Stepparents and remarriage: What you need to know

One of the most important things you can do to help when introducing a stepparent as a positive and successful change for both your children and your new partner is to immediately establish how the family is going to operate from here on out. When you are still in the dating stages and not living with someone, they don’t have as much contact with your children and are likely not in a disciplinary role very often or at all.

It’s a good idea to call a family meeting and let your children know exactly what role the stepparent is taking in the family and what to expect. It may help to inform your ex as well so that he or she can be echoing your plan at his or her house as well.

When the new stepparent officially enters the family, he or she may feel like he or she needs to claim some space in the family and solidify his or her new role. This can mean that the fun-loving, friend-type person your children have known so far begins to take on a more direct parental role. It’s common for children to rebel against this and see it as a threat to the family structure as well as their other parent.

It’s very important for all of the adults in the situation to respect your children’s need for time and space during this transition. Communication between you and your ex will probably need to be more frequent than it has been, as the children are likely to talk about issues differently with each parent. If communication gets closed off or becomes unproductive, it can mean other areas such as custody and visitation become problematic.

Source: The Step and Blended Family Institute, “The 10 Step Family Dragons,” Jeanette Lofas, accessed Oct. 09, 2015

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