The whole concept of Daddy or Mummy getting remarried is a little strange for some kids. Most children’s films and books tell the classic story of boy meets girl. Boy meets girl, has children, splits up, meets another girl and gets remarried is not what Disney teaches us. Not that I’m knocking Disney – I would never do that.
For this reason, bringing the kids into our wedding and making it about them and our family together was extra important for us. We started as we meant to go on by making sure we put time and effort into how we told them that we planned to get remarried.
I know there is no perfect way to communicate with children. When we told them that we were planning on getting remarried we wanted to tell them 3 main things.
Comfort – Nothing is going to change.
Encourage – You can ask as many questions as you want.
Celebrate – This is going to be fun.
Nothing is going to change
Children from non-traditional families often experience more change in their lives than in a traditional family.
Our children started their lives living with Mummy and Daddy, when they were 1 and 3 Daddy went to live somewhere else. They starting to live sometimes at Mummys and sometimes at Daddys. At this age it must be such a strange and confusing change to happen.
A year later they met a new woman (me). In a few short years they had gone from living with Mummy and Daddy to living half of their time and Mummy’s house and half of their time with me and their dad. That feels really crazy when I write it down. Certainly, for me going from being single to being a married woman with two step kids in less than two years has been a lot of change to deal with.
For these reasons when we told the kids we planned to get remarried
we focused a lot on the fact that nothing would change. They would still live in the same places and be loved by the same people.
You can ask as many questions as you want
The littlest one was only 2 when we got engaged but our eldest was 5 so understood a lot more of what was going on. At the time we spoke to them we asked her if she had any questions and she asked a couple of questions and seemed quite happy. Daddy getting remarried did not seem to worry either of them at all.
Over the coming weeks we talked about it a few more times as a family and made sure the kids had a free reign to say whatever they wanted. One day our eldest decided she was ready to face the big problem which had been troubling her. If we hadn’t kept that conversation open for a few weeks I’m not sure she would have felt comfortable. And it was a BIG problem. Well, not really, but for her it was and therefore it was for us. “Are you going to smooch?”. She does not like smooching, she turns away at the end of every Disney film with a big ‘Yuck’.
Thinking about it, if every experience you’ve ever had of weddings was films you’d have a very clear idea of what a wedding is. Church bells and a smooch. We reassured her that it would be a full day of celebrating. That we would only really do one proper smooch in the church, it would not be the main thing. This made her feel much more comfortable.
This is going to be fun
Children who have been through a lot of change may feel reluctant to experience new things. This made the fun element a key part of our message. We were planning a big family party! Music, cake, dancing, games, pretty frocks, all their favourite people. This wasn’t just us getting married it was all four of us having a massive fun party. This is what we did for the next 10 months while we planned the wedding. The children were included in every step. They got to make and hand out their party invites, choose their party games, shop for their dresses and much more. I’m going to write up my top tips for including your children in your wedding day as soon as I get chance.
Overall the children loved the whole experience of our wedding from when we told them to the day itself. I can’t recommend enough that if you are going to get remarried to start as you mean to go on. Make sure your children are included right from the start. Make sure that you reassure them, allow them to ask questions and focus on the awesome family party that you are planning together.