10 Signs Your New Spouse Is the Right Person for Your Children

10 Signs Your New Spouse Is the Right Person for Your Children

Divorce specialist Brette Sember
Brette Sember is a former attorney from New York who specializes in divorce, mediation, family law, adoption, probate and estates, bankruptcy, credit, and other related fields. She holds a degree in English and a J.D. in law from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Going through a divorce was a challenging process for you and your children. Finding a new spouse and marrying again is a big decision. Not only is your happiness at stake but that of your children as well.

Remarrying is a huge step, and you want to be sure that the person you are committing to fits into your and your children’s lives.

Signs Your New Spouse is Right for Your Children

These are some signs that the person you have fallen in love with is a good fit for your kids:

  1. They treat you well. If your spouse treats you well and is a good partner, that is key to establishing a calm and happy home life where your children will thrive.
  2. Your kids have had time to get to know them. Introducing a new partner should be done slowly so kids have time to bond and adjust to the idea of a new person joining their household.
  3. Your children like them. If your kids already like your spouse, that means that there is a solid basis for a healthy relationship that can be built on.
  4. They understand the importance of your children in your life. As a parent, your kids always come first. It can be challenging for a new spouse to cope with this, and if your new spouse respects your commitment to your children, it’s a good sign.
  5. They want to spend time with your kids. When your new spouse is interested in spending time with your kids and interacting with them alone, it indicates they have developed a healthy, separate relationship with them.
  6. They respect your children. A spouse who respects your kids as people and treats them as if their thoughts and emotions are essential is likely to develop a healthy relationship with them.
  7. They really talk to your kids. Some adults ignore kids or talk down to them. If your partner is going to be a successful stepparent, they should authentically engage with your children at their level.
  8. They have patience. It takes time to forge a stepparent-stepchild relationship. Suppose your new spouse understands the relationship will deepen with time and can wait out initial hostility or resistance. In that case, they likely can create a solid relationship with your kids.
  9. They can respect the other parent. If your children’s other parent is in the picture, your new spouse will have contact with them from time to time. If they can be civil and friendly when they interact, this will help keep the family on an even keel.
  10. Their children get along with your children. If your new spouse has children of their own, everyone in the new stepfamily must be able to interact well with each other.

Signs Your Kids Are Having Trouble Adjusting to Your New Spouse

In a perfect world, your kids would immediately bond with the person you fall in love with and be thrilled for them to marry you. In the real world, it rarely works that way. A study found that most kids are confused when their parents date after divorce.

Children under age 10 frequently feel possessive or angry when their parents have new partners. It’s normal for your child to struggle with a new adult entering their household.

Here are some signs your child is struggling to adjust to your new spouse:

  • They are having difficulty at school or with friends.
  • They tell the other parent negative things about your household and spouse.
  • They refuse to talk to or engage with your spouse.
  • They fight or argue with your new spouse.
  • They act out while at home with you or your new spouse.
  • They withdraw and don’t want to communicate or engage with you or your new spouse.
  • They say they want you and their other parent to remarry.
  • They complain about things like stomach aches or headaches.

How to Create a Healthy Relationship Between Your Child and New Spouse

There are things you can do to prevent problems or to resolve them once they appear to help your new family find a healthy balance and establish equilibrium.

  • Introduce new partners only when you are serious about them. It can be very confusing if your kids see a revolving door of your casual dates. Don’t introduce them until you are serious with your new partner.
  • Be honest with them. When talking about a new partner or your plans for the future, tell your kids the truth in an age-appropriate way.
  • Talk about everything a lot. Talk to your kids frequently about what has happened and will happen, and give them lots of space to talk about what they think and how they feel.
  • Let things evolve naturally. You can’t force your kids to like your spouse. The best thing you can do is provide openings for them to relate to each other, step back, and let them create a relationship together.
  • Set boundaries. Make it clear that your child’s feelings matter, and you want them to be honest with you, but rudeness or disrespect of a new household member is inappropriate. They are absolutely allowed to feel angry, hurt, sad, scared, confused, lonely, and more, and they can express all of those emotions in a way that is not designed to hurt someone else.
  • Be clear your kids are a top priority. Ensure everyone in the dynamic understands that your children come first while you love your new partner.
  • Don’t let kids decide. Don’t give your children the impression that they can determine if your new spouse can be part of the family. The adults make those decisions. Children’s views are heard, respected, and considered, but it’s too much of a responsibility for a child to decide something like that.
  • Go to therapy. If you have individual issues to work on, see a therapist. If your children are struggling with the divorce or the new marriage, take them to a therapist. If you and your new spouse have problems, seek couples therapy. Family dynamics can be complex, and the help of a professional can be invaluable.
  • Be patient. It can take a long time for your child to love and accept your new spouse, so be prepared to wait it out.
  • Make the new family a joyful experience. It’s hard to expect your child to react positively to a situation if everyone is nervous and on pins and needles. Create a relaxed, loving, fun atmosphere where your child can feel safe and accepted.

Final Thoughts

Getting married again after a divorce can be challenging for everyone involved. Setting expectations, encouraging everyone to be themselves, and creating a spirit of acceptance and warmth can help make the transition easier for everyone.


CATEGORIES: Life After Divorce

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