Introduce new spouse to children

When one remakes one's life, one is led to one day present one's new love to one's children. A very delicate rite of passage ... Vade-mecum for a first meeting without false note.

Flavia Mazelin Salvi

A passing exam

The fear of seeing his new spouse rejected by his children is now pegged to the body of every person who is about to experience the family recomposition . Did they digest the separation? Will they accept this man or woman? Are they ready to coexist? "There is in parents an expectation of validation by their children of their love choices, says the psychologist Maryse Vaillant.

It is a massive phenomenon, which translates our great difficulty to be an adult When you are a father or a mother, it is important to be both free and responsible for your commitments, but what often happens is that you give up your child to be under the guardianship of your children! " This phenomenon is, in my opinion, a characteristic of our time, and stems directly from the non-respect of the order of generations, adds the psychoanalyst Sylviane Giampino. By making their children their referents, the parents place them in a position of authority over them. A very distressing reversal for the child: first, because he can not know what is good for his father or mother; secondly, because when his word has effects in reality, it reinforces his illusion of omnipotence and feeds his anguish and guilt. "

If parents view the new spouse's introductions as a passing exam, with their children in the role of jurors, it is also, according to Alain Braconnier, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, because of a very contemporary paradox. " Today's adults think more about their personal growth than those of the past. At the same time, they are more concerned about the impact of their choices on the lives of their children. Hence the fact that they are extremely attentive to anything that can heckle these. Especially since they are well aware that a divorce is always an injury for them. "So how to better pass the test of the first meeting? Three family specialists give us their advice.

A stepfamily , three different roles

Step-parent

Desiring to make a good impression, he sometimes tends to do too much, but it is a bad calculation, for even if this clumsiness always starts from a good intention, the children, and moreover, teenagers have real antennas to detect forced gaiety, false naturalness, exaggerated empathy, good behavior to adopt, neither too much nor too little, questions, familiarity, enthusiasm ...

Parent

Better avoid praising your new partner because the child may hear this speech as a disqualification from their father or mother.It is enough to give him the name, the profession and the family situation (with or without child) of his future step-parent.

The child

Family room or walk in the forest ... No matter where the meeting takes place, from the moment it can, once the presentations are made, find a space that escapes the anxious or scrutinizing look of adults . Whether returning to his room alone or joining friends to play, he needs to evacuate his emotional tension in his own way and away from the big ones.

The moment to talk about it

The announcement of the arrival of a new person in the lives of children is always for them, and their parents do not forget, a new source of disruption. adults, post-divorce is a transitional period, but not for children, who do not have the same notion of time and who settled in this "after" ", says Maryse Vaillant. Conscious of the shock wave that their offspring must cash in, fathers and mothers wonder about the best timing. "We start by simply telling them that we met someone important, without going further in the Children should not have an open window on the intimate life of their parents, the psychologist insists, and more is said only when the project of communal life becomes more specific. "

If good timing contributes to emotional comfort and the child's sense of security, we must not forget that this notion is subjective. "The parent-child relationship is alive, it does not work according to any instructions for use, so we can not advise an ideal moment, says Sylviane Giampino All we can say to parents is that any changes in the lives of their children must be discussed, prepared and progressive. "

As for how to approach the subject, there is also no instructions for use There are two pitfalls to avoid, warns Alain Braconnier: solemnity, because it is distressing and unnecessarily dramatic, and casualness, because of which the child may not feel respected. In addition, he might perceive the anxiety of his parent behind what may be a casual facade. "

The right words to say it

If the concern to spare children is present in the Most parents, however, does not avoid slippage by excessive zeal Frederic, 38, admits to having "done too much" by listing his daughter of 8 years all the qualities of Valerie, his new companion. She listened to me without saying anything and then, suddenly, told me almost crying: "Mom is not bad, she too is funny and kind. In addition, she makes good rolled cakes. "I would have slapped myself, it was a lesson for me."

Beware, therefore, of the overly flattering portraits that are perceived by the child as an implicit way of disqualifying the other parent. " To build, the child needs to have a good image of both parents.That is why it is better to evoke his new partner with modesty and delicacy. We always win to say less than too much. Okay to say his first name and his profession, but we let the ones and the others to make gradually acquainted, without exerting pressure to force the sympathy ", advises Alain Braconnier, which also specifies that the projects of life (cohabitation, moving, room sharing ...) will only be discussed if they are well advanced, to allow the child or teenager to digest information at his own pace.

However, some information needs to be communicated quickly, so that child does not feel put on the wall - this is the case if you are considering a life together with a partner with children. " They must not be drowned in a flood of information, which some parents do, believing to reassure them, continues Alain Braconnier, but they must feel that they can ask all the questions without self-censorship. "

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