Stepfamily Talk: Stepchildren Ruined Wedding

Stepfamily Talk: Stepchildren Ruined Wedding

I Just Married a Man whose Kids Ruined My Wedding.

Dear Lisa,

I married on September 9th the love of my life, who has three daughters. His divorce was three years ago. When he decided to ask me to marry him, he asked the girls first, and they were fine. When he proposed, I even asked the girls were they okay with it before I said yes. When we started planning the wedding, I feared since they were bitter their daddy left them that they would try to ruin the wedding. My husband really wanted them to be part of it, so I insisted that he ask them several times along the way if they were sure they wanted to be in the wedding. They assured him they did.

I went on to try at this point and make them part of it by buying them special dresses, getting them the flowers they wanted, etc. In the end, five minutes before the wedding, the 12- year-old came up to him and said that ‘It was too soon, and what if we got divorced in a year? How would this affect the 5-year-old?’ she asked. My husband assured her that while he understood she felt confused, this was not the time for this discussion. Then all the girls cried and sat sunken through the entire service, would not participate in the pictures, would not speak to me at all and ignored friends and guests. There were only 20 people in total so this could in no way go unnoticed.

While I understand this is hard, we gave them every opportunity to choose to be a part of the wedding and make it special for them. But three years later, they still punish their dad. Now I do not know what to do. I do not want them to feel that they can keep returning my friendship and kindness with ignoring me and ruining time together by being mean. They are only nice when they want something.

How do I show them understanding but also help them see that they need to let the bitterness go? They could have a great opportunity here as opposed to being miserable and making everyone else miserable. I am afraid I made a mistake…….help me.

Unhappy Stepmom

Dear Unhappy Stepmom,

I’m sorry to hear your wedding did not go well. It sounds like you tried hard to include your stepchildren. However, it’s quite common for kids, especially teens, to feel upset by a parent’s remarriage. Most kids don’t want their parents to get divorced or remarried. In general, kids don’t immediately start feeling comfortable with their stepfamilies or stepparents. It takes time. And they often feel like they are betraying their mothers if they are fond of their stepmoms.

Try to view this situation from the eyes of your stepchildren. You say their dad left the family. I’m sure this is hurtful to your stepkids. If you want to learn more about why stepfamilies are so difficult when they first form, visit www.stepfamilytalkradio.com and listen to the audio, “Why Stepfamilies Are So Hard At First.”

I’m wondering if your husband’s ex-wife is playing a role here. Sometimes an ex-wife can stir up trouble by trying to turn her kids against their new stepmom. To learn more about this topic, visit www.stepfamilytalkradio.com/products.htm and check out the audio, “Stepmoms and Their Husbands’ Ex-wives.” The audio provides many ideas about how to reduce the tension between stepmoms and their husbands’ ex-wives.

I also recommend you read the book, “7 Steps to Bonding with Your Stepchild.” It provides some nice tips for getting closer to your stepkids. But again, you need to be patient. You say you’re afraid you made a mistake. Your biggest mistake, I think, was a common one: You thought that blending families would go smoothly. It generally does not go smoothly.

It’s helpful for adults to learn as much as possible about stepfamilies before they tie the knot. They need to begin their lives together with realistic expectations about their new family. Please keep me posted.

Good Luck!

Lisa

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