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Talking to Your Children About Your Remarriage

marriage and divorce

Talking to your children about getting remarried can be a delicate subject depending on their age and your current circumstances. If you have been dating or living together for a long period of time, it may be easier to discuss but regardless of the situation, remarriage can bring up difficult feelings for your kids.

Here are a few points to consider when telling your kids the big news:

Be Prepared for all Reactions –

With news as exciting as an engagement, you will hope that your kids will be able to join you in the joy you’re feeling. It’s an exciting time of your life and it’s common to want your children to be excited too. Even if you are expecting your kids to be happy about the marriage, prepare yourself for other scenarios. From your point of view the news may not be a surprise but sometimes such a big announcement can throw kids for a loop. Be patient with them and understanding if they don’t immediately respond the way you were hoping. It’s very common for kids to have a wide range of fears and worries even if you’re not expecting many changes after the marriage occurs.

Don’t Make the Kids Tell Your Ex –

This is another one of those situations in which your children should never be the messenger. They may be excited and may even want to call up dad themselves, but that’s putting your kids and your ex in an unfair situation. Your ex-spouse’s initial reaction to the news shouldn’t be something that your kids need to carry. Even if your ex-spouse is remarried they may not immediately react in the way your kids are hoping. If the children read a negative reaction, it can cause them to feel confused and conflicted on how they should view the remarriage.

Keep Talking to Them –

Even if your children are excited and happy, they are likely feeling some pretty complex emotions. Fears of being left out, concerns about new siblings or sadness over the lost dream of their parent’s getting back together can hit them at any time. Throughout the months or days leading up to your wedding, it is extremely normal for children to move back and forth between emotions and how they are handling the situation. Be there for them without judgment and reassure them that you understand and that you are there to talk.

Find Resources to Help –

Depending on the age of your children and how they are reacting to the remarriage, it’s a good idea to find some resources to help you all through the transition. With children that are struggling with the news, counseling is a great way for them to have a safe outlet to talk. There are also a wide range of books available that you can read with your kids. Reading stories together is one way to let your kids know that their feelings are normal and it gives you an opportunity to answer any questions they have.

A new picture book that is excellent for younger children is Step One, Step Two, Step Three and Four. This catchy story by Maria Ashworth explores a little girl’s fears about how her home will change when her mother marries and she gains new siblings. What I love most about this book is the positive way that typical fears are presented and how the girl in the story learns that there are great things that come along with her growing family.

Getting married is an amazing time in your life. There is more to think through when you have children but with some preparing and a lot of understanding, planning for your wedding and remarriage can be a time that brings your entire family closer together.

Talking to Your Children About Your Remarriage

Amy Bellows, PhD

Amy Bellows holds a PhD in Psychology and has had the opportunity to work in various settings including leading adolescent group therapy sessions, working with victims of sexual assault, helping woman inmates adjust to post-prison life, conducting parenting education classes and assisting with drug and alcohol dependency treatment plans. The unique challenges and opportunities that come along with being a part of a step-family is a special interest of hers. Amy is currently working in the corporate environment with a interest in group dynamics and change management. You can find her on her website, ContinuedOptimism.com or on Twitter @AmyBellowsPhD.


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APA Reference
Bellows, A. (2016). Talking to Your Children About Your Remarriage. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mixing-bowl/2016/02/talking-to-your-children-about-your-remarriage/

 

Last updated: 5 Feb 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Feb 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.