Incorporating Your “New” Family Into Your First Family

In Lifestyle, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

After the grieving and sadness of the end of your prior marriage, it is easy to lose hope that you will find happiness again. But finding love again after a divorce happens and can be an exciting and affirming experience. For some, this new love can lead to another marriage and even having another child. While wonderful and exciting for you, having a new child may give rise to feelings of anger, jealousy, and abandonment from your older children. While it is natural and normal for your children to have these feelings, there are conscious efforts you can take to incorporate your families together.

Have Conversations With Your Older Children.

Let them know that a new sibling is coming and tell them your plans. Let them know that they are still your children and that you love them. And let them ask any questions they may have. Even teenagers, who may not seem like they want to talk about anything, will appreciate openness and the opportunity for this conversation.

Speak With Your New Spouse

Your new partner is also the mother or father of the new child to come. It is critical to have numerous honest and free-flowing conversations on the subject of including your older children into your new family. While your new partner may have a good relationship with your older children, there is the possibility of an attitude shift when they have a biological child of their own. It is important to address this early and to be mindful of your spouse’s feelings and behavior. The idea is for you and your new partner to be inclusive to your older children, and not exclusive.

Remain Consistent

One of the feelings that older children sometimes feel when a new child is introduced into the mix is abandonment. They feel that things have changed and they are no longer getting the time or attention that they once received from you. This is why it is critical to remain consistent with your older children. For example, if you are not the primary custodian of your older children, make sure that you continue to exercise all of your visitation. Declining periods of visitation can begin innocently, but snowball into a big problem.

Maintain Your Relationship With Each Child

Do not forget your history and relationship with each of your children. Continue to foster that relationship by taking time to give attention to each child. Occasionally arrange for your spouse to care for your baby while you make plans with your other children. If you have traditions and hobbies with each child, do your best to continue.

 New Direction Family Law

Separations and divorces represent the sad end to a once-promising relationship; however, they also signify an opportunity to move forward. We assist clients with family law matters and strive to help people find their new direction. We want our clients to feel respected, fully informed, and supported throughout this difficult process. If you are considering separation or divorce, you should call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to set up an appointment or visit us at our website.