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How to Prepare Your Teen for Your Second Marriage

They say, second time lucky! But, the story might be different for your teenager. As you open your heart to new love and another marriage, your child might be still dealing with adjustment issues. With the help of experts, here’s how you can ensure a happy family for a smooth sailing second marriage.

 

 

A study suggests that half the adolescent population has seen their parents head for a splitville by the age of 16.

Relationship Councillor, Sauleha Sheikh says, “Often couples who remarry are those who are in their early or late 30s and 40s with teenaged children. Unlike grownups, teenagers find it extremely difficult to accept the fact that their mother or father is getting married to someone else, who is not their biological parent. This affects the child a great deal and at times and not only do they find it hard to accept the new parent, but also suffer emotional turmoil.”

A 37-year-old marketing professional, Snigdha Mehta went through a tough time after the demise of her husband. Dealing with her 13-year-old became a task. She recounts her dilemma, “I waited for the time when my child would grow up and I could explain to him why I wished to remarry. But when I sat down with him to explain the situation, I realised that though he understood that I was living my days alone, having a new father was not something that he was ready for. It took months before they got along.”

Marriage counsellors have concluded that a remarriage brings with it problems like letting in a new person in the child’s life which is hard for them. They also begin to hold their parents responsible for their emotional difficulties.

“I recently treated a 14-year-old boy who was brought in by his father. The child was experiencing behavioural changes — he was not eating well due to which he had lost a lot of weight and was also wetting his bed at night. The father could not figure what led to this problem. After I counselled the child, I realised that he was sorely missing his mother. She had divorced her husband and married someone else. We had to treat the child for at least two weeks before he started improving,” says marriage counsellor, Mimrah Ansari.

Most parents who have faced such difficult times think it’s best to talk it out openly with the kids and help them accept the change. Counsellors suggest more ways to help kids accept the new parent whole heartedly and with less emotional trauma:

1. Meeting their biological parent: Do not stop your child from meeting their biological parents in case of a divorce. Whatever might be the situation between you and your ex, involving the child is a huge mistake. It is best to not deprive your child of their biological parents. Let them spend time with them. This will be helpful for the child – advises Ansari.

2. Bond with the new parent: An emotional bond between your would-be-spouse and your child is very important. Make sure they spend quality time together and get to know each other well.

 

3. Form her own impressions: Do not try to influence your child’s thoughts and views. Allow them to discover your would-be-spouse on their own. Ask her what she thinks of this new person but don’t try and change her opinion. Do not constantly tell your child that the new parent is an ideal mother or father for him or her. This might not go down too well with the child and he or she may start reacting differently to it. Instead, let him or her form their own opinions. Ask your child from time to time what they feel about the new parent and try to understand their feelings.

4. Step-parent’s guide:
a. If you are clueless about what to talk to your would-be-spouse’s child and want to save the situation from getting awkward, Sheikh says, “Make the child feel comfortable being with you. Do not bombard him with questions about studies and marks. Try and establish a friendship that will lead to affection and later to love.”

b. Accept the child whole-heartedly: Accept the child completely and make him feel easy around you, so much so that it would be easy for her also to accept you. Best way to do this is spend time with the child. Go out, play video games, plan a picnic or holiday or watch a movie together.

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