Goodwin Como, P.C.

3 tips for a successful remarriage involving stepchildren

The chances of divorce spike in marriages where step-kids are involved, according to a recent article. While more than two-thirds of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, the success rates of second and third marriages steadily decline from there. Remarriages have extra challenges. A second marriage can be more complicated if there are children from a previous marriage involved, and if there are ex-spouses who are obstructing a smooth transition.

More than three-quarters of couples enter into blended families without seeking relationship help or education on the complexities of the new--often challenging--familial dynamic. More than half of couples fail to even read a book on remarriage or step-parenting when they get married anew.

We've provided a few strategies to help establish a successful stepparent relationship from the onset:

  1. Understand your role. As a new stepparent, your main job is to build trust with your stepchild and provide support. Take back seat to disciplining--at least at the start. Leave it to the biological parent. Adjusting to a new stepparent is often a rocky road for stepchildren, so it's important to avoid injecting additional conflict whenever possible.
  2. Don't criticize your spouse's methods of discipline--especially in front of their children. Biological parents are frequently more rigid surrounding how they discipline for their biological children, and this can be a stressor in a relationship. It's important to discuss disciplinary methods together and be on same page. Giving children too much power could sabotage a second marriage.
  3. Don't try too hard. Don't push for a tight relationship with your step-kids right away. Don't try to get them to call you mom or dad or insist on spending one-on-one time together. Let the relationship develop organically.

In all aspects of new blended family relationships, it is key that you and your partner worth with--rather than against--each other in fostering a healthy coexistence.

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