Hello from beautiful Montana:
The other night at a parenting class, a kind, thoughtful and intelligent man in a business suit paused after everyone else had left to ask a question that had been bothering him all night. Who is the boss? He and his new wife had been married less than a year and we are trying to blend families, parenting styles, scheduling, calenders, old hurts, new jealousies and teen age hormones.
Trying to blend rules and expectations for daily living is one of the biggest challenges for step families. A multitude of individuals with their own agendas, hormones, hurts and loyalties brings a new level to family management. Is there one boss, or rather, who is the boss right now?
Family Council and Round Table
If the adults in the family want the children to grow into responsible adults, they need to learn life skills in the home. The best place to discuss expectations and rules for daily life is in a family council. This is a special time each week to have discussions of calendaring, schedules, needs and wants of everyone in the family. I have a number of articles on how to hold a family council on my website, or you can find information at the library.
The most important part of a family council is that it be fun, not critical and that you come to decisions as a family. When everyone in the family has a voice and choice in chores, responsibilities and activities of the family, they will be more apt to participate willingly.
When the members of family "own" their chores, they will be more willing to cooperate and contribute to the goals of the team.
If you cannot find solutions with discussion and reasonable negotiation, perhaps you need a more structured plan. I have more than satisfied with the results from this parenting program; http://www.DisciplineYesPunishNo.com
Perhaps it won't be a matter of who is the boss, but rather what does the team stand for? We are all in this together.
In gratitude for the important work you do,
Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship coach and author