Favoritism in a Blended Family

by on February 15th, 2011
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According to statistics, one in three households is a blended family. Most of these households have children from both sides. With visiting schedules such as they are there will be frequent times where both sets of children will be living in the same household. Children will squabble and many will think that the other child is the favorite child. It’s an easy trap to fall into with no easy solutions.

Learning Curve

Many times it is easy to favor one’s own children over the stepchildren. After all, you knew your own children before you met your stepchildren. You have raised them as you saw fit and know their every freckle.

They have grown up with you and they know your rules and generally comply with them. Given this much detail, why wouldn’t you favor your own children? I mean how can you even be sure your stepchildren are telling you the truth? The answer is to learn about them, their likes and dislikes, and get to know them.

What Happens With Favor?

Favoring ones own children over the stepchildren is setting yourself and the new family unit up for failure. As with every family, there will be ups and downs and it is easy to favor one child over another at various times in their lives. It is however, a precarious slippery slope when you favor your own children over the stepchildren on a continual, daily basis.

Resentments

Favoritism sets the children up to resent one another or worse, creates a Cinderella type scenario where the children start to side against one another when you’re not looking. When your back is turned, the resentful child will often torment the favored child. This will only increase in intensity with time. This can create problems for the entire family, not to mention the relationship with you and your new spouse.

Waging War

Giving the children this sort of power by favoring one against another is tantamount to the effects of war on a country. Teaching children to respect one another and give one another the grace to be themselves will go far in preserving the integrity of this new family.

A Natural Preference

Children will naturally prefer their biological parent over the stepparent. They may even project their sibling rivalry to the parent, causing problems between the new spouse and the parent.

Love Them As Is

Treating each child as if he or she were your very own will go far in helping the children to establish a healthy relationship with their new siblings. No, they aren’t always going to get along, what siblings do? I tell each of my children (including the bonus children) that they’re my favorite. I choose something special about each child and focus on it. I tell them I love how they do some specific thing such as play an instrument or draw. Each child has special talents and I love them as they are.

By showing all the children in our family respect and courtesy and giving them all a little bit of favoritism, I have helped them to develop a strong bond with one another. By not favoring my own children against my husband’s children, I have given them an even better standing in life and in each others lives.


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