You are getting remarried. You have either divorced or had your spouse pass away but you have found someone truly special and with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
If you have children, this decision can bring up many mixed emotions. If your spouse-to-be has a good relationship with them, it is often easier to move into that transition of having a stepparent around. Nevertheless, it’s a change and change can be met positively, negatively, or both, all at once.
My father got married this weekend. We had been planning the wedding for months and it was definitely a change for all of the four kids. My father and stepmother have lived together for the past few years and a marriage was not a big change in lifestyle. It was the matter of ups and downs I had with my stepmother, her changing her last name to mine and of course, just the general concept that I was witnessing my father getting married, something that as a kid, you do not imagine because your parents are already married.
I am very happy for my father because he has truly found his best friend but the wedding brought up both happy and nervous feelings, which many children of parents who get married again do face. Here are some of the emotions and thoughts your children might experience during your second marriage:
1. Happiness. They love you and enjoy seeing you happy with someone you truly care about and cares about you. They are looking forward to a great relationship with a new stepparent.
2. Hope. They are hoping that everything works out between you two as well as hoping that the relationship with the new stepparent is a good one, especially if they have had some rough patches.
3. Doubt. If you are divorced, they are probably thinking that if the first marriage didn’t work out, what will make them think that the second marriage will? They may also think you are a hypocrite for even considering being married again.
4. Anxiety. It is a big change for children to see their parent getting married again and may believe that you are trying to replace the other parent and remove them from their lives. They may also think that your priorities may shift from being a parent to being a newlywed.
5. Uncomfortable. It’s weird seeing a parent get married because they never thought that this would be something that they had to go through. They may also feel like they are betraying the other parent, especially if they are included in your wedding party.
6. Closure. Peace can come with second marriages. Children may finally realize why it didn’t work out between their parents and why it is better with someone else. They may also understand the reasons for why a parent would get married again after the death of a spouse.
It is important to talk to your children about these emotions and to not disregard them as silly, irrational or unimportant. Listening to them, explaining and reassuring them that they are still loved and that the other parent is not being replaced is crucial for a smooth transition.
After all, people have a lot of love to give and just because a child has love for a stepparent, it doesn’t take away from their love for their parents.
Have an experience like this to share? Sound off in the comments below!
The Modern Day Fairy Godmother