06-04-2021 06:32 AM - last edited on 07-21-2021 11:55 AM by Janine-RO
We moved in 6 months ago. I have a 12yo daughter and my partner has14 (adhd) and 17 year old boys.
The kids all permanently live in their rooms where they talk to their own friends. Reluctantly they come out to share dinner. The brothers talk during dinner but my daughter is shy and says nothing. The kids don’t know each other, and have nothing in common. We are like two families in one house. We are all just flat mates. It’s terrible.
We have no idea what to do. Even when we go and do something, the kids are not able to have a direct conversation with each other. Mr 14 (adhd) takes up all the air and engages with the adults, but is not able to relate to my daughter. My daughter withdraws from life and into her room. I don’t know what to do.
Where do we seek help to make us into somewhat of a cohesive bunch?
06-05-2021 10:11 AM
Thanks so much for your post. I'm sure it's a topic that many parents can benefit from reading about.
We actually have an article that might be worth reading on blended families and teenagers here.
Relationship's Australia also has a tip sheet for blended families here. Relationships Australia can also provide counselling to couples and families.
Stepfamilies Australia is another great resource - see their webpage here. They have a range of courses, tip sheets, and recommended books. They also have a 'find a professional' page.
You might also want to register with our free, one-on-one support service, which you can find out more about here.
It is also worth knowing about the following two, confidential, free, anonymous helplines:
Family Relationship Advice Line - 1800 050 321 (find out more about it here)
Parentline - their number differs depending what state you're calling from, see here.
It sounds like you are concerned about your daughter feeling uncomfortable and shy, which is completely understandable. It might be a good idea to set some ground rules - e.g., no internet after 8pm. It's good that you meet for dinner, and I'd encourage you to continue doing this. It might be helpful to play family games, like uno or monopoly, or to have movie nights. Another idea is to play a game where it's the parents vs. the kids (or parents + 1 boy vs. your daughter + 1 boy), so that the kids are forced to bond but in a fun way. We know that having a common enemy brings people closer, so if you parents are the 'enemy' in the game (i.e., the people they are competing against), then it might help bring them closer together.
Please do have a look at the resources I've shared with you, and let us know how you go. It might be worth trying the tips shared in these resources, and if you're still having problems, then stepping up to professional support.