|Worst case scenario|
Anyway, what I've been reading has to do with successfully smooshing us into a new family unit when we'll all be under the same roof. And in particular that same roof should be a new one. Get a great start. Instead of moving into his place or her place, find a new home. This can be neutral territory and a fresh start for all. This eliminates the problems caused by some of the family feeling eternally like "outsiders," and the "insiders" feeling like their territory is being invaded or encroached on. The cost and trouble of getting into a neutral home might be substantial, but the benefits may be well worth it.
Check. Got this covered. In fact, Xing Fu & I signed our first official document together with the realtor last night. Cool. And also as a result of last night's meeting the "For Sale" sign goes up in front of the house on Friday. Wow, I can't believe it is actually happening--it's one thing to have the contractor here working on the house but it's quite another to actually see the sign out front.
It has been pretty hard & it has had ups & downs & when you think things are hunk-dory between all of the family members--think again! I just hope it doesn't take 7 years--everyone will be in college by then!
And then there's the concerns about discipline & re-directing the kids:Discipline your own children -- not your step children. The older the children, the more important this guideline can be. Work out and agree on some posted "house rules" to be applied to everyone in the home. Do this in a family council (after you and your spouse have come to terms on the major issues). Then make sure that you are the primary enforcer with your children, not with your step-children. Xing Fu & I are already discussing these things & the house rules advice is HUGE--we recognize that even now.
And finally, something that I know I've talked about before & am a firm believer in: Put your marriage first. The greatest gift you can give your children is the lasting image and influence of a loving, committed, fun relationship between their parents. Schedule a weekly date night away from the kids, and make it a priority! Much of your daily communications will be about problems with the kids, but try to make date time a vacation from family problems -- a time to focus on enjoying each other. Despite other failings in the family, if the children grow up wanting to have a marriage like yours, you've been a successful parent. Okay, so we're not married but we are committed to one another & are in this for the long haul, hence buying the house. And I wholeheartedly agree that modeling positive adult relationships goes a long way to helping children grow up to have their own--respect one another. Show love. I think we're there. Now to sell the house & hopefully quickly too.