How Does Remarriage Affect Children?
If you’re a single mom thinking about remarrying, the decision is certainly a tough one. You certainly do deserve to be happy, but your children do also, so the key is to determine how to remarry in a way that will serve their needs as well as your own.
The numbers surrounding remarriage and children are a bit shocking, but if you take the right steps, you can minimize the effects of remarriage on your own children. For example, one study conducted in Missouri found that a third of the children who participated felt that their parents’ remarriages caused more stress in their lives than their divorces did. This is especially true in the case of a parent who has custody of the children because the marriage may mean that they have to move and change schools.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering remarriage is that you make your children aware of it before it happens. Make sure that they are still a big part of your life throughout the courtship and engagement. In that same study in Missouri, the one thing that caused big problems for children was when they did not know about the remarriage until after it happened.
Usually this was an issue involving the fathers of the children, who most of the time said that it was because they didn’t want the children’s mother to know they were getting married. On the flip side, children are more likely to know their mother’s partner very well by the time she marries him. This made the entire process a lot easier for the children.
The way the familial relationships play out in the remarriage also plays an important part in the overall success of the remarriage. For example, children who are younger than the age of seven usually see the new husband as a father. This is a very positive relationship that will likely result in a very successful family dynamic. If you’re getting along with your ex-husband fairly well and there are no major conflicts about the loyalties of the children, then they will often see your new husband as a bonus dad.
In short, the success of your remarriage can be predicted by how your child views your new husband. There are ways to make this a success as well, and if you feel that marriage is the eventuality of that relationship, you should work to build these relationships before he pops the question. Make him a part of your life with your children, but don’t do it until you are sure that he will be around for a long time. You do want to strive for stability in your children’s lives, but it’s important to also let them forge a relationship with him before you start talking marriage. This way it won’t seem like the only reason he wants to get to know them is because he wants to marry you.
Remarriage is certainly a tricky business when there are children involved, but there are ways everyone can be (mostly) happy. In the case of teenagers, the road may be even longer and more difficult, but it is possible to live in peace after a remarriage. It just takes some work on your part and your new husband’s part to make the new family dynamic work.