The beautiful images of blended families plastered across social media only tell a portion of the reality of being involved with someone with kids. While step-parenting can be a wonderfully rewarding experience, people rarely speak transparently about the challenges and hard work that have to be invested before you find your groove as a family. For some, it can take a few months. For others, years. And in some unfortunate cases, things never truly come together. Trying to blend a family can be a highly emotional experience and not everyone is cut out for it. If you’re thinking about loosening up your rule about dating men with kids, here are four things to seriously consider:
You may share a home with those kids someday
Custodial arrangements change every day so just because your partner’s children primarily reside with their other parent now doesn’t mean that it will always be this way. Getting seriously involved with a man who has children means there’s a pretty good chance that said children will live under your roof at some point. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to seriously consider. You should be sure that you’re okay with this possibility as many find it hard to adjust to living with children that are not biologically theirs.
Step-parenting can be a thankless job
What many people don’t share about step-parenting is that it can be a thankless job. In essence, you are sometimes expected to put in just as much work as biological parents without reaping even half of the rewards. The initial adjustment period can be brutal and it may cause you to question why you signed up for any of this in the first place. Many step-mothers go on to find their groove while others choose to disengage to guard themselves against further heartache.
Different parenting philosophies can cause a huge rift in your relationship
Many divorcees struggle with guilt behind breaking up their families. To ease their guilt and compensate, they may be way more lenient than many adults are accustomed to being. This can cause a rift in the relationship or marriage as the step-parent begins to feel as though a child is running amuck and calling the shots.
As hard as you try, you may still struggle to love them like they’re yours
Saying that you will love a child as if they’re your own and putting true action behind those words are two completely different things. Many step-parents report that they struggle to cultivate feelings for their step-children that are identical to their biological children. If we’re being honest, that love doesn’t always come instantly or as naturally as it does when the child is biologically yours. Even if you never get there, it’s important that you never outwardly make a difference between the children. It’s important to make a sincere effort to embrace your step-children and make them feel welcome, accepted, and valued.