So, herewith, Part Three of my blogs about the "Big Three" subjects most couples argue about.
Bruce Sallan: We've done money and sex -- now "the kids." I will declare, at the onset, that this issue is usually more combustible in blended families, though it certainly is present in nuclear ones as well.
For us, we had to deal with me having raised my boys alone for several years, and my second wife having not had kids or any meaningful (especially living with them) experience with kids. But she's got an opinion, and has never been bashful about expressing it (anymore than I have).
She has struggled with what her role and place is in their lives. As stepmom, she has had a free time of it because the boys' biological mom is not in their lives (for the time being). That allows her to be the sole mother presence and not have to deal with the often ugly dialogues that can be laid on the kids between moms and stepmoms.
Nonetheless, she's had to deal with a teenager who's exhibited every bit of teen attitude, and three boys (myself included) who developed pretty poor hygiene and cleaning habits. She would use a stronger word than "poor." To our benefit, we've adopted and changed some of our ways and it's made all of us better for the effort, as much as we chafe against it.
We also disagree on discipline, rules, and consequences. I tend to be more forgiving, given the guilt I carry over the divorce and the sadness I feel about their mother's abandonment. Their stepmom wants to lay down the law, and this can be a source of contention between us.
I actually think we're all doing very well with these adjustments. We certainly eat better and have a cleaner house -- but what do I know? I'm just a guy.
|Bruce Sallan gave up his showbiz career a decade ago to raise his two boys, full-time, now 13 and 16. His internationally syndicated column, A DAD'S POINT-OF-VIEW, is his take on the challenges of parenthood and male/female issues, both as a single dad and now, newly remarried, in a blended family. Join Bruce's A DAD'S POINT-OF-VIEW fan page at Facebook. To contact Bruce, visit his new website brucesallan.com.|