Not the Brady Bunch
The Ask Shifra mailbag has become a bit moldy from disuse - let me slip on these rubber gloves and air filtration mask and see what I can find...
Ah here's one:
OK OK I finally decided that anonymity should cover me and my secret alter
ego identity. This is my question.
I am remarried to a basically very nice person, she’s fun to hang out with,
yak, great cook, a true yiras shomyim* (woman of faith) , good looking, very capable etc etc
I have kids from my first marriage and she’s got kids from hers, both sets
live with us full time. The problem is that she gets offended at my kids for
something that she'd overlook at hers.
I’ll give you an example, a kid walks around at night and talks loud,
possibly waking the baby (ours), she’ll shush mine but her kids have got to
rock the house before she notices.
My kid left his coat on the floor my spouse mentioned to me “that kid is
careless”, her son left his shabbos shoes in the dining room and it was
still there on Tuesday, but she didn’t say anything about it.
So my question is HELP what, if anything, can do about it. I’ve tried
talking about it, she says its not true. And when I point out a clear case,
she says that I treat mine better so why am I making a fuss. I will admit
that my kids are more difficult, more post divorce baggage.
I would be grateful for any advice.
Not Mr. Brady
* Note: In the interest of my non-Hebrew/Yiddish speaking readers I have decided to add in more english translations (even to the letters I recieve.)
I advise you all to keep your sense of humor close at hand and not send me all kinds of letter about how I've translated things inaccurately - Thanks
Dear Not Brady,
First off congrats to you on finding love the second time around! I'm sure that adding children to the equasion makes things much more difficult.
I know even in regular (non-blended) families different things are expected from different children depending on their age, maturity, abilities and unfortunately sometimes favoritism.
The best safeguard against that in my opinion is deciding what the rules and consequences are, together with your wife, and sticking to them.
It's very natural to want to advocate for the child you share the closest bond with but I hope with time all of you will grow into one big family rather than having everything as "mine and yours."
My advice? Be patient. Be good to your wife and your children old and new.
Try to establish limits for all your kids and show them that you and your wife are a united front and don't let them try and play you against each other. Hatzlocha (good luck) and Bracha (blessings) and keep us updated!