After divorce, it is expected that both parties will go on with their lives, and this may include starting new relationships and possibly remarrying. Stepmoms have been demonized throughout history and through children’s stories. (Cinderella, anyone?) Many women feel uneasy with the idea of sending their children off to their ex-husband’s house with his new woman.
As a childhood victim of abuse by a stepmother, I know that the horror stories in Cinderella or Snow White may not be exaggerated after all. However, as the stepdaughter of two wonderful stepmoms (yes, my dad has married multiple times!), I know that children and stepmothers can get along, if you all keep an open mind and a healthy attitude.
- Do not feel threatened. Many women have fears about having their kids in a stepmom situation. To quell your concerns, keep in mind that no other woman can replace you in your children’s heart. You will always be their mother and your children will love you, regardless of who else is in their dad’s life.
- Teach children respect. Do not talk about “la otra” like she is an “intrusa”. Keep a positive attitude so your children do not feel they need to take sides. Teach them the same respect you would want for them to show your own partner.
- Teach them assertiveness. Do not teach your kids to be subservient. Teach them to use their communication skills to express themselves and voice their opinions and concerns in a respectful way. You don’t want your children to be doormats, but you don’t want to teach them to be rude either. Find the right balance by raising children with values that protect them from harm but also help them live in harmony with others.
Read Related: How to Co-Parent After Divorce
- Keep the channels of communication open. Teaching your children to have open and honest dialogues with you is important. You always want to know what is going on in your children’s lives and the more confident they are that they can freely express themselves with you, the better your relationship with them will be. Keep an open dialogue with your ex too. Although you are divorced, the children still have two parents.
- Model the values you want your children to learn. The best way to teach your children is by example. Talk the talk but walk the walk. Be respectful, cordial, and amicable in conversations with your ex and his new love.
Children of divorce can be lucky enough to add people of value to their lives. Stepparents can become a strong part of the family and contribute to raising children who feel loved and grow up to be strong, successful, and happy. I want to know your opinion. To comment on this topic, leave your comment here. To send private comments, questions, or suggestions, email email@example.com.