The Fearsome Foursome

The redhead (Shelby) is mine, the rest (Danielle, Kate, Nate) are my boyfriend's kids.  We have been seeing each other for about 2 years and at the end of this month we will be combining households, and the 2 of us will be moving in with the 4 of them.  However, they haven't been informed of this yet.  The one that will have the biggest problem with it all will be Shelby. 

She won't be looking at the big picture: it's financially better, it will cut down on all the driving we do, it's what mine & the bf's relationship has been leading to for the past yr & 1/2, etc.  She will be focused on how it will screw up her life: it will take her even farther away from her friends, she will have to change schools, and everything in her world will be screwed up - according to her.

But! We have been staying at the other house all wknd for pretty much the entire time bf & I have been together, the kids all get along pretty well for the most part, and she does know some kids around town here.  In addition to that, she will be detasseling corn this summer with kids from here, so hopefully she will make some friends her own age.  Right now, they are all Danielle's age, which bugs her, I think.  Also, if I am going to change schools on her, this is a good time to do it.  She just finished 8th grade and will be a freshman in the fall.  This school is considerably smaller than the one she has attended since Kindergarten, but that's not necessarily all bad.  Or so I say.  She will have another opinion.  She is an honor roll student where she is and good in band, etc.  Sports is not exactly her forte but she does enjoy playing volleyball, basketball and being in track.  I

So, what I need pointers on, is how to present all this to them.  The whole combining households thing, and then the changing schools thing.  Have any of you done this?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!



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Jun. 3, 2008 at 2:38 PM We did something similar. Instead of moving into one on the homes we each had we sold and bought a new one although in his market I would not recommend that. We had 2 kids that had to move schools. We sat down as a family and informed them of the decision. We also let them know that by moving there in the summer time they were more likely to find friends in the neighborhood that would be going to their school in the fall. We had a few rough weeks at the beginning but everything is on the upward motion. All the kids have friends that they hang out with and the move to them now isn't such a bad thing. Only at that moment it was so just let them have their fit (within reason) and stick to the plan that you and your BF have.

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Jun. 3, 2008 at 3:53 PM

Wow.  Wow.   Wow.

I'm so excited for you!  I know what a big deal this is for you...and what it will be for Shelby.

First of all, I'd like to suggest you join the step-parenting group on here.   You can probably find a link to it on my CafeMOm page.   There are over 3,000 women...some married, some not--but who are all in the same boat of blending families.   I'm in a couple of the blended family groups, but that one is the most active. 

OK.   I think you are right...there will be some resistance from Shelby.  She's going to feel like you are being TOTALLY unfair and ruining her life.  I don't think there is any way to avoid her going through this stage.   There are probably some things that will make it a little easier for her.

Give her time to adjust.   Tell her soon and give her a few weeks to digest, pout, etc.  Because it has been just you and Shelby for several years, I would tell her without the other kids around.   You dont' want her to feel like she has to respond a certain way to not hurt their feelings. 

 If possible, when you make the move, do it gradually, not all in one day.   Sounds like good advice for your dogs, too.  LOL 

After the move, make 100% sure Shelby still has your undivided attention at least once a day.  Let her know that she isn't loosing her mom...her rock...during this process.   I've found telling kids, "You'll get used to it" or "one day you'll be happy about this move." comes across as patronizing.   Acknowledge her feelings, tell her you understand, but stand firm in your decision.   As hard as it is for a teen to understand, it is not all about them.

Include her in decisions.  That isn't to say she gets the final word, but as far as living arrangements: her room, her things, her "space".  Make her feel she is part of this whole process and that it isn't about you and your boyfriend.

Take her to her new school and let her take a tour.   Give her lots of opportunities this summer to make friends outside of her "new family".  It would be great if on her first day of high school she already knows a few faces.

I know you have all spent a lot of time together.  But, it will still take some adjusting when you actually move in.   I always tell people to not try to force anything.  Blended families are created over years, not because of a living sitution or a piece of paper (marriage).

 That's about it for now.  You have my email...drop me a line any time during the process and I can try to help.   It's not going to be easy at first, but I think you will find it to be one of the best decisions you've ever made...for you and Shelby.  She needs a good male role model in her life.  And fact it, if Mamma is happy, the whole world is happy.

Good luck!!!!

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