How stepchildren can ruin a marriage

Nearly everyone who has had children from a previous marriage or relationship goes into a new marriage with the hopes of creating the perfect blended family. More often than not, these dreams are far from reality. With children who have been raised by a different parent and under different conditions than you’re offering, it might be hard to get them to see eye to eye with you. You have to understand them, their needs and not try to overstate your position with them else you risk losing your relationship entirely. So if you’re someone who is in this situation and it hasn’t been going well so far, or you’re just about to take the leap and want to make the best of it, here are a few things you should know about stepchildren and marriages.

There might be a little tussle for attention

Not every child understands the concept of loving different people equally. If you have children and you’re going into a new marriage, they might start to feel like their love was not enough for you or that your partner is trying to steal you from them. These unresolved sentiments will eventually grow into resentment and a whole lot of tension. Also, if you’re the one going into a marriage with someone who has kids, they might start to view you as the imposter who is trying to disrupt their family dynamics. It’s worse if there the other parent was/is actively involved in their lives. To them, your presence might be interpreted as you trying to take their parent’s place. With situations like these, you have to show kindness without going overboard. Respect their space and understand that you cannot force a relationship with them. They have to come to you on their terms.

Maria Ludovica (empress of Austria) with three stepchildren, painted by Bernhard von Guérard with watercolor and gouache on ivory, 1810
Maria Ludovica (empress of Austria) with three stepchildren, painted by Bernhard von Guérard with watercolor and gouache on ivory, 1810

Your arguments about finances might increase

The thing about children is that they are expensive to care for. Now if you have a parent in the marriage who believes in going all the way for their children (even when it’s not exactly necessary) and another who is a bit more frugal with money, there will definitely be a lot of arguments about how the family’s finances should be spent. In this case, it is necessary for both parents to come to a consensus on how they want to handle the issue and apply it across the board to all children.

There might be disciplinary or boundary issues

Everyone does not define discipline in the same way. This might result in arguments very often. One person may be stricter and want to handle all children in that manner while others may assume that you’re going down too hard on the children. These arguments if not handled properly might result in conflicts that may lead to bigger issues in your relationship. As with every relationship, you will both have to compromise and come to a consensus on how to properly handle discipline with the children.

If you’re the one without kids in the relationship, remember that your partner’s kids are a huge part of their life and you should try to cut them some slack. On the other hand, if you’re the one with kids, try not to use your children as an excuse to not pay attention to your spouse. Blended families may be hard to maintain, but it is definitely not an impossible task.

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