In the first series of Blended Families last month, I wrote about introducing Boaz to the children and I was touched by the responses I got from women in blended families.
On this second series of blended families, and since I have just had a new baby, I thought the perfect topic would be: Introducing new siblings to your children from your previous marriage.
This can be a very sensitive and delicate time for your children if not handled with care. It is very important that your older children do not feel excluded or unloved because you and your new husband (Boaz) are now going to have children of your own together.
To avoid complicated situations when a new baby is born, discuss with your Boaz your anxieties or fears before you start having children. It is normal as a mother to feel anxious for your older children, especially if their biological father is no longer in the picture.
For us, Nino and I discussed having children together at the very beginning of our relationship. Nino was the first to say he wanted his own biological children to call him Nino not Daddy. He said he wanted things that way so that my older children would not feel left out by having their younger siblings call Nino Daddy whilst they referred to him as Nino.
Though now and again they refer to him as Dad, which to Nino he says being called Daddy is a bonus. To all of the children, both his biological and step children, he is just Nino. That way, all the children feel Nino is the same to all of them. This may not work for every blended family, but for us it is perfect.
Introducing the new siblings has been a beautiful transition. In our home, there is no such thing as half-brothers and half-sisters. They all know they are just brothers and sisters, one family. The younger siblings adore their older siblings, and vise versa.
I can personally testify that all my children have more love for each other, more than I personally experienced with my siblings in a home that was not blended.
What I have personally learnt is that whether your children are half-siblings or not, the most important lesson to teach your children is that love knows no blood. Love is always more stronger than any family dynamics.
Sadly this happens a lot. I would advise that if your ex-partner is still in your children’s lives, make sure that he does not plant seeds of division between his children and their half-siblings. Some ex-partners are very bitter and may not like to see their children bond with new half-siblings. As a mother it is your right to set boundaries on what your ex-partner does and says to your children that may affect their relationship with their half-siblings.
Anything that disrupts the children’s emotional well-being is classed as emotional abuse, so boundaries have to be set. Your ex-partner can not put his jealousy and emotional insecurities on the children.
It is normal for older children to feel a little jealous when a new baby arrives. Though they will be very excited about their new baby brother or sister, they may also battle feelings of jealousy and resentment. This has got nothing to do with being half-siblings, it’s a completely natural feeling that just needs handling with care. Do not read too much into it.
It will help the older children to lovingly involve them in taking care of the new born. Make sure they feel important, useful and wanted.
Boaz should also take time to spend time with the older children to reassure them that they will not be loved any less because of the new baby. It is the duty of you and most importantly Boaz to make sure that the older children are not left feeling like they are second best.
If this process is handled with love and care, the new sibling will be nothing but a ray of sunshine to your older children.
For me and Boaz, introducing new siblings to our older children has been absolutely beautiful. In a way, their new siblings have healed them, and given them a new future. The older children have never felt second best, but rather their new siblings completed them.
Having more children after the trauma of a divorce has been the best thing that happened to me after divorce. To me that is the beauty of blended families, introducing new siblings. Yes it’s supposed to be complicated, but rather to us, it is completeness.