Remarriages are certainly not made in heaven. You put behind the anguish of a failed relationship. You rebuild trust and hope, bit by bit. And then, more often than not, there is other niggling worry in the back of your head. What if the children don’t like the new partner?
While many children resent the new person, there are cases where children are welcoming. Hollywood actress Gwen Stefani, separated from her husband of 14 years, is dating Blake Shelton and her three kids love him. According to the reports, her kids have even been dropping hints for Blake to propose their mother and become their step-dad.
Life coach Khyati Birla feels the chemistry of this new relationship should be inclusive towards the children, irrespective of their age.
“A teenager may take their parent’s remarriage differently than an older child. Children are a very good barometer to gauge how fake or true the person is. This is because children don’t have any agenda,” she says. It is important to build and strengthen this bond and experts say shared activities play a great role. Khyati says, “Spending time together is very important. It is the basis of any relationship. One can go for a movie or a play date to test the waters, to see if the child is warming up to the new partner.”
Counselling psychologist Farah Ladiwala feels this bond between the new parent and the child has to be unique. She says the child may not be accepting of the person right away.
“It is very important to see to it that the child doesn’t feel neglected, or that their importance is reduced in the parent’s life. They might feel the new partner is an intruder in their life, that they are now deprived of attention,” says Farah.
Farah adds, “It is important to have a transparent conversation with the child. And reassure him or her that nothing will change. One also has to tell the child that they are not bound to treat the person the same way as they do their father or mother.”
Khyati says if raised right, the child will be a discerning individual. “A child with good judgement will tell the parent upfront if he/she is not uncomfortable with the new partner. Encourage the child to open up, to give a frank opinion on the new partner. What the child says may surprise or even shock you,” she asserts.
The child’s approval is definitely important for a second marriage. “But before that, every one should invest time to establish a bond. Approval will spring from this,” says Farah.
And to get the two parties close, experts believe force doesn’t work. Take things easy, bring them together and observe, is their advice.
Khyati sums it up: “One must try and gauge if the liking is genuine or forced. A relationship prospers when natural and in all aspects — respect, trust and having each other’s back. If it is enforced, it is not sustainable.”...