We’ve discussed asking parental permission to wed. But as Laura pointed out, how important is it to ask the children of your intended for permission to marry their parent?

Many have seen the commercial (I can only assume it’s for rings) where you see a serious faced man asking the question- May I marry her- and then the camera pans to a little boy, who shakes his head up and down.

But what if the kid were to shake their head side to side?

How important is it for a potential stepparent to get along with their stepkids?

How many relationships are ruined or complicated by the step dynamic?

If you’ve ever watched “This is Us”, you know that the adult Kevin character has issues with his stepdad, even though his Mother didn’t remarry till she was older, and my all accounts, the stepdad is a great guy and loves the Mom. I’m betting, that if he’d been asked, Kevin would have stood on the mountain top screaming “Hell No. You are not marrying my Mother.” But this is a TV show.

What happens in real life?

What if your kids don’t like the person you want to marry?

Do you still marry them?

I know that there are many cases of step parents and step kids having amazing relationships. On a Father’s Day episode of The Chew, chef Michael Symon’s stepson made a speech about him that was so endearing and explained the biology doesn’t matter part so beautifully that everyone was crying. Recently, a college football player legally changed his name to reflect that of his stepfather and showed his stepdad the new jersey with the new name printed on the back. Cue the tears.

But do we hear about these moments because they are rare?

If your kids don’t like the person you want to marry, do you do it anyway?

How important is it for you kids to like your intended spouse?

 

 

54 thoughts on “What About the Kids

  1. This is interesting. I think a bride or groom to be can also have doubts about the relationship because of the kids. If the father asks to wed a woman and his children are in the teens, the difficult teens…whew. When I met my husband, he had one difficult girl teen and the good part was he acknowledged she was challenging. So, we married and she and I became friends. Now she has her own teenagers and is experiencing her own challenges. Did she like me? I think she did but I had my doubts about many things. I am glad we married and we are still together!

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  2. If they’re older and on their own, sure you get married. There will be unpleasantness and awkward moments BUT if the two people in question really want to be married, do they lose out because their grown children can’t deal with it? I say no.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a stepmom, of 37 years now. I’m sure Mister would have never asked me to marry him if his daughter (9yrs old when we met) was dead against me.
    In my experience stepchildren don’t need to be asked, they aren’t afraid to show their like or dislike. Every stepparent will be disliked at some point.
    Another thing I experienced is the stepdaughters feelings towards me could change almost daily and often for no reason. Over time I was able to understand and not take it personally. I would give her time and space because it was just her way of handling something confusing.

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  4. That commercial enrages my husband! I would hope that if someone wants to marry someone that has children they will have endeavored to forge a relationship with those kids before asking about marriage. Usually kids can ko a relationship early on.

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  5. I agree that age is a big factor in this question so at best I think things have to move slowly as kids need time to adjust and come to know the new person in the room. The newbie cannot just barge in and expect peace and love, nor can the existing parent force a relationship if the kid is struggling.
    What age though, is the magical number when the adults simply say tough cookies, we love each other and you can adjust or not… well that’s the crucial question and probably very individual. I have a strong hunch that there is no right/wrong, black/white answer.
    The Brady Bunch set a bad example for integrating existing families. Much too perfect and easy! 🙂

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    1. I couldn’t help but think about the Brady bunch as I wrote this!! After reading what sorry less thought, I really began thinking about the adults I know facing their parents forging new relationships. I think I’m going to write about it

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  6. All very thought-provoking questions. Our daughter remarried and now has a blended family of five kids (although his only come a few times a year as they live out of state). Children need time to process and maybe heal from the divorce of their parents. Perhaps they feel like they are betraying the other parent if they like the step parent too much. It can get very complicated and messy. It’s certainly not as easy as the commercial makes it appear! In the case of our grandchildren, they needed a more stable father figure in their daily lives so they embraced him almost immediately.

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  7. My oldest was only three, so permission wasn’t an issue. That said, how well my kid was treated was a make or break issue when I started dating. How my relationship with my kid was respected (or not) was also a huge issue. Every single thing I did when dating, I had to look at and evaluate how it fit with my kid and our relationship. There were at least a couple of guys that were shown the door because they didn’t fit what I wanted for my kid. If he had been older or even an adult, the situation would have been different. If he had been the teenager he turned out to be? Dating would have been a nightmare I don’t even want to contemplate.

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      1. It was really interesting trying to date with a kid. Some of the things I ran into kind of blew me away with either how little other people took the kid into consideration or how much they tried to make some sort of impression with my kid in an effort to impress me. It was so weird. I’m really lucky I met my Hubby when I did so I didn’t have to put up with it long.

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  8. Certainly my dad and his intended bride did not ask our permission, but my brothers and I were over 18. Two of her five children were still minors, but I doubt they were asked, either. The problem was my parents had suddenly divorced only four months before this second marriage took place. I regret to this day taking part in the ceremony. I really did want my dad to be happy – I knew my parents weren’t happy together, but it was very hurtful to my mother. And Dad’s new wife pretty much nixed the relationship between Dad and me and my brothers. More than 35 years later, she is still jealous. Even one or two of her own children quit communicating with them. I’d say there are right and wrong ways of going about this. Their way falls into the “wrong” category.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I remarried, my daughter and second wife did not get along. It seems my wife was jealous of the time I would spend with my daughter and kept trying to divide us. This resulted in a lot of animosity and put me in the middle of trying to encourage a good relationship between the two of them. It didn’t work. Now I regret the fact that I lost time with my daughter because of my, now, ex #2.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t read through all the comments but they speak more to divorced parents and are leaving out someone widowed.
    To answer the question, I think it’s important regardless of the children’s ages. You are stepping into a role also held or previously held by someone else. If you are marrying a man or a woman – gender doesn’t matter – with children it’s crucial for all involved that you respect the relationship between the parent and child. Talking about it ahead of time and acknowledging the challenge can go a long way.
    I love that commercial you referred to because it’s clear the man and boy have a relationship too, and this is a gesture of ‘we are going to be a family.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just wrote a blog about grown children and issues they have, because frankly it’s more of what I’m seeing now that I’m a certain age. In my case, if I’d talked to my mother in law beforehand about being part of the family, she would have asked me to convert, and raise my child Jewish. Do I not marry my husband because his mother does not like the fact that I am Catholic, though non practicing? I knew she disapproved, and still disapproves of me. Having a conversation beforehand wasn’t going to change that. And on a different note, the husband of Parks Speaks hates that commercial because he thinks that should have been discussed long before. I do think much of this is semantics…the when and how of the conversation. And I think it’s highly personal and specific to individuals. But clearly, the topic had way more layers than I thought when I started to write about it. And it made me think….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw Parks Speaks comment after I wrote my own, and I guess we interpret it differently. Definitely a lot of layers and it’s a huge gray area so people who take a black or white / right or wrong stance aren’t seeing the picture clearly.
        Regarding your MIL, that is a good example of we all have our own experience and come to these conversations from a different place.

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      2. That’s the best thing about a blog…hearing other points of views and experiences. It’s why I ask so many questions and try to engage conversation. The more we know, the better choices we make. Its all about a 360 view of everything. There’s rarely a hard yes or hard no, there’s much more in between

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  11. I am a step mom, my son took to my (now husband) straight away and I got on with his son straight away however his daughter was a different matter, and yes it was hard work. However all these years later we all have a really good relationship. If my son (at the time was 5 years old) hadn’t have got on with new husband I wouldn’t have married him. I do think it depends on the age.
    Someone I know married a man with a daughter (age 10), and it was obvious there was no love lost between the daughter and this woman. At the age of 15 the child went to live with a relative and the woman forbid her husband to see his daughter and he went along with it. Sad thing there was the daughter was to blame the woman had simply been jealous of the daughter.

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  12. One of my best friends from high school knew her pre-teen daughter did not care for the man she married. The daughter was against the relationship based on the soon to be stepfather’s overbearing personality. Daughter is grown now, and while she tolerates the stepdad she’s never made any pretense of him being anything other than her mom’s husband. I wish my friend had listened to her kiddo. The guy is a boor who has driven a wedge between the friend and many of our friends. They’re quite wealthy and while my friend was never elitist until after they wed. The changes have been sad to watch.

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  13. I nearly became a step-parent in my 50s, and admit I was worried about it. With hindsight, I realise his children wanted both their Dad & their Mum to be happy – either together or apart – and the undercurrent I was feeling was more to do with there being unfinished business between the parents.

    In terms of my daughter, the picture is more interesting … There was someone I loved madly, truly, deeply, who made me believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I realised we’d never be together when I couldn’t picture me introducing him to my daughter. He wasn’t in any way a terrible person, but was too broken to be in a relationship and I simply wouldn’t do that to her. Now I’m with Himself, who doesn’t do pleasantries and pretending, so my family aren’t big fans … with the exception of my daughter. I’ll admit openly that her very good opinion of him (which is shared by my granddaughter) count very highly with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. isn’t there a bit of a contrast between getting married and having a wedding.
    if your kids don’t like your partner – either listen to them and split or stay.
    But having a big wedding in your 40s/50s/60s/70s is just a big show – I don’t see the point (same for weddings in general.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m totally with you. Part of my issue is that people spend so much time planning an engagement and a wedding, they forget to work on their marriage

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      1. I totally agree – our wedding cost in total about $3,000 including rings and honeymoon. My family wanted a big (piss-up) wedding but we held firm in just wanting a small do.
        I’ve a brother who spent $30,000 on his.
        Guess which one of us complains about money the most?

        Liked by 1 person

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