REPARTNERED-WITH KIDS

    loving the second time around

 

  • Are you determined to make your second marriage/partnership last a lifetime?

  • Are you keen to understand the common challenges presented by second life-partnerships?

  • Do you believe that forewarned is forearmed?

  • Do you want to be well-equipped to build a successful second family?

  • Would you like to get some helpful tips on how to most effectively deal with common second life-partnership challenges?

 

        If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ then this booklet is for you.

 

Congratulations! You’ve taken the plunge a second time. You are in love, are filled with high hopes and great expectations. You’ve learnt a thing or two from the experience of ending your last marriage or de-facto relationship. You are as determined as can be that this time things are going to be different.


Good for you! Love and determination are a wonderful start that will see you through many of the challenges your new relationship holds in store. To build a marriage that lasts a lifetime, however, you need to recognise, understand and work with the many differences a second marriage (that involves children from a first relationship) presents.


Whether it is you who brings children into the new relationship or it’s your partner, one thing is for sure - second families come with baggage.

 

The good news is that baggage isn’t something to be afraid of but something that needs to be explored. So, let’s take a look at some of the most obvious baggage that accompanies ‘doing it a second time round’.


Second families are birthed as a result of a significant loss.


Either you or your partner has been through the experience of losing someone you once loved. Sometimes this is due to a partner’s death, more often it is due to separation or divorce. If the person you once loved has left you, they will also have left a legacy of pain. Even if it was you who made the leaving decision, you did not escape unscathed. Separation, and especially divorce, is never easy. The difficult process tends to cause deep wounds of rejection, resentment, insecurity and guilt. Whether you are aware or not, these wounds – even if they are healed by the time you repartner – leave scars that have an influence on your thoughts, feelings and actions. This is not only true for you but also for your children. Whether they live with you or your former partner or they spend lots of time with both or either of you, they also have been scarred by experiencing their parent’s divorce or separation.

 

Whilst the pain you feel is quite different if you lose your partner to an untimely death, the reality is that both you and your children undergo significant suffering.

 

In order to build your new relationship on a healthy foundation it is vital that you acknowledge your grief, take a good look at your baggage and determine to deal with it. 

 

What can you do?

 

Taking the following steps will help you with this process:

 

Step 1 - Be aware of your feelings

 

If you find yourself reacting rather strongly and in out-of-proportion ways to certain happenings in your life, ask yourself: “What does this remind me of?”; “What am I afraid of?”; “Why does this cause me to feel so uncomfortable, angry, furious….?”; “What is this really about?”

 

Step 2 - Give yourself permission to feel your feelings

 

Whether you are feeling sad or mad, give yourself permission to feel. Trying NOT to feel is just as futile as trying not to think of the pink elephant in your lounge room. You cannot control or stop your feelings. What you can control, however, is whether and how you act on those feelings.

 

Step 3 - Express your feelings

 

Sharing your feelings with an appropriate person (your partner, your friend, a mentor or a counsellor) is taking a very important step in the right direction and usually helps take the ‘sting’ out of those feelings. It also means that once talked about, your urge to act on them will generally diminish greatly.

 

Step 4 - Give your children permission to express their grief

 

Children who have experienced the breakup of their parent’s relationship suffer just as much as you do but rarely have the maturity to appropriately express these feelings. Instead they may give them a ‘voice’ through their behaviour. Don’t assume that your children are simply rebelling against you or the new circumstance if you find them behaving in an unbearable way. Try to get them to talk about what’s going on in their heads and hearts. When they tell you, be sure not to judge, minimise or attempt to jolly them out of their feelings. They, like you, have every right to whatever their feelings may be. If they can talk about what’s going on for them without the fear of disappointing, angering or making you sad, their behaviour is likely, in due time, to become far more manageable. 

 

If you can think of your feelings as a barometer that shows you when your internal temperature rises beyond the healthy range, you’ll understand that they are there to alert you to areas in your life that need your attention.

 

Second families include children who have blood ties with only one of the couple.

 

To buy this booklet, click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   YOU AND YOUR PARTNER’S KIDS

      how to create a workable relationship with your stepchildren 

 

  • Do your stepchildren have the ability to drive you crazy?

  • Does your partner expect you to love his/her children just like your own?

  • Do you feel guilty for not loving your stepkids that way?

  • Do you feel critical of your stepchildren’s behaviour?

  • Would you like to improve your relationship with your partner’s kids?

 

        If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ then this booklet it for you.

