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How to help step-siblings get along

On our Las Vegas family law blog, we have written several blog posts about co-parenting and navigating other tricky relationships in the wake of a divorce. But we have never discussed one issue that plagues many post-divorce or blended families: how to help new step-siblings get alone.

Whether it is because of the emotional effect of their parents' divorce and remarriage or simply a product of their age, step-sibling rivalry can take a very big toll on every member of the family. For those who are dealing with near-constant arguments and fights, accusations of unfair treatment or even physical altercations, here are a few tips for minimizing step-sibling rivalry and reaching harmony.

First, be proactive. Don't want for an issue to arise before you establish ground rules. If children are held to equal expectations from the start, it will be more difficult for to claim that they are being treated unfairly. Further, get the children's input when setting those rules, giving them a greater stake in the family's successes and failures.

Second, protect possessions. Often, in blended families, the financial constraints of a divorce mean that kids have to share rooms. But make sure to designate some items - toys, clothing and the like - as each child's own, and protect those items from the other kids.

Third, let them work it out. If you are always getting sucked into arguments, not only will it not solve anything, but it will make the situation much worse for you. Give kids space to work out their own problems, which will teach them to deal with things on their own and lead to greater understanding between them.

Source: Circle of Moms, "5 Ways to Help Step or Half Siblings Get Along," Mary Beth Sammons, July 5, 2012

At our Las Vegas family law firm, we help clients with issues like those discussed above. To learn more, please visit our child custody page.

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