How to Encourage Adult Kids to Accept Your New Spouse

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:09
The act of getting married should be an occasion of celebration and joy. This may not be the case, however, if your adult children won't accept your new spouse. Having a new person join the family can be difficult for anyone--even an adult...
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The act of getting married should be an occasion of celebration and joy. This may not be the case, however, if your adult children won’t accept your new spouse. Having a new person join the family can be difficult for anyone--even an adult child--to understand and accept. Your children’s disapproval can turn what should be a happy time into something stressful and devastating. You may be able to encourage your kids to accept your new spouse by talking to them, focusing on the positives of the situation, and calming their anxieties.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Talking to Your Children about Your New Spouse

  1. Step 1 Reassure your love for them.
    Children, even those who are grown, may feel threatened by a new spouse. They might think that your love for them will lessen now that you have a new person in your life. Reassure them that you will love them the same, no matter what.
    • For example, you could say to them, “You never have to worry about me loving you any less, especially just because I married someone. You will always be my child and I will always love you, no matter what.” It may take you saying this more than once, but eventually your child should understand.[1]
  2. Step 2 Explain that your relationship will not suffer.
    Your children may believe that a new stepparent in the family will take away from your closeness. In essence, they may feel like they are being replaced. Assure them that your spouse will only add to the family, not take anything away.
    • Show them your relationship is a constant by not breaking your routine. Changing anything about your relationship with your children after you are married can send the message that they aren’t a priority to you anymore.
  3. Step 3 Tell them your stepchildren will not take their place.
    Everyone has insecurities, even adult children. Your children may fear that your new spouse’s children will come into the family dynamic and take their place. Let them know that would never happen.
    • Consider trying to help your stepchildren and children become closer. Invite them on outings with you, ask them all to come over to your home, and encourage them to spend time together. Avoid pushing the topic if it is clear that they do not like each other and don’t want to make the effort of building a relationship.[2]
    • Remember that this will all take time, but by initiating the first contact you are paving the way for possible future relationships.
  4. Step 4 Talk to them about how you feel.
    You may be a parent, but you still have the right to be happy, even if your children seem like they don’t want you to. Let them know that how they are behaving is hurting you. They may not realize how their behavior is affecting you.
    • For example, you could say to them, “I understand you’re not too fond of my new spouse. However, your behavior towards them is not only disrespectful to them, but it’s disrespectful to me, as well. You don’t have to like them, but I want you to show respect.”
    • Asking your children to welcome your new spouse into the family isn’t too much to ask, and you shouldn’t feel bad about doing so.[3] In fact, not speaking up might align you with your children against your spouse.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Focusing on the Positives

  1. Step 1 Remind your children of your happiness.
    It’s safe to say your new spouse makes you happy. This alone should please your children. Talk to them about how it does, if they don’t already know. Remind them that they should be happy for you, not causing you stress.
    • For instance, you could say, “My new spouse makes me happy, and I wish you could be happy about that. Your being upset brings stress and sadness into my life. I can’t be completely happy until you are happy for me, so I wish you could be.”[4]
  2. Step 2 Tell them having a spouse provides care for you.
    Older people who are single often rely on relatives, like their children, to care for them during their last years of life. This is difficult for many adult kids, as they have their own families to worry about. Having a spouse care for you can take the burden off of them.
    • Also point out that they don’t have to worry as much about you because you aren’t alone. You have someone with you to keep an eye on you and help you if you become sick or hurt.[5]
  3. Step 3 Let them know marriage for you means less responsibility for them.
    You may have relied on your children for help with certain tasks when you were single. You may have asked for a ride when your vehicle was in the shop or called them when you needed advice about your taxes.
    • You likely don’t need to rely on them as much anymore now that you are remarried. That may take some of the pressure off of them.[6]
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Calming Their Anxieties

  1. Step 1 Assure them that you know what you are doing.
    Your children may believe that your new spouse is taking advantage of you or is wrong for you. However, you are an adult and are fully capable of making decisions for yourself. You can let them know that you appreciate their concern, but you made the right choice for you.
    • For instance, you could say, “I know you care about me and worry that I’ve made a mistake. However, I am able to take care of myself and trust my decision.” Hopefully what you say will put their minds at ease and allow them to begin accepting your new spouse.[7]
  2. Step 2 Be sensitive to your children grieving a deceased parent.
    You might be able to move on and get a new wife or husband, but your children cannot get a new mom or dad. Keep this in mind as you try to assimilate your new spouse into the family. Don't act as if their deceased parent never existed. Pay homage to them through family traditions and continue to share fond memories.
    • When the other parent has died, children fear that a new spouse will try to fill the space of their other parent. Reassure them that you and your spouse will honor the parent who passed away. Let your children know that you do not expect them to love your spouse in the same way they loved their own parent.
    • Be especially mindful if this new relationship came quickly after the loss of their parent. If more time has gone by, you can expect and request more understanding from them.
  3. Step 3 Figure out how to manage after a divorce.
    If you and your previous spouse divorced, they are probably still in the picture. This means that you will need to learn to navigate social interactions with them along with your new spouse. Don't try to assert your new spouse as the "parent." Respect your ex's role after a divorce and continue to let them parent.
    • You can try saying, “My husband is not trying to be your other parent. Instead, he just wants to be a part of your life in a different way. We respect the relationship you have with your father. We are not trying to interfere with that.”
  4. Step 4 Talk about your finances.
    As selfish as it may sound, older children may worry about their inheritance if you marry someone new. They may fear that your spouse will now receive what they thought was supposed to go to them. Let them know that your estate will still go to them and that is what is written in your will, if this is still what you want for them.
    • You may also consider talking about your prenuptial agreement, if you have one. This would prevent your new spouse from receiving a good part of what you own should you become divorced. Talking about this with your children may help them feel better about the situation.[8]
  5. Step 5 Have alone time with them.
    Spend some time with your children without the company of your new spouse. Part of the reason they may not be accepting of your new partner is because they don’t get to spend time with just you anymore; now they spend time with you only as a part of a couple.
    • By being together with them away from your spouse, you show them that they will not take a backseat because of your relationship.[9]
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