You never really saw this whole thing through but you are now faced with your ex getting remarried. “Well, good for them. I hope they’ll be happy. Wait! My kids are going over there?” Yes, we have this moment when we realize that someone else will be parenting our children. It was okay when it was just your ex (and you still had some semblance of control), but now someone else has a say so (and more control of your ex than you). Who the heck is this new person anyway? Telling my kids what they can and cannot do? Teaching my kids about life? Okay calm down. These things must happen and they will ultimately make you a better person and parent if you let it. Here are a few tips on how to handle the situation and make it easier on your kids:
- DO NOT bad-mouth the new parent. Children need a sense of a home and will likely want to have a family at the other home. They will resent you if you talk about them.
- DO NOT drill them with questions about the new stepparent. If there’s something you need to know in the way they parent, ask the new spouse directly or ask your ex.
- DO NOT make comments to undermine their authority. This will confuse your children and you’ll teach your children they don’t have to be obedient.
- DO NOT try to manipulate your child into divulging information about what goes on over there. Children are much smarter than you think and will see right through this.
- DO NOT show them you’re jealous when the other parent takes care of them when they’re sick or tucks them in, or your child chooses to spend time with them. (Yes, dear God, this happens!)
- DO NOT ever try to tell your children that the stepparent’s opinions don’t matter or that they don’t need to mind them. This will hurt your children in the long run.
- DO try to make the new spouse feel welcomed in your lives.
- DO have open communication with them to express your feelings, expectations, boundaries, etc.
- DO encourage your children to have a good relationship with them. This will actually help them have a better relationship with your ex.
- DO remember that your ex will ultimately side with his/her new spouse so don’t try to cause division.
- DO let the new stepparent take an active part in your child’s life and take on responsibilities as a parent. They really are a parental figure in the other home and you must teach your children to obey parents and other authority figures.
- DO NOT have an argument with the new stepparent in front of the kids. I don’t have to explain this one do I?
- DO be accepting of their new role and be willing to have them attend sporting events, recitals, parties, etc.
- DO include them in your conversations when talking about the children. This makes them an integral part of the child’s life. After all, they are taking care of your precious ones.
- DO try to direct conversations towards them so they are not threatened or resentful of your relationship with your ex. Think they’re not? Think again!
For more related articles: