Many couples find themselves in a situation where they are not able to build a life together because of stepchildren. Whether these children were born to the couple or were brought into their marriage later, they can be a source of conflict and division. You will then end up living apart but regularly visiting your stepchildren.
However, this should be a no-brainer for you and your spouse. Instead, work towards establishing a practical solution that will work best for all the parties. Here are some tips for walking you through this challenging situation:
Living Apart Because of Stepchildren: What to Know
First talk to your stepchildren
Explain to them that you need time away from home and want a fresh start. If they are willing, let them know that you will be taking an extended trip that could last anywhere from a few days to several weeks or months.
This will allow them to plan their lives around you and go about their business without worrying about the house.
Be open-minded and patient
It’s normal to feel angry at your stepchildren in this situation. But try not to lash out at them — they’re not responsible for your decision! Be open-minded and patient with them as they adjust to their new lives apart from you. Do what you can to help them find a way back into your life when this is all over.
Let them know about the divorce
Let your children know about the divorce in a way that makes sense and doesn’t upset them too much. Want to tell them in person rather than over the phone because it will be easier for them to understand what is happening and what they need from you during this period.
You also may want to tell them how they can help make things better going forward — by being on time for appointments or picking up after themselves when they are at home alone, for example
Look for common ground and work from there
If you can’t agree on who owns what or who should pay child support and alimony, then perhaps there isn’t any hope for reconciliation in this situation.
But if you can find some common ground regarding parenting styles and attitudes towards stepchildren, then perhaps it is possible for both parties to co-parent without causing further stress between them or damaging their relationship in general.
If you and your partner can’t find a way to work through the conflict, consider mediation as an option. Mediation is beneficial if one parent has more power in the relationship than the other or if the parents have different views of what’s best for their children.
If possible, try not to be mad at your stepchildren at all during this time apart
They are still kids themselves, after all! Try talking with them about how much they love their new families and how much fun it is for them now that they have siblings! You may also want to explain why it’s crucial for them to spend time with their other parent(s) during this temporary separation – it may help them understand what’s going on better than if you just told them straight out.
Let them know how much you love them and support them emotionally.
You might feel very sad, frustrated, or angry, but remember that it will be OK in the long run! Let your stepchildren know how much they mean to you by sending cards or writing letters now and then — this will show that even though things have changed drastically, you still care about each other deeply.
Building a stable relationship with your stepchildren
Having a good relationship with your stepchildren is possible when living apart. Yes, I know it isn’t easy, but you can ultimately crack the nut with the right attitude.
Here are some tips on how to do it:
- Open Dialogue
The first thing you must do is establish boundaries and rules in your relationship with your stepchildren. And the best way to do this is by having an open dialogue so they feel comfortable discussing any problems that may arise.
The key here is to listen carefully and let them know what you expect from them so that they know where they stand as far as their new role in the family goes
- Be available
Stepchildren need stability in their lives, so they’ll be less likely to rebel if you’re around regularly during the day. Tell them you’re always available if they need something from you. This will make them feel safe enough to talk about their problems openly without feeling judged or rejected by you.
- Be patient
You may not be able to change your stepchild’s behavior immediately. But, if possible, try to be calm and reasonable in the face of their bad behavior. When they’re acting up, don’t react angrily or angrily snap back at them; instead. Try to de-escalate the situation by talking calmly with them while staying firm in your boundaries (i.e., don’t let them take advantage of your patience).
- Give Them Space and freedom
Give them Space and let them explore their identity on their own. Let them do things on their own as adults, such as getting a job, buying a car, etc.. But always make sure that if anything bad happens like an accident or injury, then you will be there for them
- Don’t try to control them
Stepchildren are typically very independent and self-sufficient at an early age, so they may not need or want your guidance or help. Instead of trying to control your stepchild’s behavior or tell them what to do, try using positive reinforcement and praise.
It is never easy to live apart from your partner. Understandably, there are times when one or both parents feel the need to relocate.
It can be challenging for stepchildren to understand why a blended family does not live together. So, in the end, it is important to consider what will be best for the whole family. Even though, at times, you may feel that you are making decisions based on your preferences.