The act of getting married should be one of joy and celebration. This may not be the case if your adult children refuse to accept your new spouse. Anyone, even an adult child, may find it difficult to understand and accept the addition of a new member to the family. The disapproval of your children can turn what should be a happy time into something stressful and devastating. You may be able to persuade your children to accept your new spouse by talking to them, emphasising the positive aspects of the situation, and assuaging their fears.
Method 1 Talking to Your Children about Your New Spouse
1. Reassure them of your feelings for them. Even grown-up children may feel threatened by a new spouse. They may believe that your feelings for them will wane now that you have a new person in your life. Assure them that you will always love them the same way.
You could tell them, for example, “You never have to worry about me loving you any less, especially just because I married someone.” You will always be my child, and no matter what, I will always love you.” It may take several repetitions for your child to understand, but he or she will eventually get it.
2. Explain that your relationship will not suffer as a result of this. Your children may believe that having a new stepparent in the family will diminish your bond. In other words, they may feel as if they are being replaced. Assure them that your spouse will only add to the family and not detract from it.
By sticking to your routine, you can demonstrate to them that your relationship is stable. Changing anything about your relationship with your children after marriage can send the message that they are no longer a priority to you.
3. Inform them that your stepchildren will not be taking their place. Even adult children have insecurities. Your children may be concerned that your new spouse’s children will enter the family dynamic and replace them. Tell them that would never happen.
Consider attempting to bring your stepchildren and children closer together. Invite them to go on outings with you, invite them all to your house, and encourage them to spend time together. Avoid bringing it up if it is clear that they do not like each other and do not want to put forth the effort to build a relationship.
Remember that this will all take time, but by making the first contact, you are laying the groundwork for potential future relationships.
4. Discuss your feelings with them. You may be a parent, but you have the right to be happy, even if your children don’t seem to want you to be. Inform them that their actions are causing you harm. They may be unaware of how their actions are affecting you.
For example, you could tell them, “I understand you don’t like my new spouse.” Your behaviour toward them, on the other hand, is not only disrespectful to them, but also to me. You don’t have to like them, but I do expect you to respect them.”
It is not too much to ask your children to welcome your new spouse into the family, and you should not feel bad about it. In fact, failing to speak up may pit you and your children against your spouse.
Method 2 Focusing on the Positives
1. Remind your children of your joy. You can safely say that your new spouse makes you happy. This should be enough to please your children. If they don’t already know, tell them how it works. Remind them that they should be happy for you rather than making you unhappy.
For example, you could say, “My new spouse makes me happy, and I wish you could feel the same way.” Your dissatisfaction adds stress and sadness to my life. I can’t be completely happy until you’re happy for me, so please be.”
2. Tell them that having a spouse provides you with care. Elderly people who are single frequently rely on relatives, such as their children, to care for them in their final years. This is difficult for many adult children because they have their own families to consider. Having a spouse care for you can relieve them of some of their responsibilities.
Also, emphasise that they don’t have to be concerned about you because you’re not alone. You have someone with you who will keep an eye on you and assist you if you become ill or injured.
3. Inform them that marriage means less responsibility for them. When you were single, you may have relied on your children for assistance with certain tasks. You may have requested a ride when your vehicle was in the shop or contacted them when you needed tax advice.
You probably don’t need to rely on them as much now that you’ve remarried. That may relieve some of their stress.
Method 3 Calming Their Anxieties
1. Assure them that you understand what you’re doing. Your children may believe that your new spouse is exploiting you or is unsuitable for you. You are, however, an adult and fully capable of making your own decisions. You can tell them that you appreciate their concern, but you made the best decision for yourself.
For example, you could say, “I know you care about me and are concerned that I’ve made a mistake.” However, I am capable of looking after myself and trusting my decision.” What you say should hopefully put their minds at ease and allow them to accept your new spouse.
2. Be understanding of your children who are grieving the loss of a parent. You may be able to move on and find a new wife or husband, but your children will not be able to do so. Remember this as you try to integrate your new spouse into the family. Do not act as if their deceased parent did not exist. Pay tribute to them with family traditions and continue to share happy memories.
When one parent dies, children worry that a new spouse will try to fill the void left by the deceased parent. Assure them that you and your spouse will remember the parent who has died. Make it clear to your children that you do not expect them to love their spouse in the same way that they loved their own parents.
Be especially cautious if this new relationship began soon after the death of their parent. You can expect and request more understanding from them as time passes.
3. Determine how to cope after a divorce. If you and your previous spouse divorced, they are most likely still involved. This means you’ll have to learn how to navigate social interactions with them as well as your new spouse. Don’t try to establish yourself as the “parent” to your new spouse. After a divorce, respect your ex’s role and continue to let them parent.
You could try saying something like, “My husband is not attempting to be your other parent.” Instead, he simply wishes to be a different part of your life. We value your relationship with your father. We are not attempting to obstruct that.”
4. Discuss your financial situation. Older children may be concerned about their inheritance if you marry someone new, as selfish as it may sound. They may be concerned that your spouse will now receive what they thought was meant for them. If this is still what you want for them, let them know that your estate will still go to them, as stated in your will.
You should also consider discussing your prenuptial agreement, if you have one. This would prevent your new spouse from inheriting a large portion of your assets if you divorce. Talking about it with your kids may make them feel better about the situation.
5. Spend time alone with them. Spend some time with your children without your new spouse’s company. Part of the reason they may be resistant to your new partner is that they no longer get to spend time with you alone; instead, they only get to spend time with you as part of a couple.
By spending time with them away from your spouse, you demonstrate to them that they will not be pushed aside because of your relationship.
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