Making a Blended Family Work
Remarrying after a divorce can be a challenging endeavor; this is even more so when you also have children from that previous marriage. Readjusting to a new life and lifestyle after a divorce is difficult for both parents and children. Adjusting to the idea of a parent remarrying, however, can be particularly difficult and traumatic for children.
According to the American Psychological Association(APA), children can begin to feel competitive or even abandoned as their parent begins to spend more time with a new spouse. Teenagers may feel uncomfortable witnessing romantic gestures or expressions of physical attraction between their parent and a new stepparent. Therefore, parents have to be careful to balance the relationship with their children and the relationship with their new spouse.
Additionally, stepparents face the numerous challenges presented by caring for children that are not their own. This is particularly so with younger adolescents (ages 10-14), as this age group tends to have a more difficult time adjusting to a stepparent than children in other age groups. The APA suggests that stepparents attempt to bond with their spouse's children in a friendly manner (akin to a camp counselor or mentor) before attempting to become a disciplinarian with them.
Stepparents must also be made aware of the terms of their new spouse's divorce so as to avoid potential implications of interfering with those terms. Stepparents should also understand that, in many cases, the other parent of their spouse's children will continue to remain an integral part of the children's lives, and should be careful not to negatively interfere with that relationship.
For non-residential parents, it is important to continue to maintain a good relationship with your children, even after your ex-spouse remarries. Statistics have shown that parents tend to decrease contact with their children after remarrying, and it is important to avoid falling prey to this trend. You can reconnect with your children or strengthen your existing relationship by scheduling some one-on-one activities with them. Find out more about their interests and plan activities you know they'd enjoy. The APA has proven that this simple step can help children adjust better to their new lives post-divorce.
No one gets married or has children anticipating an upcoming divorce. When problems do arise, however, it is important to understand all of the ramifications a divorce can have for both you and your children. The more you know about preparing for life post-divorce, the better the whole divorce process will be—and the less likely problems will arise for you, your ex-spouse, or your children afterward. At MKFM Law we understand the intricate family dynamics at work in separated families and blended families alike, and can answer questions you might have on how divorce might impact your own family. We can also help you prepare for the easiest transition possible between pre-divorce life and post-divorce life. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss what's right for your family today.