As difficult as the loss of one parent (either due to death or divorce) is for the family context, sooner or later, the adjustment to the new situation will come, and all family members will get back into the rhythms of their daily routine. Thus, it is most likely that this parent will seek another person’s companionship to meet his emotional needs. But the question is: should children get to know the new partner, and if so, in what cases and in what way?
If the children are older, there will be a greater understanding of their parent’s needs. They will try to accept the new partner with greater maturity, but they will never see him as their late parent, i.e., they will never replace him.
If they go through adolescence, there may be a more significant reaction, but typical for their age. Children may want to distance themselves and to become introverts. That is why we should be cautious about how we will introduce this new person into their lives. The parent must continuously talk to children to freely express their thoughts and feelings for the new partner. Respect their needs but do not neglect your needs for support and companionship.
Even more attention is necessary if the children are young. With the introduction of a new person in the parent’s life, they may feel neglected because they will no longer be – as they believe – the focus of the father or the mother’s attention. On the other hand, they may take the new partner for granted, and bond with him, and thus a potential loss due to separation may cost them dearly.
That is why when choosing a new partner, the surviving parent must find in this person a father or mother who will accept his children and raise them as if they were his own if the relationship is serious. If it’s not, it’s a good idea not to get to know the kids.
If you decide to remarry, it is good to have discussed and agreed with your partner about your children’s obligations and inform him about their specialties and upbringing. As far as children are concerned, it is good to discuss your intention to rebuild your life, assuring them that your love and interest in them will not change. The children’s acquaintance with the partner should be gradual, starting with certain joint activities at regular intervals, so that they get used to this new person’s presence. Children don’t need to call your new partner “dad” or “mom,” respectively. Finally, avoid comparing your new partner to your children’s biological parent because this will cause unpleasant feelings for all family members (old and new).
The above tips are some steps you can take to transition to the new family as smooth as possible. Needs and requirements vary from person to person and from family to family; for this reason, you are invited to adapt your manipulation to these features. The previous loss has hurt the children’s psyche, so your decision to remarry must be prudent. Always remember that children and their emotional stability are the priority. In this way, you will achieve the creation of an atmosphere that inspires security and trust within the “new” family.