When people remarry, there are often children involved. The sex and ages of the children, their personalities, and the relationships they shared with the absentee parent are all factors that determine how they will live together.
However, the most important aspect of all this is the relationship they have with the parent they are with and his or her relationship with the new partner. Loving one’s children can be trying and extremely hurtful at times even under the best of circumstances but with a new “parent” in the house all sorts of behaviors take place and while some are cured with time and caring others remain for a lifetime for good or not so good.
The amount of time and the way the absentee parent behaves will have an effect. If there is a lot of time together fine, but if it is used to say things or to get back at the other parent, not so fine. If the time is used to play, “Santa Claus” or buy the affection of the child, not so fine. Unreal.
Sometimes a child is used to gather information about the parent and the new partner. Not so fine. The best result is when the absentee parent is reasonably mature and in a rewarding relationship themselves. If they were the one to end the marriage, it is also easier than if they were “done to.” Then anger and resentment occur.
If the child is young, they will have a real struggle over whom they owe allegiance to. Counseling for a child could be helpful. Then they can tell their real feelings to a trusted person who will help and guide them. Feelings are difficult to control and they will always win out over thoughts. BUT thoughts can be looked at and often changed so that the feelings will follow.
The “new” parent has as their primary job to be patient, try to be helpful, and loving and know they will never be the birth parent. They can also set a different example for the child, which will be a benefit as the child can see another way of having a parent. If the “new” parent is similar in manner to the birth parent that will only reinforce the role model. The real work has to be the parent that has chosen a new mate.
The message has to be written in stone that, “I love this person and they will never go away. I will not be torn by two loves… a mate… and a child or children!” At times, it is very hard and there are many examples where the children have forced what might have been a good marriage, apart. This can also happen when there are two “original” parents and the relationship is not solid.
So, talk to the children and communicate true feelings of love for them and let them know their needs will be met. That does not mean they cannot be reprimanded either. Hopefully blended families will be rewarding, as that seems to be the wave of the future.