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Balancing a Blended Family

Watch Time: 3:02 Minutes

As a parent, sometimes you just don’t know how strict you should be with your kids. How firm should you be when they break family rules? What limits should you set? These are some of the questions Cory and Rene had when they merged their families and their parenting styles. Hear how they found ways to balance their different approaches and succeed.

When to Be a Strict Parent

RENE: Cory and I met at church. We were friends first, and then we became more than friends. And then we got married. When we first got together, we had 13 [kids] total.

Cory and Rene with their youngest daughter.

Blending Different Parenting Styles

CORY: So, I’m a military dad, you know, so I enjoy structure, you know, and, hey, this goes there and everything. Rene was not.

RENE: I didn't realize how lenient I was until Mr. Military Man came along. He said I'm not a “yes” mom, but a “sure” mom. Because everything that they asked for I would say, “Sure.”

CORY: In turn, I had to look within. Why am I saying no? Am I just saying no for the sake of saying no? Or am I saying no because there's a legitimate reason? As I released more, they opened up more, and then my life became less stressful as it related to the kids. So, I was like, “Oh man. I might be on to something, you know!”

RENE: But I also realized that that could be creating another type of monster. So I'm trying to be more reserved with the “sures.”

Good to Know

Stepparenting causes unique and difficult challenges, but these challenges don't necessarily have to be negative. Get tips for effective stepparenting.

Cory and Rene talk about the challenges of blending parenting styles.

How can I create a safe and loving environment?

RENE: I like cuddles, affection, kisses, I love yous, spending time together. I want them to look back and have happy memories. And I want home to be somewhere that they want to be and that they do feel safe coming to.

CORY: I also believe it's a space where you do have a voice to speak your truth. It's a place where exchanges happen that are healthy. If there is a disagreement, this is how we come back together as a family.


As your lives get busy, set a dedicated time and space to talk to your child about what’s going on in her world. Good communication is positive parenting.

The Burgesses enjoy ice cream in the park.

Is it normal to get stressed?

CORY: Imagine, you know, how one 5-year-old could be. Then multiply that by two or three. I think the biggest thing is being able to track where we are. Because, you know, stress can, you know, get out of control really really quick.

RENE: If kids are screaming and all over the place, like, you don't have to respond with screaming. Actually, I like to bring it down. You know, like, deescalate it. Like, if you're yelling, like, my ears can't hear it, because it's just, I don't know, you have to talk, I'm sorry. Not escalating with them. Just not making a big deal about everything.

CORY: Even between us, you know, when things get built up, we have our therapy sessions that we go to Which helps us track where we are and how we are doing.


There are immediate solutions to help you deal with a stress in-the-moment and there are techniques to manage anxiety long-term. Learn how to deal with anxiety as a parent.

It’s okay to ask for help.

RENE: I was not a person to ask for help. I think I felt like, shame, in asking for help. Or even admitting that I needed help.

Get help

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CORY: I'm amazed because I've never seen so many people like, so willing to help.

RENE: So my village, aka “The Squad.” They're supportive. They provide encouragement. Like if I'm struggling, I can reach out, like, “Hey I'm having a rough day.” We can talk about it. They are what I didn't even know that I needed.

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