Have you ever checked out the settings on a blender? You’ve got grate, mix, liquefy, puree, and blend. I have no idea what the difference is between these settings, nor have I seen much of a difference in the output. I believe that’s how the phrase “blended family” was coined. You throw a bunch of different people together, hit one of the buttons and swirl it all around for a minute, hoping you get something that’s palpable and doesn’t look too much like baby diaper pooh.
Chief Money Maker and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on how to deal with the crumb snatchers. Sometimes we see head-to-frying pan. Now that doesn’t happen just because we are a blended family. I’ve seen biological parental units argue over whether or not they should kill their teenaged crumb snatchers too. I know one couple that has been together for over twenty-five years because they couldn’t decide who would TAKE the children if they divorced!
When I arrived in the picture, I quickly noted that Wolfy and G-Bear liked to request monetary compensation when they were asked to perform chores. At that time, it really wasn’t much of my business how he handled them, so I sat him down and asked him this question anyway. “Why did you have children?”
He thought for a moment and finally said, “So I could have joy, laughter, and share my knowledge and life experiences with them.” I said, “Yeah, but that doesn’t happen until they give you grandchildren so what are they for in the meantime?”
He sat a little longer, and a light bulb went on above his head. Granted, I had turned on the kitchen light but it still had the same effect. Wolfy and G-Bear continue to receive compensation for chores. Now it just comes in the form of food, clothing and shelter like God intended.
The Eldest and Sweet Pea have lived this concept for years and know better than to ask Mama Bread Baker for money in exchange for chores. So now they just ask Chief Money Maker.
Chief Money Maker and I also have different approaches to discipline. I’m more of the military, get ‘em in a daily routine, it’s my-way-or-the-highway mindset. He’s more I’ll-be-on-the-golf-course-call-me-if-someone’s-bleeding mindset. This approach has led to a few problems in our blended family. I’ve been perceived on occasion as the evil stepmother. I keep reminding The Eldest and Sweet Pea that I’m their biological mother!
We’ve found that the key to successful discipline in our household is to present a united front, especially since they outnumber us. Consistency also helps, so we consistently remind them that they are free to move out while they still know everything.
The Eldest took us up on that offer back in September. He returned in February—humble, hungry, and humoring us that we might possibly know what we are talking about after all. We just thanked God that he didn’t return multiplied.
Whether you are a nuclear or blended family, there are three essential keys to dealing with teenagers—communication, setting clear expectations, and accentuating the positive. Now we all know that the last one is a little difficult to achieve when speaking of a teenager. This little tip works well for us. We communicate that if they don’t adhere to the expectations, we are positive there will be consequences. All three concepts wrapped up in one simple sentence.
It can prove to be challenging to reach common ground in a blended family. The key is to keep trying those different blender settings until you finally churn out a mixture that both parents can enjoy. We’ll call our mixture grandchildren.
© 2012 CThacker