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Things to Consider Before Marrying a Man With Children

Updated on November 21, 2012
Father and bride on wedding day
Father and bride on wedding day | Source

The New Wife, The Step Mother

When you accept a proposal of marriage from a man who has a child, it's with the hope that your love will reign supreme for rest of your life. In reality, you are also agreeing that you won't just love him, you will love his children as well.

It is his desire that by accepting his proposal, you will love his child as you would love your own. Realistically, you can't play favorites between he and his children and if you have kids too, then it's definitely time to set up shop and lay down some fundamental ground rules and let the love begin!

Another important thing you have to remember is that along with being a new step-mom comes the "other" woman - the ex-wife. She does exist and she's not going away so you have to be a big girl, get over it and focus your attention and emotion on your family. Don't waste a single solitary moment worrying about whether or not he's still in love with her. If he was in love with her, it's likely he would still be married to her.

My step-daughter and I
My step-daughter and I | Source

Family Time

  • Have meals together and allow the kids to help.
  • Do something together as a family every week.
  • Stay consistent about homework, school, shower times, bed times. - Kids like structure
  • Begin new family traditions.
  • Go to the park or to a favorite family place.
  • Have "movie night" every week.
  • If you own a PS3 or a WII, learn to play the fun Just Dance games and laugh at what great dancers you really were in the 70s.
  • At the holidays decorate together, make it tradition. Play music, make special treats and play music. Kids will begin to look forward to it.
  • Since I have a step-daughter, I'm teaching her how to cook.
  • Build a huge fort in the house - get creative!
  • Take the kids to a Theater in the Park production

Being a Step Mother

You've met the man of your dreams! Congratulations! Just wait. Tomorrow you might wake up and the dream has changed. Don't run off and get married after knowing each other for three months. This is more than a commitment you're making. You're taking on the responsibility of helping to make the lives of several people happy.

Meet his kids, spend time with them and get to know them on a personal level. It would be a devastating event to meet and marry a man only to find out that he has two angelic looking children who become total heathens in public, in grocery stores or generally in any social situation. If you haven't laid down any rules for the kiddos you're setting yourself up for failure.

Before you commit to anything, get to know the kids. Know them for at least a year so that you can spend all of the holidays and their birthdays with them. The longer you know the kids without being married, the easier the transition into marriage will be because they'll be more accustomed to your presence.

If you have children and have introduced them to his kids, give the kids as many opportunities as possible to play together, hang out and get to know one another.

All Three Kiddos
All Three Kiddos | Source

Things to Discuss - starter list

  1. Sleeping arrangements for children.
  2. Children's eating habits - is it okay to skip meals?
  3. Can kids have sugary snacks any time they want?
  4. Do you prefer to feed kids healthy meals?
  5. What are your feelings about school, homework and education?
  6. Do kids have to do chores? Should they receive an allowance?
  7. How much television is okay? How much computer or video game time?
  8. Should kids be allowed to have friends in the house? Can friends help themselves to food/drinks/snacks?
  9. Will you provide your kids with cell phones?
  10. Who will be responsible for driving kids to and from school?

Rules for Blending Families

When you are blending a family, you have to consider many things. In existing households, there are preset dynamics and rules. When you introduce a new family setting, it's critical that you immediately establish the boundaries and limitations that you expect for all of the children and it's important that you stick to the rules you create. Don't single out, favor, baby or be too tough on any of the children. The best thing you can do is be consistent. Children will appreciate and respect the authority in a consistent atmosphere.

Before you and your new husband (boyfriend or fiancè) set up house, have an open and honest conversation about your beliefs and expectations of raising children.

There are many situations that you will have to work out as you go along. Some things you might decide to change because your original plan isn't working or perhaps you want to pursue a different approach. That's just fine. The important thing to remember is consistency with all of the kids.

Honeymoon at Crescent Lake
Honeymoon at Crescent Lake | Source

Maintain the Honeymoon

The secret of our success has been that first and foremost we've been open and honest about everything from the beginning. We started this relationship knowing that we both wanted to have a family where our kids would grow into healthy, happy adults and that the two of us would always be able to speak to one another in a fair and healthy way. Our focus is always the children but we definitely take time for ourselves because we are the foundation of this family.

When a problem arises with the kids, and they do arise, it's important to remember not to panic. You're the adult and the kids look to you for their strength. Don't shrivel up and crawl into the closet. Be magnificent because your children believe you are and they look to you to see how to act. Your spouse will also take cues from you. In times of trouble, stay calm, take a deep breath and forge on. If you work together, there isn't a single problem you cannot conquer and if you should hit a bump in the road; if you need to back up and rethink things then step back, reassess and keep going as a team. After the smoke passes the two of you will feel great that you did it together and it will bring you closer.

One big happy family
One big happy family | Source

One Big Happy Family

There's no way to know for sure if marrying a man (or woman) who has children will be a perfect fit. As long as you're willing to adjust your lifestyle to fit into a new and updated version, you should do just quite fine. Life and love are about making the commitment and sticking to them. When you enter into a relationship, you should continue to look for reasons why this relationship is the best one for you. Look at your spouse everyday and find reasons why you should always be together. If you focus on the positive and revel in what makes your family great, you are undoubtedly on the road to success.

Do blended families work?

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    • krsharp05 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristi Sharp 

      3 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      tamarawilhite, Thanks for reading and commenting. You make an excellent point and while we didn't add a baby we did blend a family. Great advice and thanks for the input. -K

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 

      3 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Another tip I would add to this list is waiting a few years to see how well the blended family works before adding a new addition (baby) to the mix.

    • krsharp05 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Jenny-Elizabeth, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. You make such an excellent point about being on opposing sides when it comes to discipline and it can sure be a struggle. I would love to say that it's a perfect blend but we have to work to make it work :) . Thanks again for your input. -K

    • Jenny-Elizabeth profile image

      Elizabeth Reeve 

      5 years ago from Cornfields of Indiana

      This is amazing! It's hard to be a step mom but remaining calm and carrying on is the key. I think one of the biggest issues blended families have is discipline. There are so many parents that are used to being single and doing it their way that they join a relationship going okay I will discipline my children you discipline yours.... and that simply doesn't work. Love this post!

    • krsharp05 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Om, WOW! That had to have been a true test for you. Life has a way of teaching us everything...after the fact. It's great that you have taken the good times as memories and can look back at what you learned. Not everyone has that capacity. Bravo! The best part is that you are better equipped for whatever life sends at you. I love that about - it seems that there isn't anything you can't do! I sure hope to keep in touch after the AP has ended. Thank you for reading and for the excellent comment. -K

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      This is a really excellent hub, Kristi. Your insightful tips could have been very helpful for my previous marriage. I wish I had read this 8 years ago! My ex-husband has a son who's only 10 years younger than me. So we were more like brother and sister. We argued a lot; he was a very difficult teenager, and I was kind of immature and very impatient. We also had some great times together as a family, though. Now we still send Christmas cards to each other although I'm not his stepmom anymore, so I guess our relationship wasn't that bad. I just wish I had performed my role as a stepmom a little better.

    • krsharp05 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      teaches, Thank you for that wonderful blessing. Blending a family might be one of the hardest things I've done but I'm determined to do a good job. I love being a mom and I think that kids should know that loving relationships can work. I appreciate your vote. -K

    • krsharp05 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      abbykorinnelee, It's definitely important to marry a man who is involved with his children and who supports them financially. Being able to interact with them, understand them and love them unconditionally is a must! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment and I wish you the very best in your search. It's not easy to find a truly good man but they are out there. -K

    • krsharp05 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      lovedoctor, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Hopefully our experience is useful to others and they can benefit. I appreciate your input. -K

    • krsharp05 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Billybuc, Thank you for the excellent comment. It's been a great experience to blend our family. I appreciate your compliment and hope that I can continue being a good role model for my kids and for my husband's. You're right, it does take patience and understanding! Thank you for reading. -K

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Oh, this is a really good hub post for families who are considering marriage and blending families. Love your questions to ask details. Voted up.

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 

      5 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      I would prefer to marry a man with children as long as he takes care of his children and sees his kids and pays his child support obligations and he has to have a good relationship with their mother. I prefer this because I know that he will be able to better adjsut and have good relation ships with my kids and having on hat is a teenager, one with a dead beat dad and one that is on the autism spectrum I need a good man that can mentally stand strong and he's more likely able to handle stress created by that if he has a few of his own.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 

      5 years ago

      Great advice for those who are contemplating on this.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very important information! Bev has a daughter from another marriage, and it takes work and understanding and patience, but it can work. This should be read by anyone considering this situation.

      Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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