Second marriages can be very rewarding, however, they can also be very stressful. Second marriages carry more demands than first marriages and often require a greater degree of flexibility. Think child support, dealing with ex-spouses, juggling schedules, managing children out of two separate households.
Before entering a new marriage make time to discuss your expectations with your prospective new partner.
Issues to consider as a couple:
- What kind of expectations do you and your partner have of each other?
- How do you view each others roles in your new family?
- How will decisions regarding the family be made regarding their children? your children? What about issues involving discipline, money, schedules or holidays?
- How will you support each other in your new marriage?
- What will you both do to nurture your new relationship?
Don’t expect your step-children to instantly love you or even like you.
Be respectful of your step children’s feelings, developing a relationship takes time. Give them space to get to know you and do your best to be involved without expectation. Keep in mind
Don’t try to replace children’s biological parent.
Even through it may be difficult at times, children need to have their relationship with their biological parent supported by you. Your job as a stepparent is not to be a replacement parent but to be an additional parenting figure. Children can never have too many positive loving adults in their lives.
Shield your step-children from conflicts with the other parent.
Despite how you are treated by your step-child’s other parent do your best to separate the other parent’s actions from your relationship with your stepchildren. Remember children can also feel caught int the middle between a parent and a step parent. Often kids will worry that they about loyalty conflicts. In the long run the less you involve them, the more they will feel respected and in turn respect you.
Don’t move into the role of disciplinarian too quickly.
Before becoming an authority figure in your step children’s lives, make time to get to know your stepchildren. Jumping into the role of disciplinarian and develop your relationship first. Ideally the biological parents should be the primary disciplinarians with stepparents filling a supportive role.
Get used to biting your tongue and taking lots of deep breaths.
Being a stepparent is not easy but it can definitely be worthwhile. The bond you create with your stepchildren can become a special lifelong relationship. However, there will be times when you may feel frustrated with your role.
Support your spouse having individual time with their children.
While you are trying to establish yourself as a blended family remember that children still need one on one time with parents. One big mistake second families make is trying to do everything together as a new family which kids sometimes resent.