hers, and our children adds up to a challenging parenting task. Among the many possible issues are differences in styles of discipline, ways of expressing affection, housekeeping standards, levels of family togetherness, assignment of chores, money management, the roles of the other biological parent and grandparents, and the relative closeness of relationships between siblings as well as stepsiblings. A good source of help is your local chapter of the Stepfamily Association of America (
New relationships between stepsiblings are often conflicted, with issues such as sharing a room, meals, and chores among the most difficult. You can encourage better relationships, but these tensions are harder for stepparents to affect. Still, positive family activities and meals together along with a family culture of safety and mutual respect go a long way toward stabilizing the home atmosphere. Again, have realistic expectations and give these relationships sufficient time to evolve. Some blended families employ regular family meetings to deal with conflicts, planning chores, and family activities.
At all times, support your partner in his dealings with his and/or your children, so that the two of you present clear boundaries for everyone's behavior. If you have disagreements about discipline, air them privately and present your decisions together. Some families elect to have each biological parent administer the discipline with his or her child, but this is a matter of choice. The important factor is unity as parents, and by extension, as a family.