Parenting is never easy, and being a single parent is even more difficult; there is so much you do for your children that you sometimes forget to take care of yourself. It's perfectly fine if your first marriage did not work out and you want to find love again; it's a nice feeling to have someone to share your ups and downs with. It's perfectly fine if you have children and want to remarry. However, you must break the taboo that if you have children and are divorced, you are not allowed to fall in love again or that "no one will want to marry someone who already has a child." Please remember that it is your life, not theirs.
So, you've moved on from your divorce, found a new love, and are planning to remarry; the question is, "How do you break the news to your child?" You love your partner and want your child to love them as much as you do, and everyone gets along fine, but breaking the news is difficult. So, if you're wondering, starting a new life after divorce how do you tell your children you're remarrying? Here are some ideas to help you ease your children into the idea that there is a new person in your life...
Before you open the "remarrying subject," there are three things you should know:
1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
You have no control over this, but your children may blame themselves for your divorce. Again, it is not your fault, but they may believe they have something to do with it. That is why it is always best to assure them that they have nothing to do with it, and that some things are not meant to be because there is something better for us out there. It will help your children if you show them the bright side of things, such as the fact that you will have two bedrooms with lots of toys, one at their mother's house and the other at their father's house. Another thing that will greatly benefit them is not seeing you and your ex-partner fighting in front of them.
2. Be Open and Honest With Your Children
If they are old enough to understand, be honest with them but in a positive way, such as "Your father and I are happier like that and we will still get to spend as much time with you, this does not mean that we do not love you." Do not phrase it as if it were a terrible experience. You can even explain that things like this do happen and that it isn't the end of the world when they do.
3. Children Do Not Fully Comprehend the Concept of Marriage
When children are young, they do not understand the concept of marriage and divorce. You may find yourself explaining the concept to them in order to introduce them to the concept of "remarrying." You could use one of their favorite cartoon or book characters as an example. You can tell them stories and use coloring books to help you, or you can simply use your imagination. Watch movies together to help them understand the concept, such as "Daddy's Home." Concentrate on the positive aspects of your marriage to help your children understand why you're marrying again.
Now that you've learned the three most important things, here's how to tell your children you're remarrying:
1. When Discussing a Sensitive Subject, Timing Is Key
It's important to remember that just as your divorce affected you, it also affected your children. If you're thinking, "I did everything I could to make sure they didn't feel anything," I'm not blaming you; I know you did, but consider it from their perspective. They were used to seeing both of their parents every day in the same house, but now they only see one parent and the other on weekends or depending on the arrangement you have. You may have moved house or returned to live with your parents; all of these changes have an impact on children.
Make sure that they have moved on from the divorce situation before you introduce them to your new partner. It's best to wait if they aren't. In the meantime, you start establishing a healthy lifestyle routine for them. When you feel that your "healthy lifestyle" has made an impact on them, you can start bringing up the subject of someone in your life who you want them to meet, but don't tell them right away that you are planning on getting married. Take it slowly because they will be surprised to learn that you have someone in your life. It's best to only give them a little information at a time.
2. Allow Them To Get Used to the Idea
This is a big step for them, to know that there is someone in your life and that there will be someone living with them, so let that sink in, that there is someone in your life and you are planning to remarry. While they are adjusting to the new changes, it is best to surround them with friends and family members who are in the same situation to help them feel that everything is fine and that this is something normal.
Expect your child to be confused by these changes right away, but you must use a variety of strategies to win them over and make them love their step-parent during this time. If you force them to have a relationship with their step-parent, they will likely become resentful. If you keep your romantic partner away from your children, it will be difficult to transition into a family dynamic. It is best to take things slowly and give them time to get to know and like your partner; things will become much easier for both of you with time.
3. Allow Them To Express Themselves and Listen to Their Reactions
You must understand that they believe your new partner will take you away from them, and you must make it clear that this is not the case. Listen to them; they will most likely have a lot of questions; you must be patient with them and answer each and every question they have in a way that they will understand, rather than making them have more questions. When you intentionally care for them, they will understand that you are taking their interests into consideration when making a decision. If they are old enough, you may discover that they are upset or worried about some of your behaviors. Rather than becoming upset, take the time to comprehend the emotions with which they are dealing.
4. Prepare Your Children for Meeting Your Partner Ahead of Time
Of course, you will not introduce your partner to your children after you have married them; that is a no-no. Instead, gradually introduce them to each other, such as taking them to the arcade and allowing them to play together so they can see their fun side. go to your children's favorite restaurant. When they become used to them, you can invite them to family gatherings. When they see how much their family loves this person, they will gradually accept and like them. It's all about taking it slowly and not surprising them.
This is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Allow yourself time to adjust to the fact that you have a new partner in your life, and allow your children time to adjust as well. Many children become confused when confronted with unexpected circumstances; gradually introducing them to each other is the best option. Always be honest with your children; it will benefit you greatly in the long run.
Main Image Credits: Chris Thilk