Important Things to Discuss Before Your Wedding Day
With about half of marriages ending in divorce, the odds of entering a new relationship as a blended family are high. What must be understood from the parenting standpoint is that this transition is going to take a toll emotionally on your children. Essentially, the family that they once knew has come to an end, and feelings of fear and even distrust can surface in your children, so learning to love and accept someone new can take time.
Here are a few tips to get through this transition smoothly…
- Talk with Your Children.
It is highly recommended that you talk with your children the moment you become serious about your new partner. The sooner you clue them in on the potential changes in their lives, the better prepared they can be. When you’re talking with your children, be sure to express that your new partner is in no way taking the place of their biological parent, but more like an additional parent to give them the extra love they need. Allow them to express their concerns and address them as best you can.
- Talk with Your Ex.
Alright so you probably wish you’d never have to see your ex again, but the truth is, you’re a parent. And, as such, you need to be able to get along on some level. Talk with your ex about your new partner. You don’t have to tell them all the specifics, but let them know that you’re serious about the person and thinking of taking things to the next level. Together, you two should meet with your children to discuss the changes, with emphasis on the fact that you both still love them and will both still be in their lives.
- Talk with Your New Partner.
Okay… so I admit there’s a lot of talking going on here. But, in order for the transition to go smoothly, you really need to be on the same accord. When talking to your new partner, you want to express to them any concerns your children and your ex may have had. Go over any concerns you have regarding the transition, and sort through the issues. It is also important to discuss parenting styles, so that your partner understands how you’ve raised your children, what rules are already in place, and where he/she falls into the whole thing.
- Spend Time As a Family.
Now that you’ve had your various talks, you’re ready to slowly introduce the idea of a blended family. Start small. Maybe you guys go out for a movie or dinner as a family just to get to know one another. Be sure that you involve the children as much as possible so that they don’t feel left out. Don’t force conversations about feelings, family, or togetherness… just see how they vibe together. If the first family night out goes well, you should encourage more times together.
- Create One-on-One Time.
When you’re in the “honeymoon” stages of your relationship, you tend to be all about your new partner. While there is nothing wrong with being head over heels, chances are your children don’t feel the same way yet. Therefore, spending quality time with your kids lets them know that they still hold a special place in your heart. It allows you to spend time together sans your new partner and continue to bond.
Trust me when I say the transition won’t be easy, particularly for families that have older children. However, with practice, patience and understanding, you are sure to find success in your blended family.