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 a few things you should know about step children 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 our 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 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.
  • 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 necessary for both parents to come to a consensus on how they want to handle the issue and apply it across 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.

How to Make a Marriage Work with Stepchildren

In all honesty, being a step-parent is a Herculean task. It comes with a lot of ups and downs and if care is not taken, it can cause a huge strain on your marriage. Marriages on their own require a whole lot of hard work, not to talk of adding the stress of having step-children. Some might never accept you and would stop at almost nothing to make life hard for you. However, with these tips highlighted below, you can still make your marriage work when step-children are involved.

Set Boundaries

If you want to enjoy your marriage with step-children involved, you need to set boundaries as quickly as possible. You should let the children be aware of what is acceptable with you and what is not. It goes in both ways, as you should equally respect their own boundaries, especially if they are teenagers. No issue should be seen as too big or too little for boundaries to be set. It would breed respect and become an important aspect of your daily lives.

Grow Thick Skin

To have a successful blended family, you need to develop a thick skin while being sensitive to emotions as well. You need to take out time to put all your insecurities aside, because having step-children isn’t going to be an easy both ride. You will get compared a lot, you might get picked on, and the children might hate you or even say hurtful things about you. You need to take this unnecessary stress out without letting it put a strain on your marriage. In most cases, it all works out in the end.

Allow the Parent to Discipline

It is important to note that you should take a step back and let the parent do the disciplining. You can not decide to discipline them, especially in the early stages of your marriage. They need to know you to a certain extent and be comfortable enough to trust you. They definitely would not listen to you because you are their new parent. Start the process slowly by becoming actively involved in laying down rumors, however never punish them when the rules are broken. This would prevent the children from seeing you as the bad guy.

Never Let Your Spouse Choose Sides

When step-children are involved, never put your spouse in the position of choosing between you and the children. This is terrible for not just the kids, but for your marriage as a whole. In situations where you are having a discussion where a decision has to be made, you could use code languages that only you and your partner would understand. You could also discuss the issue later, but never give your spouse an ultimatum.

Finally, remember making your marriage work is just as important as raising children. They would not live with you forever, so make great memories with them while you can. It takes a lot of patience and maturity, but with your partner by your side, it can be a walk in the park.