Our Family became blended in January 2012. My husband Ted brought 2 boys (12 and 9 at the time) into our new family and I brought a daughter (4 at the time). As you can imagine, setting expectations for various ages and doing so as a step mom was difficult. My daughter knew the household expectations and when she didn’t follow them, I was always there to follow up, reward and recognize or provide consequences or discipline. My expectations of her were much higher than the boys given the maternal relationship. The boys were a different story.
Displeasure from their lack of household participation was relayed through my husband given his paternal relationship with them. Who was I to overstep and discipline his kids? I would however step up if it was absolutely necessary, but I would pick my battles carefully. It was like walking a tight rope not knowing which false move would topple me, or them, or all of us! Instead, it was much easier to just clean up after them, turn a blind eye to poor manners and hygiene and have my husband be their enforcer for the household expectations. I guess I didn’t want to be the bad guy or the ``evil step mom``. As things went on, and time passed, I began to feel resentment toward them and their lack of effort and I knew I needed to step it up if I wanted to prepare these boys for the real world.
Realization struck, and it dawned on me I never shared what the expectations were in our new blended household. I never told them what I wanted, and why, and how I viewed these two great boys with such love, just like my own, so why was I treating them differently than my daughter? My answer to fixing it all was setting up a Family Meeting and presentation. I went through what I wanted for them in this world, shared the household expectations, manners and proper hygiene and introduced them to Hire and Fire your Kids!
Hire and Fire our Kids sprouted from my professional life where I’d managed people for over 18 years and knew I needed something that would engage the family, keep them motivated, and show them results by working together, similar to employees on a team. Our job as parents is to prepare our kids for the “real world”. Enabling children and equipping them with tools to succeed and qualities like kindness, empathy, politeness, honesty, confidence, respect and more, makes them successful, independent people. As parents, we want our children to know the value of a dollar and be able to take care of themselves, so they can function out on their own. So I came up with a system that was simple, easy to manage and reflects the adult workforce.
Hire and Fire Your Kids was born!
The HFK Method combines motivation, competition, teamwork, recognition/reward, consequences/discipline and teaching kids the value of a dollar. I looked for other programs out there but many were quite junior, had too many gismos and gadgets or needed screen time which I was trying to steer away from. I needed something in your face, super easy, engaging and fun…..
After launching Hire and Fire your Kids in our home we were amazed by the results! We couldn’t believe how it helped and made an immediate impact on our household. The kids were engaged, having fun, self-aware and actively participating as a household member. HFK became more like a Game in our home than a “system”. While its beginning wasn’t perfect, tweaks along the way adjusted it, and it became more suitable for our family. One tweak we made, like many blended families sharing kids, was to STOP enabling our kids and giving them money at whim (lunch money, chocolate bar at the store, souvenirs, etc.) We found our children were getting spoiled and didn’t have a reason to complete additional chores. Before we instituted Hire and Fire your Kids, we gave them warning and then cut them off. However, given the 3 month probationary period, there was still fair warning, training and establishment of routines. The result: additional chores began to happen WAY more frequently, and they began to understand the value of a dollar. Their hard-earned dollar not ours!
No more feeling like the "evil step mom", HFK takes some of the stress out of blended family parenting.