You and your spouse are finally getting the hang of managing your blended family, and the step siblings are getting along. Just when you think things are settling into a workable routine, the kids tell you about your ex’s remarriage plans. And the new partner has children of their own!
How do you feel?
Your first reaction may well be that your ex should have told you before telling the kids! Well, yes, but what’s done is done. Sure, parents should not send messages via the kids, and you are not sure how sensitively this news was shared with the kids, or even how the kids first reacted to the news. But none of that matters now; what matters is how the kids are dealing with this news of another remarriage and another blended family.
How might the kids feel?
Your children have probably told you a little about the new relationship; they know, and hopefully like, the new spouse’s children. Kids may sometimes play down remarriage possibilities, as a means of denying it, or maybe even to spare your feelings, but they may actually be surprised. Remember, even though you and your new spouse are happy in you remarriage, kids often hold onto the hope their parents might someday get back together. This remarriage announcement will almost certainly put an end to that hope. So, how do they feel about the other parent’s remarriage? Probably just the way they felt when you announced your remarriage!
How can you help them accept the remarriage?
Well, first, remember that none of this is about you. No matter how happy you are after your divorce and your own remarriage, you may have a passing twinge of regret, or even a bit of jealousy on hearing your ex is about to remarry. This is actually pretty common, and will pass quickly. Helping your children navigate through this new challenge will keep you busy enough.
Be positive. Remind your kids that after you remarried, you still loved them just as much as ever. Share with them how happy you are in your own remarriage and with your blended family. Assure them that their new step parent loves their other parent, and will get to know them and love them, too.
Negative talk brings no positive results
First and foremost, do not speak negatively about your ex-spouse, the new partner, their upcoming marriage, or new step family members, especially in front of your children. They and the new step family will have a tremendous effect on your children, and because of that fact alone, they deserve all your support. Negative talk can only have a negative effect on how easily your children cope with the new situation, and it will make them feel they must choose sides.
Cooperate with your ex on wedding plans
If your ex and his new partner want your children to be part of their marriage ceremony, celebrate that good piece of news! Let you children be excited about it, and do what you can to accommodate rehearsals, parties and step family gatherings. If your ex invites you to the wedding, go if you feel comfortable, but be sure to be available to pick the kids up at the end of the day, if that is the plan. By helping out on their big day, you let the new couple, and your kids, know you want them to succeed as a blended family.
When you accommodate your ex and the new spouse, and let your children know it is okay to blend into a new step family, you help your kids accept remarriage, accept new step siblings, and accept that life goes on. Help them know that new opportunities for happiness and love are there for people who seek it and work for it! Good luck!