Divorce rates are shooting through the roof. Where does this leave children? Apart from having to commute between their separated parents, or even worse, choose between them, they probably will have witnessed some ugly fights that might have left an imprint for life. Another possible consequence is being forced to live with someone who isn’t really a part of their family – a so called stepparent.
Imagine how you would feel yourself if you suddenly had to live closely together with someone you are neither related to by blood nor have chosen for yourself. Kids are no different. There is a chance that they will end up getting on very well with the new person, but that seems to be a rare occurrence.
Most kids will instead withdraw, go defensive and feel alienated. A new stepmom or stepdad could easily make a child feel like they are in a home with a whole new family of which they are not really a part. Especially if you are moving in to the new stepparent’s place, and they have children of their own, a kid will feel unwanted.
Even if you stay in your own place and the new person moves in without any children of their own it can still be hard on yours, especially if it happens fast. They will probably still be wishing that their parents were still together, and it won’t take them much to hate the replacement.
It doesn’t have to be that bad, however. If you take things slowly and let your kids get to know and learn to accept your new partner they could develop a great relationship with their stepparent. For tips on how to handle moving in together when you or your partner already have kids, read this guide.
Remember that kids are individuals with the same needs for integrity, respect and love as any adult. The biggest difference is that they are much more vulnerable and formative, but basically they have the same kind of feelings as grownups. A child wouldn’t want to move in with a random person any more than you would.
Children that have already gone through the pain of seeing their own parents fight and split up should not have to be pushed together with a stranger on top of that. It is unfair that the irresponsibility of adults affects those that the deserve it the least. Don’t pursue your own happiness to the cost of your kids.