Marriage – the facts you need to know - 38
· You need to know your children and their children may never be close friends. But, over time, everybody can learn to respect and tolerate one another.
· You need to know twins can fight like cats and dogs. So it's normal for stepbrothers and stepsisters to have fallings-out.
· You need to know you're not Cinderella's stepmother. You're not wicked.
· You need to know that moving into a new home for a fresh start might be easier for everyone.
· You need to know you'll be tempted to show favoritism to your stepchildren. Then you'll feel so guilty you'll want to buy your own child a car. But he's only twelve.
· You need to know the relationship you have with your spouse's kids while you're dating will change when you get married. Inevitably.
· You need to know that, for a while, the stepparent shouldn't be your kids' disciplinarian.
· You need to know to decide up-front who's paying for what (the mortgage, vacations, private soccer lessons) and for how long.
· You need to know to make special arrangements for stepkids who visit a few days each week or month. Make sure they have their own bed, toothbrush, toiletries, and clothes so they feel like members of the family. Not visitors.
· You need to know to wait until you've bonded as a family before you have a new baby together. The children's nerves are frayed enough.
· You need to know the moment you start referring to the children as "my kids" and "your kids," you're entering deep water.
· You need to know some things never change, and that includes disagreements over money, noise, discipline, and other everyday ups and downs of family life.
· You need to know keeping your emotions bottled up didn't work in your first marriage.
· You need to know a new marriage isn't going to solve your kids' problems. Kids in new families have the same issues as kids in single-parent divorced homes.
· You need to know it's important to spend time just with your own kids.
· They need you now more than ever.
· You need to know to decide who makes emergency medical decisions for your kids if you're not around. Your ex? Your spouse? Your father?
· You need to know a will protects your children, but be sure to address the fact that a surviving spouse might be entitled to your estate. Cutting out your kids.
· You need to know it's a good idea to keep separate personal accounts, but to pool cost-of-living money in a joint account. This is what the rich and famous do.
· You need to know your stepkids will probably like their grandparents (her ex in-laws) more than they like you. Perfectly normal.
· You need to know that if you bring children into a marriage, you're going to have to be deliberate about making time for your marriage.
Doing so will only benefit your kids.