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Divorce Help | July 15, 2024

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Forging a Relationship With Your Child's New Stepparent - Divorce Help

Forging a Relationship With Your Child’s New Stepparent
Brian Beltz

So you’ve already endured the perils of divorce. If you have a child with your ex-spouse you have likely gone through challenges of getting your kid used to this new routine, which is so different from what it used to be. But when wedding bells are once again on the horizon for your ex, you are faced with yet another obstacle – getting along with their new fiancee or spouse for the sake of your child.

Catching wind of the news of your ex’s engagement can stimulate mixed emotions – usually feelings of anger, sadness, pain and an array of insecurities. While no one will expect you and the man or woman who has replaced you as your former spouse’s new flame to be best buds, creating a blended family free of animosity can be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and your family.

1. Be Courteous and Appreciative

It’s like some wide-eyed, inexperienced kid is applying for the role of executive vice president of your family. It’s natural for biological parents to feel threatened, afraid and unwilling to accept that the ex’s new spouse will play an integral role in your child’s upbringing. Imagining a stepfather playing catch with your little boy, or a new stepmother braiding your daughter’s hair can make you sick to your stomach, but let’s face it – it is going to happen whether you like it or not. Sooner acceptance will only ease the process. It will be difficult at first, but do your best to see the good in your child’s new stepparent. You aren’t the only one who is going through a challenging transition – their new role as a stepparent will be arduous, and earning your trust and the respect of your child can prove to be almost impossible.

2. Remain Communicative

A good man or woman in your child’s other home can be your best ally, not your arch enemy. You all (hopefully) have your child’s best interests at heart, and this transition won’t be easy for anyone – the new stepparent included. Expressing appreciation for their new role can mark the beginning to a healthy and positive relationship. Heck, it’s even likely that the new stepparent will be able to see eye-to-eye with you more than your ex-spouse and will be more interested in including you in family decisions. There was no messy breakup between the two of you, so why not take this as an opportunity to use your relationship to your advantage.

3. Stay Out of Their Marriage

Oh, how tempting it can be to give in to gossip after your child comes home from school to tell you about your ex’s ridiculous argument with their new spouse. Doing this will have zero positive impact on anyone. Bad mouthing your child’s stepparent will likely make your kid feel as though he or she can do the same, or to take sides and stunt any relationship they could have had. Later on, when your kid grows up, your child will grow to resent you for everything you said to negatively impact their relationships. You are the parent, and are therefore responsible for encouraging support and happiness in your child’s life regardless of how challenging it may be for you to put your emotions on the back burner.

If you think that some aspect of your ex’s marriage is destructive to your child’s life, and you are purely concerned with the well-being of your child, speak with your spouse and/or the stepparent privately instead of judging them based on what you have heard from another party and talking behind their backs.

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