Remarriage: Children Usually Not as Happy about Remarriage as Adults

No matter what the age through adulthood, children make room for extended families. The toughest obstacle for children in the sense of loss, and how well they have processed the loss. While remarriage may be an exciting time for the adults, children don’t share in the enthusiasm. Most parents are sensitive to the child’s needs but perplexed by the response. Here’s why.

Younger children tend to blend easier and respond better to new marriages. Only children welcome having new step-siblings if warmly welcomed. Adolescents go through a variety of stages, to being resistant, rejecting, or ignoring warmth from new stepparents. However, remember, adolescents can be challenging, and vie for independence without remarriage issues. They do, however, seem more welcoming to step siblings. Also, adolescents who are closer to leaving home tend to be more open to the stepparent.

The challenge between children and stepparents tends to begin after the two-year mark. After the initial transition into blending into the family, children can become more hostile, act out, and rebel. Girls have more difficulties than boys. Boys who enter remarriage prior to adolescence, respond better to authority from step fathers. They tend to adjust better to the overall situation. Girls do not respond well to the authority of a stepfather. Often becoming defiant, challenging, and exhibit oppositional behaviors. This may be because girls over the two-year period continually withdraw, while boys move forward.

Adult children also struggle with the loss. They ask more questions, often blame the step mother for the break-up of the marriage. May compete with the step mother for emotional and financial reasons. Age may be an issue if close to the adult child’s age. Time becomes a question, feeling compelled to respond to the lonely parent. Plus want both happy.