Q: I have been married to my current wife for a little over one year. I met my current wife (who is 10 years my junior) when I was still married to my ex-wife (married for 15 years) and after discovering that my current wife is everything I ever wanted and likewise for her (she was unhappily married for 5 years)we began a long term relationship that culminated in a divorce for both of us from our ex-spouses. (This was accelerated by my ex-wife discovering our relationship) My 2 sons to my first wife have been coming to see me on regular weekday and weekend visitations and have acclimated to my new wife despite the knowledge of how it came to be. They are 15 and 11 years old now. My daughter who is eighteen still refuses to meet my new wife although she still visits with me on occasion. Now that my new wife and I are expecting our first child together, I would like to know the best method to introduce the concept of a new sibling/half sibling to my existing children without alienating them. I am very profuse in my expressions of love for them and do not want to jeopardize my relations with them. Any advice would be welcome.
A: You are in a difficult situation and there may be no “good way” to introduce this news, but the bottom line is that you have to do it and it should come from you. You may want to check your local bookstore or library because there are numerous books on helping kids with divorce and remarriage. You may want to find age appropriate books for them to read as well. I hope that your relationship with them is strong enough for them to take this information in stride, but chances are they may be upset. Most kids are quite resilient, however, and usually adapt eventually. In my experience in my own practice, the younger the kids are, the more quickly they adapt to change. This sounds true in your case since your oldest still refuses to meet your new wife. The best thing you can do as a parent is be a good role model. When there is a difficult situation like this you can teach your kids something if you handle it calmly, honestly and respectfully. But you also need to be prepared for some anger, disappointment, rejection, denial, etc., from them and then it is time to practice patience. If things don’t go well or if you ever become concerned with how they are doing, I suggest finding a good therapist who deals with blended family issues. Good luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Feb 2007
Counts, H. (2007). How do I tell children from my first marriage about new wife being pregnant?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/02/18/how-do-i-tell-children-from-my-first-marriage-about-new-wife-being-pregnant/