As a divorced parent, you may find yourself dating and eventually considering marrying another divorced parent. Since the middle of the twentieth century, married couples where at least one partner has a child from a previous relationship have become increasingly common in the United States. However, just because this type of setup is fairly common does not mean it is without its challenges.
Adjusting to life after a divorce can be difficult for all members of a family. For the adults involved, a divorce means potentially losing one’s home, a significant portion of his or her net worth, and daily interaction with his or her child. For a child, a divorce can mean a completely new lifestyle and no control over the changes that accompany this new lifestyle. As a parent, it is your job to make your divorce as pain-free for your child as possible.
If you marry another parent, your child will be faced with having to adjust to life with step siblings. Depending on each partner’s custody agreement, the children may share a home full-time, part-time, or only on special occasions. No matter what type of family schedule you have, consider the following to make this adjustment easier for your child and yourself:
This can be as simple as planning an afternoon trip to the park to play. Do not simply be a group of people living under the same roof – make time to be a family. Other ideas can include day trips, movie nights, family game nights, and bringing siblings to each other’s sporting events or other extracurricular activities.
Every member of your family has individual needs. Adults have different needs than children, and adolescents have different needs than toddlers and pre-teens. Encourage each family member to voice his or her opinion and as the parent, do your best to accommodate these needs without shortchanging others. Be patient; some children might not be immediately forthcoming with their needs and opinions.
The key to avoiding chaos in your blended family is to establish consistent rules and conduct expectations for the children. Do not make separate rule sets or only enforce rules on certain children. Enlist your partner in creating and enforcing household rules that work for each family member.
Integrating your spouse’s children into your family’s life after remarrying can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Talk to one of the expert divorce and family attorneys at The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. for more tips about overcoming the challenges that come with blending your family with your spouse’s. We are here to advocate for parents and families in Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, and Burlington counties. Call us today at (732) 365-3299 or visit us on the web to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm.