When they sit their children down to tell them that they plan to marry, parents are certainly hoping for positive responses and cheerfully offered support, but not all kids view the upcoming wedding as a happy event. Kids, even those who like their potential stepparent, may have concerns about how their parent’s marriage will impact their lives, so it can take a bit of reassurance before children are excited about the wedding.
Introducing Children to a Potential Mate
Some parents choose to introduce their children to everyone that they date, but most child development experts frown on this practice. Instead, they recommend that only those with the potential to be a permanent part of the children’s lives should be brought into the picture, the idea being that kids need not be repeatedly disappointed if someone that they’ve grown to care for is suddenly removed from their lives.
In the same vein, children should be given ample time to form a relationship with a person that is important to their parent, so that by the time that wedding plans are being discussed, the kids are comfortable in knowing that their soon-to-be stepparent is someone with whom they share a mutual affection. If everyone has had the chance to get to know one another and be a part of the growing relationship, news of a wedding shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Encouraging Warm Relationships with Ones Children
Stepparents often play important roles in the lives of their stepchildren, so it is important that both generations see the other as a happy addition to their lives. Natural parents can help their kids to develop close relationships with their partner by including them in outings, meals, and everyday get-togethers. Spending time together is the surest way for children and their potential stepparents to grow close and learn to trust and appreciate one another.
In addition to scheduling time with their partner and their children as a group, parents should encourage their significant other to bond with each child individually, spending some time one-on-one so that they get the chance to talk and learn about one another. The more time that the kids get with their parent’s partner, the better the chances that they will feel good about that person becoming a part of their family.
Allowing Children to Express their Emotions
While the hope is that children will express delight at the idea of their parent’s marriage, that isn’t always the reaction that they get. Some kids object strongly to the notion of having a stepparent join the family, and while it can be difficult for parents to think that the very thing that will bring them happiness may be troubling for their children, the kids need to be able to express themselves honestly. Parents should take time to listen to their children’s concerns and then do all that they can to address the issues, hopefully proving the kids with some much needed reassurance.
Including Children in Wedding Plans
With the exception of only the most stubbornly opposed children, most kids are excited to be included in their parent’s wedding plans. Asking kids for their input while the ceremony is in the planning stages and/or inviting them to be a part of the ceremony itself can go a long way toward gaining their support and sparking their excitement about the marriage. Another benefit of including children in wedding plans is that it lets them know that they are considered to be an important part of the relationship by both their natural parent and their stepparent, setting the stage for a happy life as a stepfamily.
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We are due to get married in 6 months and my step-children wanted to be involved in our wedding but now they are not interested. I have been with my Fiance for 7 years and we have been engaged for 3 years. They refer to me as their step-mum now, done off their own backs. They had been asking when we were going to get married and asked if they could be bridesmaids as they never have been before, which I was planning on asking them anyway. At first they were interested in what was happening but now are not interested in the slightest. They live with their mum who has been with her partner for 2 years and they have no intentions of getting married, they do not get involved with each others children and pretty much have 2 separate families living in their house. I dont know what to do, I dont want to keep pushing our plans onto them but I dont want them to feel like they are not involved/included. Any advice please?