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    An odd situation

    A friend of mine who's been divorced for a few years, young, no kids, is getting married to another divorced gentleman with 2 kids who are 5 and 7 year old girls. So far they've all seem to have gotten along. The "rishta" came about via a common friend and after much hestitation, the two met and liked each other enough to consider marriage.

    Now that the wedding as been announced, the kids in the picture have become very insecure and don't talk to my friend. In fact they fuss each time they meet, don't want to sit by her, the older one keeps bringing back their "mom" and the younger one joins in. The kids are not in touch with their mother as she lives in another country, but the divorce happened 2 years ago so the memories of their mother is still fresh.

    Having said that, my friend is now really worried about how to handle the situation. The father is confident that once they start living together as husband and wife, the kids will come around and accept her. However, she's afraid.

    ANyone have any experience in this area? Suggestions on how she could get closer to the kids perhaps...should she? What should be the course of action?
    Don't be hurtin' and hatin' cuz my phone is so cool!

    #2
    Re: An odd situation

    All she can do is try and be a fair and caring mother-figure to the children. She can't replace their mother, but she needs to carve out a new role for herself in their lives as friend first. I would leave the initial disciplining of the children to the father - he needs to set ground rules with the kids and ENFORCE them and they need to act as a unit in front of the kids.

    As for things to do with the kids - I think in the initial phase, her and her husband have to do things together with the kids to show that they are a unit - honestly, no such thing as a honeymoon right now for them. The first couple of years will be about all four of them integrating together and the new mom not usurping the place of their biological mom in the kids life or the new mom not coming between the kids and their dad.

    "Fussing" or mentioning their mom is natural - the kids lives are going to change with the entry of a new person - she needs to be sensitive about that - but always remember these are young, innocent children and children generally respond to love, no matter what the source.
    You can't buy happiness, but you can buy shoes and that's kinda the same thing...

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      #3
      Re: An odd situation

      She needs to understand that she will NEVER replace their mother.....but it is important for her to bond with them if she's planning on being a permanent presence in their dad's life.

      She needs to sit down and talk to them and assure them that she's not trying to replace mommy.....nor does she have anything agains their mother....and that maybe they can try to be accept her as one of the important people in not only their dad's life...but as yet another adult that they can trust and turn to and that will be there for them. She could even start off with "We used to get along so well...I feel that now you girls are upset at me for some reason...and if something is bothering you, I'd like to talk about it"....and then take it from there...and be careful with her words.

      She could participate in activities with the whole famil (dad included, etc)....and also activities where it's just her and the girls....so that the develop trust/comfort in trusting her when dad's not around. She can engage in activities or buy gifts that she knows are of interest to them.

      Even though mom lives in another country....I wonder if mom didn't try to influence the situation a bit....maybe indirectly via another party (such as a grandparent/aunt, etc)

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        #4
        Re: An odd situation

        Thanks Sehrysh and RV.

        I don't think they're even in touch with the mom or anyone from the mom's side of the family. So I don't think that's it....but then I don't know the details.

        But yes, my friend does have to make that effort to ease the children. The older one asked her if she's going to be sleeping in the same room as her daddy as other married people and my friend didn't know what to say.
        Don't be hurtin' and hatin' cuz my phone is so cool!

        Comment


          #5
          Re: An odd situation

          Can the incorporate a ceremony either into the wedding festivities, or somewhere else, that is about the joining and creation of a new family. Even maybe make "vows" to each other. I think it helps the children get a clearer sense of what this new relationship will be all about.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: An odd situation

            Originally posted by Niksik View Post
            Thanks Sehrysh and RV.

            I don't think they're even in touch with the mom or anyone from the mom's side of the family. So I don't think that's it....but then I don't know the details.

            But yes, my friend does have to make that effort to ease the children. The older one asked her if she's going to be sleeping in the same room as her daddy as other married people and my friend didn't know what to say.
            One of the worst things people do is "lie" to children to protect them. If the kids are asking questions, the parents need to respond honestly, albeit in a child-appropriate manner. They need to help the kids make sense of their new family life together and how everyone fits in together. Be honest always because kids perceive lying a violation of their trust just as much as adults do.
            You can't buy happiness, but you can buy shoes and that's kinda the same thing...

            Comment


              #7
              Re: An odd situation

              Bribing/pampering kids of this age always works.
              Once married she should make sure she gives them love ,attention and respect . In the begging they might not acknowledge or might snub her but time will take care of that.
              She would have to be patient.
              There are many resources on the web for people in this kind of situation.
              Fools never disagree.

              Comment


                #8
                Re: An odd situation

                Originally posted by Mirch View Post
                Bribing/pampering kids of this age always works.
                Once married she should make sure she gives them love ,attention and respect . In the begging they might not acknowledge or might snub her but time will take care of that.
                She would have to be patient.
                I don't agree with bribing or pampering (if you mean spoiling) kids - where's the sincerity in that? I think that's the wrong way to approach the situation because you're almost creating an expectation that new mom proves her love by bribing us, if the bribes stop the love stops. And quite frankly, the kids use it as a way to manipulate adults - they will come out and say, "Prove your love by getting us x, y or z. And if you don't get it for us, that means you don't love us like you did before."

                There's a saying that goes: Begin as you mean to go on.

                People need to be consistent and manage expectations right from the get go, even with children.
                You can't buy happiness, but you can buy shoes and that's kinda the same thing...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: An odd situation

                  Put yourself in their shoes: think how you would feel, think what would reassure you. And do that.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: An odd situation

                    Also, she should forge a relationship with them before the marriage, with them alone, not with the father along. "Girls' night out" so to speak. Take them to do activities that the girls enjoy.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: An odd situation

                      I asked a few people about such a situation regarding a proposal I was considering at one point.

                      I was told to be patient and understanding. Try not to rush the bonding, have a thick skin and realize it will take a lot of time and effort.

                      She just needs to keep trying to be a friend, good company and not rush into a motherly role yet.
                      Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. ~ Rumi

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: An odd situation

                        My cousin who's widowed with 2 kids (so not quite the same situation), was recently re-married. MashAllah, the transistion seems to have gone well for the children.

                        However, before they were married he set aside a year for his new bride and the kids to become acquainted with one another. She would initially go over with the family and spend time with the kids. Once they became comfortable with that, they would go out as a family, then the kids seperatley her. Eventually the kids would go and stay with her at ther mum's during school breaks. This really allowed time for everyone to get used to the new dynamic.

                        His new wife never set out to replace their mum, and the kids do still talk about her with fondness and have many picture of her up in thier room.

                        My advice would be not to rush the nikkah/rukhsati and allow time for everyone to become accustomed to each other. The father has to lead and encourage this. In time the kids should become more accepting. Also, do not try any replace their mum and diminish her presence, regardless of whether she's still in touch with them, she is stil their mum.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: An odd situation

                          One of my chachi came as step mother for my cousins. It was a rough ride for her in the beginning, i reckon, as almost all of us thought of her as the step mom of hansel n gretel. But I salute her for the way she came.....Its been almost 11 years now....and she won everyone with love and by always being there. She happens to be MIL for my 2 sisters (quite a scary relation, eh?) and still she is quite a nice person to deal with, mashaAllah. I respect her for being sooo great and accomodating.
                          Tell your friend to be realistic and patient....in my humble opinion.

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                            #14
                            Re: An odd situation

                            what are the ages of the children.....?

                            I know of a couple that didn't "openly" sleep in the same bedroom until such time as the children were well-adjusted and old enough to understand that a new family unit had been formed. Once the kids felt secure all sorts of things started to fall into place.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: An odd situation

                              Originally posted by Sehrysh View Post
                              I don't agree with bribing or pampering (if you mean spoiling) kids - where's the sincerity in that? I think that's the wrong way to approach the situation because you're almost creating an expectation that new mom proves her love by bribing us, if the bribes stop the love stops. And quite frankly, the kids use it as a way to manipulate adults - they will come out and say, "Prove your love by getting us x, y or z. And if you don't get it for us, that means you don't love us like you did before."

                              There's a saying that goes: Begin as you mean to go on.

                              People need to be consistent and manage expectations right from the get go, even with children.
                              OK , do not bribe but pamper , treat them with respect , do not get angry with their bad behavior but be patient and let them know that what they are doing is wrong and if repeated there will be certain consequences . Those consequences do not have to be beating or punishment but there are many civic solutions available to deal with kids with bad behavior.
                              Fools never disagree.

                              Comment

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