|With Peter Pan at Hale Center Theater Orem's production|
From Right: Ryan, Vince, Cory, Joseline
(Bailey was standing with me and grandma RaNae, and
Seth was with his dad)
I would be lying if I said there was no conflict and we got along swimmingly. What non-blended family gets along without any conflict? There is always conflict. How you deal with that conflict demonstrates what kind of family you are. We try to deal with conflict between children as if the children are all full-blood siblings. There's no other way to do it, in my opinion. The kids are kids, no matter who their parents are, and they are siblings - whether biological or step.
We spend a lot of time talking about how families help us grow - so even if there is something we don't like about one of our family members, we can use that relationship to help us learn and grow rather than resent our family member because of it. We can also try to help the sibling who has a less-than-desirable behavior or personality trait learn how to overcome their weakness, without name calling, belittling, or being hard on the person. These are qualities I would teach my children even if they weren't step-siblings, so I don't see the relationship thing as much different than in a family with no blending.
We try to do a lot of things "together" so there isn't the "us against them" mentality. We also try to stress that our family is the Andrews/Rowley family, not just the "Andrews" family so that the Rowley kids don't feel pushed out of their own family. I try to remind all of the kids that even though my last name is Andrews now, I am still a Rowley because I will always be Vince and Joseline and Seth's mom. That is the only thing I worry about with the blended family - a division along "family" lines. But I think we're doing a pretty good job of creating an Andrews/Rowley family mentality, and so far there hasn't been much of that division.
Plus, look at these selfies the kids took with my phone when I wasn't looking! Those kids definitely get along!