You are now married to a man that has children from his prior marriage. How do you act, what do you do? Here’s what not to do when it comes to parenting his children.
7 Mistakes New Wives Make When It Comes to Parenting His Children
- Wanting to Be Called “Mom”
Wanting to be called mom sets up competition between you and the child’s biological mom, creating tension and jealousy leaving the child in the middle. Give up the resistance that he/she is their mom, and avoid competing for the title. Ultimately, the child will respect you more and appreciate who you are, versus focusing on defending you to their mom.
- Insisting on Being Included When It Comes to Decisions about His Children
Assuming these decisions are not directly effecting you, avoid interfering—it only causes arguments between you and your spouse on what the ex wife is requesting or needing. The ex was there before you and so were their children. The reality is that they will win and you will lose when it comes to parenting his children of this previous marriage. Therefore, avoid over-demanding, as it is just perceived as a power struggle and takes away from your relationship. If you do this, he may start holding back to avoid conflicts with you.
- Wanting to Be Liked
Wanting to be liked sets you up as an enabler of his children. For example, by saying yes to situations and requests that the child may want while knowing their mom will say no—the child will learn early on that you are easily manipulated. This leads the child to believe that they can always get what they want from you. It may feel like they like you more when you’re the “good guy”, but you are actually setting up for them to not respect you and ultimately not like you.
- Making His Ex Wife and Parenting of Children a Primary Topic
If the ex wife is the subject of your arguments over their children, she has a lot of control over your relationship with your spouse. Avoid making the ex important in the wrong way. Your spouse will respect you more and be less inclined to defend or protect her when you start getting upset.
- Insisting on Attending Events for The Child That May Cause More Focus on You
When it comes to events, the child has to chose who attends—whether it is parent-teacher day, prom dress shopping, mommy daughter days, and marriages. These events are high pressure enough, and having to deal with two moms fighting over who attends can make it even worse. The child may get anxiety over this situation and want to avoid it all together. The last thing you want is to be resented for the pressure that comes with getting an invite. Don’t worry, there’s lots of events to come along the grand scheme of life, and sometimes you might even be the first pick for something else.
- Bad Mouthing the Child’s Mother When His Child Confides in You
The child is going to have ups and downs with their parents. When a child is at a moment where they are making up with their mom, you may feel left out when things are going good between them. This will create resentment and the possibility of stirring up trouble so you can feel more connected. Be there for the child instead, and validate their feelings—avoid relaying your judgments of the mom. The child will respect you in the long run, as they’ll remember you always being there for them rather than trying to tear someone else down.
- “Marking” the Child with Gifts, Clothing and Hairstyles, Before He/She Goes Home
Often times, the child already feels guilty before he/she returns to their mother after visiting with you and dad. If the ex-wife is feeling some concerns about your desire to move in on her mom status, she may take it out on child or ask for information about you from the child. This creates a relationship triangle, where the child learns how to be a secret keeper and avoid conflict. This dynamic backfires in the long run and there’s always a possibility that the child will blame you later on in life if they believe you were doing this to be spiteful.
- Wanting to Be Called “Mom”