Single Or Divorced? Got Kids? Thinking of Remarriage? Don"t Forget Your Kids

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If you are single or divorced and have children, then my heart goes out to you.
It is incredibly difficult to raise children by yourself or with only random help from an ex-spouse.
Even when you give it all that you have, you are still left feeling that you are not giving enough.
If only you could manufacture some more time in your day...
If only you could go without sleep altogether...
If only you did not have to work...
If only you had someone to help you and to fill the loneliness in your heart...
When the opportunity to remarry or perhaps to get married for the first time arises, the temptation can be very strong.
A spouse will give you a partner, someone to fill your personal needs.
But also someone to help pick up the slack with the children, to help with cooking and laundry and errands and chores, etc.
The temptation to make this a reality can be very strong, indeed! Stop right there! It is unfortunate that so many single parents get to a point of desperation that they leap into a new marriage or another live-in relationship without giving enough thought to the children involved.
I do not mean to sound callous here and suggest that children are never a consideration in this decision.
They are.
They are a huge consideration.
But there often seems to be a lack of ample thought and discussion regarding the other person's parenting style and philosophy about raising children.
Step-parenting is very hard.
Blending families or just adding a new member to your core unit can throw everyone's world into chaos.
There is someone new to get used to with different habits and routines.
After the initial honeymoon period, then everyone settles back into their way of doing things and the chaos begins in earnest.
So you walk on eggshells for awhile and tip-toe around the issues that are beginning take up more and more space in your home.
Who spilled the "#&!@*$)" milk? It may just be something as innocuous as a little spilled milk that sets your new partner off and allows you to truly see for the first time just what you have done.
As your partner goes off on your child, you get a sense of horror and extreme guilt over your decision to allow this person into your child's life.
And then you get angry and move in to protect your child.
And then...
Well, you get the general idea.
Similar scenarios are played out daily all across our country.
Step-parenting is hard.
Especially when you never gave enough thought or discussion to each other's parenting style and child raising philosophy.
  • Is he permissive or authoritarian?
  • Is she a 'clean freak' or a slob?
  • Will he back me up in the area of discipline or will he push his own agenda?
  • How does she feel about my child's education? Will she help with homework?
  • How did I miss that he was so lazy?
  • I never realized that she had such a warped view of consequences and punishment!
  • Why won't he accept the limits I set for my children? He constantly ignores them!
  • And on and on...
This is why step-parenting is so difficult.
There is no perfect blend out there.
But if you don't know each other's style and philosophy, then you have just bought yourself a ticket to some very difficult times ahead.
Not just for you, but for your children, also.
Learn, talk, discuss...
Think before you leap! So before you go and take the plunge into marriage with children (or remarriage with children), think about your children.
Get to know each other's parenting philosophy and style.
Do you set similar limits? Do you have similar expectations? If differences of opinion exist, can they be reconciled? And don't just dismiss these differences and believe that you will be able to work them out later.
It rarely works out that way.
Generally, these differences are exacerbated in the blending process.
Work out these differences before you become a new family.
Or just don't do it.
If you can not work out your differences, then this will not be the right person for you or your children.
Let him or her go and move on...

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