Monday, October 3, 2011

And Then There Were Three (or more)

A topic that often isn't discussed in wedding planning materials, is that of blended families.  Deciding to get married and spend a life with someone takes a great deal of love and time.  And while, you made the decision and feel ready for the next step, your children might not be.  Regardless of your children's age, it's important to sit down with them and discuss your decision to marry before announcing your engagement.  Talk to them in a manner appropriate for their age level and help them understand your decision and what it means to you.  Ask them if they have any questions or concerns.  Inform them that even though you will be spending time planning your wedding, they are your priority too and that you love them very much.  See how involved they may like to be in the wedding planning, if they are old enough.  Open communication is key and listening to what they have to say will help you navigate, what can sometimes be, a rocky road.

Adjusting to a new family life is challenging.  Be aware of any behavioral changes in your children, which can indicate they are having a harder time coping with your decision than you might have imagined.  Sleep disturbances, trouble at school, or a change in eating habits are some examples of what to be on the lookout for.  If you notice such changes, address it with your children and see if it does have to do with your recent engagement or if it's something else.  If you can't work out the problem behavior together, seek out someone who can help.  Remember that it may take a while for children to accept your decision to marry.  Continuing to show that you love them and respect their need for time will help them in the process.