Friday, June 15, 2012

Stepfamily weddings


My ex is planning a wedding. The wedding is planned during our visitation with my son. My ex has issues with control and manipulation. We are expected to allow my son time with the ex for the wedding. The ex knows that we feel it is important for my son to participate in this special day with his new family; however, we also feel that our visitation time with my son is important as well. We want to do what is best for my son without giving into the manipulation of the ex. How do we work out this situation in a healthy manner?

Principle: What is the best for the child? Not knowing the age of the child and assuming you and your ex can talk peaceably about the situation, here are some thoughts. First of all, what does your son want to do? Again this is age appropriate. Next, how about taking your son to your ex's wedding? This doesn't mean you will attend, just deliver and pickup. That way you keep your son for the remainder of your visitation. This means you are going the "second mile." When this is your decision, you take ownership and are not being controlled or manipulated. You are simply honoring a special event in his other biological parent's life.

Regarding age appropriateness; older children deserve to have permission to make their own decision. This should be respected by both biological parents. In the end, it frees the child up to move into these tough situations at their own pace and more gracefully. This would also apply to the involvement or lack of in the ceremony, etc. We know of children that have decided NOT to attend, or attend without having to participate. And..we know of children that want to be involved.

If stepcouples can look at this through their children's eyes they may realize that this is another loss for them. Their family has blown apart and they are living between two worlds. The stepcouple is in love and thinking this marriage will bring everyone together. This is an unrealistic expectation. Over time, good things can happen - but that's over TIME!

Basically, do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. In the end, all will benefit.

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About Me

Carri is a documentary film producer and communication skills trainer. She and her husband speak nationally on relationships, communication and stepfamily development.