 

Your are excited and happy!! You’ve finally found the man or woman of your dreams - your true soul mate! He or she is absolutely gorgeous and you are madly in love. You have stars in your eyes and you know beyond any doubt that nothing and no-one will stand in your way of finding lasting happiness with this wonderful individual. In this amazing rush of ‘true love’ you take little notice of the fact that your chosen one isn’t unencumbered. He or she has one, two or more children by one, two or more previous partners. ‘So what?’ you reason, it doesn’t matter because the special connection between you and your new love will take care of any challenges that might come your way. There is no doubt in your mind that:

 

  • You’ll love his or her children just as if they were your own.

  • The children will welcome you with open arms once they realise how happy you make their parent.   

  • They’ll get along just fine with your children.

  • They won’t present a problem.

  • It won’t take long until you’ll all be one big happy family!

 

Right?

Wrong!!!

 

Yes it’s true - we all tell ourselves what we want to believe. We convince ourselves that, although we’ve witnessed friends struggling with all sorts of unexpected and difficult issues when they’ve partnered with someone who has children from a previous relationship, that this would NEVER happen to us. And when things do start to go a little sour, which sooner or later they invariably will, we cling on for dear life to those cherished hopes and dreams that propelled us into the relationship in the first place.

 

You might think:

 

  • It’s darn annoying when the kids are so disrespectful but that’ll change just as soon as they realise that I’m going to be in their lives for good.

 

  • It drives me nuts that my partner spoils his kids rotten. I guess he just doesn’t know any better but I’ll help him see what he’s doing.

 

  • It’s pretty hurtful when my partner’s kids are around and treat me like I wasn’t even there. That better change once we’re married.

 

  • The kids are so messy – leaving their junk lying around all over the place. Who do they think cleans it all up? Well, that’s not going to continue once I am in charge.

 

Okay, what’s happening now is that you are catching a few glimpses of reality but if you are like most other people you’ll either close your eyes to those or you convince yourself that things will change once you’ve tied the knot. If this is true for you let me assure you that you are in good company indeed. Most step-couples go through this rather predictable stage. This stage, as well as other predictable stepfamily stages, are explored in the Step By Step booklet entitled Repartnered … With Kids.

 

So, closing your eyes to reality is normal. It’s simply part and parcel of falling in love and, no doubt, is necessary in helping couples arrive at the next critical step – to commit to the relationship. Yes it’s true - love makes you blind! Life, however, has a habit of prying our eyes open sooner or later and when that happens, there’s no way around taking a look at reality. How you deal with the reality of YOUR circumstance will ultimately define whether your stepfamily journey will be a successful one, or not.

 

So, let’s now take a look at reality..........

 

To buy this booklet, click here. 

 

THE EX-FACTOR

 

dealing with ex-partners without

losing the plot

 

  • Do you find communicating with your ex more challenging than a visit to the dentist?

  • Do you find it difficult to say “no” to your ex?

  • Is your ex or your partner’s ex angry, non-supportive, needy or intrusive?

  • Does your or your partner’s ex badmouth you to the children?

  • Do you find yourself obsessing or brooding about your partner’s ex?​Does your partner’s relationship with their ex drive you crazy?

 

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then this booklet is for you.

 

So you have an ex-partner and things between you aren’t great ?!

 

You had high hopes that once the dust had settled over your divorce, things between you would calm down and you would be able to work together for the benefit of your mutual children, but all your hopes are dashed. Nothing you have tried seems to have made a great deal of difference. Your ex-partner still seems as hurt and as angry as ever and makes a point of letting you know their feelings at every turn.

 

I am aware that this is no consolation, but let me assure you, you are not the only one who feels this way! Unfortunately, there are many separated or divorced couples who find themselves in similar situations.

 

Difficult as this already proves to be, yet another complexity is added to the scenario once you decide to repartner. This generally tends to add fuel to the fire that is burning within an ex-partner’s heart who is unwilling or unable to move on themselves.

 

Since you are holding this booklet in your hand right now, I guess that you are struggling with such a situation – either as the one who has a difficult ex-partner or the one who has issues with your partner’s ex.

 

If so, I bet you are hoping that this booklet will give you all the magic answers you’ll need to change your difficult, frustrating and/or unpleasant ex-partner relationships.

 

Well, I have some bad news for you: As much as I would like to I, unfortunately, can’t offer any cure-alls, quick fixes or magic solutions.

 

Now to the good news: I can offer a number of great tips that will help you deal more effectively with your ex-partner relationships. The following tips will help you be better equipped to deal with whatever your ex-partner or your partner’s ex decides to ‘throw’ at you. They will provide strategies that will help you remain at a safe emotional distance whenever you find yourself as their target and will assist you with the process of holding onto your personal boundaries as well as your heart and your sanity at such times.

