Helping out around the house
Helping out around the house

Hello from beautiful Montana;

As I go around the country teaching parenting and family relationship communication, I frequently hear about stepkids having more than sibling rivalry, but outright war with each other.  When adults marry, they hope that the children will get along, cooperate with chore charts and want to become a blended family. What they may not take into consideration is the children are going through different stages of emotional, physical and spiritual growth.

Helping  Family Work Together on Project to Build Trust

The most successful families I have seen have held family meetings where the whole group gets to solve small problems before they become large ones, have  a fun activity and work together on a common goal.  Perhaps the goal is to go to Dairy Queen when the chores are done.  It might be rent a movie and have popcorn together.

In a family meeting each child has the opportunity to choose and own the chore they will do in the allotted time. Form teams with a parent and child. This is not a competition!  This is an opportunity for the child to have some one on one time with the non custodial parent and then come together as a family for the reward.

Even if the rules in the other home are different than the rules in your house, you will want to create an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork. When everyone is given a “voice and a choice” in what needs to be done to make a house a home, most are more willing to assume responsibility.

If the other parent decides to allow the children to get by without doing chores, you have no control over that decision. Children will have to live with different rules where ever they go in life. They have different expectations at school, church and activities and they can adjust if given loving guidance and acceptance.  Helping other family members build trust and unity.

You will be teaching life-skills as well as bonding with the child over chores or projects.

Use this time to model character and to appreciate the skills and helpfulness of the child. Be consistent and caring as you work together to create a comfortable home. Your goal as a blended family is not to become stricter and more authority bound, but to present a united team and to welcome members of the family whenever and however they come to this house.

For more in depth information on this subject, please go to  You will be so glad you did.

Your friend,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

For more reading about teaching life skills to stepkids in blended family visit

Stepkids Need To Do Chores Too – Helping Family Builds Trust