Children can take a long time to understand the consequences of moving in together….

by Rod Smith

When families blend by moving in together, or through marriage, the impact upon the children, and the time taken for adjustment ought never be underestimated or taken for granted. Because the children might think it is a good idea or are pleased at the decision to “unite,” it should not be construed that the road ahead will be easy. I have talked with children who wanted parents to divorce because they considered it “cool” to live in two homes. I have talked with children who thought moving in together would be fun because the new house had a swimming pool.

It can take a day or two (or even a month, or a year!) for reality to set in. It can take time for child to realize the move (the new marriage, the parent’s new relationship) has turned his or her own world upside down, even if he or she previously thought it to be a positive thing to do.

Parent, please remember: (1) you have fallen in love with someone new. It is unreasonable of you to think your children ought therefore to “automatically” love your new partner or love the new living arrangements. (2) You will spare yourself a lot of heartache if you, the parent, do not meddle with previously established relationships. Let moms and dads deal directly with their own children. Your interference, no matter how welcome, benign, or benevolent, will ultimately be a source of conflict.

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