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Why can't your step-kids make nice and behave like your own kids? Why do your step-children make it so hard for you to just like them, much less love them?


My girlfriend is frustrated, says, "I don't think I can take this any more. I thought a blended family meant we'd blend. Instead, it's like 2 enemy camps, my kids on the one hand, polite, respectful, and his – 2 screaming meemees running amuck. "What does your husband say about it?" I ask. "Give it time," my girlfriend groans. "So I give it time – and put up with the mess they make, and bite my tongue, but I'm about to throw in the towel – why won't they just shape up!"


Because the one that needs to shape up isn't them – it's you. Not in terms of putting up with your stepkids and tolerating their bad behavior, but shape up in terms of dealing with it. Be proactive. Talk with your husband about holding family meetings once a week where you and your husband openly discuss your concerns and expectations, and where the kids – all of them – can give you honest feedback about where they're coming from, and what their concerns are.  Problem solve together, taking everyone's needs and desires into account. Negotiate family decisions until everybody feels OK with them.


Blended families can take a lot of work – but the rewards of love and laughter are well worth it.


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