 

The majority of these tips have either been shared with me by my blended family clients, by the stepparents who have frequented my website or by my wonderful site assistants who made such a difference in the lives of those who came to the site seeking understanding and hope.

 

All the tips you will find in this booklet are tried, tested and have been effective for someone or other in a situation similar to yours. The first 10 tips are more applicable to people who struggle with their own ex-partners. The second 10 tips are designed to help your new partner survive the ex-experience.

 

To buy this booklet, click here. 

 

THE CHALLENGE OF DISCIPLINE  IN A STEPFAMILY

 

        The why’s, when’s and how to’s of discipline in stepfamilies and blended families.

 

  • Does the question of discipline cause disagreements between you and your partner?

  • Do you feel that your partner is too permissive with their biological children?

  • Are you unsure about your role in disciplining your stepchildren?

  • Do your stepchildren let you know that you can’t tell them what to do because you are not their mother/father?

  • Do you sometimes wonder what it will take for your partner to stand up for you?

 

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ then this booklet is for you.

 

Congratulations – you’ve become a parent!

 

A parent? Well, sort of! You’ve become a mum without the mandatory 9 months’ of bulging at the seams or a dad without sweating through your partner’s pregnancy and birthing experience. So, why aren’t you feeling happier?

 

My guess is that you’ve encountered a few step-hiccups. You’ve discovered that parenting someone else’s children isn’t like parenting your own. Perhaps you’ve – once too often – been the object of your stepchild’s furious battle cry: “You can’t tell me what to do, you are not my mother (father)”!  You’ve heard the saying that ‘parenting is the toughest job in the world’ but you had no idea that stepparenting is tougher still. You are convinced that his/her kids are naughtier than any other children you know and you feel upset about your partner’s unwillingness to address this issue. You get enraged each time he/she ignores their children’s disrespectful comments and you feel as though your partner always sticks up for them rather than for you.

 

The fact is that discipline in stepfamilies can be a very touchy topic that often is the cause of confusion, anxiety and much conflict.

 

It is not unusual for a stepparent to feel that their stepchildren are allowed to ‘get away with murder’ whilst the biological parent is convinced that the partner’s idea of discipline is much too harsh.

 

The reality is that we naturally tend to have a deeper understanding and closer connection with our own children than with someone else's. For instance, you may feel sorry for your biological child when he declares that he can't possibly take the garbage out because he's got a splitting headache, but suspect that your partner's child is just plain lazy when he uses a similar excuse. You might let your own child get away with a temper tantrum thinking, 'poor thing, she's been through so much, whilst feeling impatient and cross with your partner’s child when she does the same.

 

If you haven’t trodden the parenting path before becoming a stepparent, chances are that you don’t have a seasoned parent’s appreciation for the way a child behaves at certain ages and stages and may have little understanding for the way they might be acting out their feelings of insecurity. You may be put out when your partner’s children hog their parent for the entire weekend. You may feel pushed aside, left out and like the proverbial 5th wheel when your partner seems to concern themselves with nothing and no-one apart from their kids when they are around.

 

Whatever your situation may be, having partnered with a man or woman who has children from a previous relationship, you have automatically become a stepparent- ready or not – with all the responsibilities that come along with this role.

 

So, how can you become a confident and successful stepparent? 

 

In order to lay the right foundation for this important task, you will need to:

Accept – and I mean fully, really and completely accept – that from here on in you have children in your life who are not of your own flesh and blood.

Understand that your partner has a biological connection as well as a pre-existing relationship with their children that act as a strong emotional bond which you do not share.

Recognise that this emotional bond impacts the way your partner sees their children. This can best be conceptualised if you imagine your partner wearing a set of glasses that have different coloured lenses to yours.

Be aware that seeing their children in a different light to the way you see them will cause differences of opinion in many areas and especially in the area of discipline.

Realise that you will need to let go of some expectations - usually lots of them!

Acknowledge that you will have to invest lots of time, effort and energy in communication, negotiation and compromise in arriving at an agreement of appropriate measures of discipline.

Be prepared for the possibility that your partner will fight your parenting ideas on a variety of grounds such as:

 

  • “You don’t know my children. I do….and so I know what they need!”

  • “My kids are parented very differently in their other home, it will only confuse them if we start doing it your way.”

  • “You’ve never had children, so how would you know what it’s all about?”

  • “They won’t want to stay with us if we don’t give in to them”, etc.
     

Be willing to compromise on issues that are of particular significance to your partner. It will help you retain your sanity and aid ‘world peace’.

 

To buy this booklet, click here