Kids can’t understand divorce or remarriage, and they surely won’t understand why one or both of their parents have created a new blended family. You just can’t ignore the fact that your kids will be thrust into a step family and have no clue how to feel or act. Here are a few points to go over and things to say to your children. This should just be seen as a jumping off point, as your comments will vary depending on the ages of your children.
The kids did not cause the divorce
Even before you discuss your new blended family, make sure your kids know that your divorce from their other parent had absolutely nothing to do with causing it. Ensure your kids that they are loved by mom and dad just as much as before the divorce, and that you will always be there for them, no matter what.
Parents need companionship from other adults
Children are great, but they can’t replace the companionship we get from other adults. Kids enjoy being with people their own age, and it’s no different for adults. As a parent, I wouldn’t ask you to stay and hang out with me when you can be having fun with your friends. This is why dad has decided to enter remarriage, which means we will create a step family. Your new step parent doesn’t know you, just like you don’t know them. Talk to each other and learn what you have in common.
Liking your new step mom doesn’t mean you are betraying your mother
There is no competition between your biological mom and your step mom. You will forever have one set of biological parents and a step mom is just extra, in a good way. Your dad will be happier and he will become a better parent. It is perfectly fine to like your new step mom, and your biological mom wants you to have fun and enjoy your time with dad and your new step parent.
Who does dad love more, me or my step mom?
He loves you both immensely, just in different ways. The love a parent has for a child is nothing like the love he has for a step parent. When you grow up and make your own family, do you want dad moving in to hang out with you? Do you want him to come to your dorm (or your room, or the mall) and hang with you and your friends? Of course not, because just like him, you want to enjoy people your own age.
With your kids going through so many changes and emotions becoming a blended family, communication is the most important thing. Adult concerns and decisions should be kept private, but kids have to be made aware of upcoming changes, and what your expectations will be. Your blended family transition can be made easier as long as communication remains open, honest and straightforward.
If you need help with your blended family, The Blended and Step Family Resource Center, founded by Shirley Cress Dudley, is ready to assist you with its counseling and coaching services. Shirley is the author of the book Blended Family Advice, as well as other informative resources aimed at promoting strong and successful blended and stepfamilies. Get in touch with a licensed professional counselor today and let us help to provide you with answers.