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Blended Families and Marriage

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Blended Families and Marriage

Getting Married with Kids

We all know that the wedding planning process is not easy, but an important part to consider if you have children, is planning for your new blended family. Whether you or your fiancé have children or you both have children, here are some topics to consider before saying “I do.”

If your partner has children and you don’t:
  • Be clear as to what your fiancé expects of you when it comes to being a step-parent. Will you have responsibilities to care for their children? How do they want you to parent? Will you oversee any discipline? There must be some structure, especially when it comes to children! If a child knows what to expect, it can be an easier transition.
  • Realize that your fiancé may have a relationship with the other biological parent and his or her family. Is this something that you can handle?
  • Do you want to have your own children? AND does your fiancé want to have more children?
  • Remember that ultimatums will not help anyone (i.e., it’s me or your kids).
If you both have children:
  • It will take time for each set of children to like each other. Many factors will go into this and it’s important to be patient.
  • Have a conversation with your child about their emotions regarding their new step siblings and offer a safe place to share concerns. I encourage you to offer multiple instances for children to have an opportunity to learn about each other.
  • Sibling rivalry is a real issue and you and your fiancé must know how to handle this, so that you both do not turn against each other and it becomes a battle among families.
What children may be experiencing:

For children, divorce can be difficult; but remarriage can be even harder. Some children may experience the following symptoms:

  • Jealousy – Due to feeling that your fiancé is “stealing” you away from them.
  • Anger – Children may express their anger and hurt feelings by saying things “I hate him” or “she’s just using you.”
  • Betrayal – They may feel a sense of guilt to accept your fiancé because it is going against their loyalty to their biological parent.
  • Sadness – Due to realizing that you and the other biological parent are not getting back together.
  • Isolated – Children may feel like an outsider to the new family or as they see their parent showing affection to their new spouse.
How to focus on your marriage:
  • Important to communicate with your partner that you are teammates.
  • Discuss the transition, and expectations of each other.
  • Remember why you are together and give yourselves time to engage in regular date nights
  • If needed, family therapy may be helpful in setting clear boundaries and expectations.

Transitioning into a step-parent role may be uncomfortable and fulfilling at the same. Remember that you are creating your own family identity and that it will take time.

By Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT, owner of Modern Wellness Counseling

Priscilla specializes in working with engaged couples by helping them to develop a solid foundation for their marriage and discuss expectations. Check out the premarital online course where you will learn essential communication skills to have important conversations!

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