The Brady Bunch made it look easy but real life is not television. When Mike and Carol got married, both became stepparents to three children. The word “stepparent” was never used back in the 70’s on television but the reality is that many families today are blended families.
Blending a family takes patience, trust, honesty and time. The success of a blended family depends on the strength of the relationship that the newlywed parents have. It will be tested over and over again.
It is difficult to find the balance between being a newlywed and continue to parent your children with a new father figure present. Often your parenting methods are put under a microscope held by your new husband. You want your new family unit to work but you sometimes resent the criticism.
Mothers want to keep their children feeling secure because often divorce can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem. They may overcompensate by not disciplining as much as they should or allowing bad behavior because they want to keep peace in the household. Sometimes a mother feels caught in the middle between trying to be a good mom to their child and being a good wife to their new husband. Trying to spend enough time with each and working outside the home can bring about a lot of stress.
It often is hard to figure out how much say your new husband should have in the disciplining of your children. In a joint custody arrangement, children are getting used to spending time with both parents separately and having a new stepfather is often a huge complication. Children are likely to be defensive of their relationship with their father and look at their new stepfather as the man in their mother’s life.
The road to blended family harmony is full of bumps and potholes. If you have a child or children that insist upon acting out, your road will be even harder to maneuver.
Try to act respectfully to your new husband by demanding that your children treat him with respect like they would any adult. Discuss with your new husband (behind closed doors) your expectations for your children’s behavior. In the future, your husband will take on the role of stepfather by partnering with you as a parent figure but until your children get to know him, they will resent his attempts at discipline.
In order to keep peace in the family and the bedroom, you need to keep consistent in your expectations of your children’s behavior. Whether you remarried or not you would expect your children to adhere to rules. Divorce means a lot of changes for children but discipline is important when raising children.
In order to make your marriage work, you probably have had discussions with your husband about child-rearing before you decided to marry. Try to keep communicating honestly and openly about your feelings. Stopping before speaking and thinking about your new husband’s feelings can keep you from saying something hurtful. It isn’t easy to adjust to living with someone else’s children. Try to be understanding.
Since you are in a joint custody arrangement, when your children are with their father, make sure to have couple time with your new husband. Nurturing your new marriage will help it to grow strong. It is a balance but in order for it to last, you need to not take it for granted. It takes work to make a marriage work. Child-rearing is work also but if you can learn how to balance the two you can make re-marriage work.