Jun 15, 2012

Stepparenting and the blended family

According to the experts one should not even think of remarriage for the first two years after divorce as it allows enough time for everyone, including two sets of kids, to get used to the idea that mom and dad are marrying again, and not to each other. There will be sibling rivalry, jealousy, confusion, and a lot of other problems if all this is not worked out beforehand.

• You should not come out of divorce and immediately remarry or immediately settle in with a new man. It is too much change all at once and will affect the children. Give them time to get to know their step siblings. Talk to them about some of the changes. If you are planning to move out of the city because of your husband’s job, don’t sell the house yet before some time has passed to see how you all get along.

• Take special note of the kids. Are they happy they have new siblings or are they fighting and pining and miserable because they have to share their father? You and your husband should talk to all of them and reassure them that it will all work out.

• Take care not to spoil your own kids and don’t exclude anyone from family discussions. Everyone should be able to say what they don’t like and what bothers them.

• Draw up a list or plan you will stick on the refrigerator listing the names of all four or five kids and what they are expected to do around the house. You can introduce a chore list and a reward system.

• Do family activities together and find something interesting to do or to visit that everyone can enjoy. Maybe your son is around the same age as his son and they bond. That’s all good.

• Never forget that you may be excited with the new arrangement, but your kids may not be. Talk to both sets of kids at the same time and listen to what they have to say. Invite them to be frank and not to be shy. Tell them that it may be difficult now to have so many people in the house, but it will become easier.

• Give them time to make the transition and keep the communication lines open. Only when all the above has been worked out can you think of remarrying.


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