The challenges of second-parenting

That man or woman you dream about may be a worse devil than your current spouse. So, think twice… Second-parenting can be a nightmare.

Ladi Ayodeji

Second-parenting is a phenomenon in which someone with children in a first marriage goes ahead to marry and have a child or more in a second marriage.

READ ALSO: Higher philosophy of Christian marriage (2)

We may extend this definition to include someone who has one or more children outside wedlock, and then goes ahead to marry and have a child or more by another spouse. This is different from a polygamous relationship. The main distinction between a polygamist and a second parent is that while the former is a man who cohabits with his wives; the latter only does so with one spouse. Therefore, we cannot justifiably label a second parent a polygamist any more than a second parent who happens to be a woman can be called polyandrous (i.e. a woman with more than one husband).

It is imperative that we understand clearly, the distinction between polygamy and second parenting because the challenges are similar and tend to overlap. It is doubtful if anyone sets out to be a second-parent, even though their romantic infractions make them so, but very often men decide to be polygamists by choice.

The major challenges of second-parenting are the management of sibling rivalries, step-mother behaviours toward her step-children and the attitude of step-fathers toward children from their wife’s earlier relationship(s). Financial issues, inequitable parental care, inheritance in the event of death a spouse, are other matters that constantly upset the amity in the homes of second parents just as is the case in polygamous settings. There are moral issues which also rile couples in second-parenting relationships. This bothers on moral failure where a step-father sexually abuses his step-daughter, or a step-brother indulges in sexual relationship with a step sister.

Every second parent faces these daunting challenges and the ability to manage them often determines the survival of such marriages. Millions of people around the world are in second or more marriages, with all the pains and heartache involved. Many couples often find, to their chagrin, that the thought of being better off in another relationship or marriage is a mirage.

The pasture often seems greener on the other side; yet this popular thinking is an illusion. Your purported bad marriage may be blissful when compared to real life experiences with a dream spouse. That man or woman you dream about may be a worse devil than your current spouse. So, think twice before you quit your troubled marriage. Second-parenting can be a nightmare.

You should not assume that your next husband would treat your child or children better than their own biological father, because no law binds him to such obligation. No such guarantee is given by law to a step-mother to her step-children either. In fact, records show that most step-fathers hardly care for their step-children. Their love for their wives hardly extend to the children they bring into their new marriage.

The attitude and cruel behavior of step- mothers toward their step-children is widely known in second marriages. Peace hardly reigns in the homes of second-parents, because of lack of genuine love. Therefore, before you become a second-parent empower yourself, especially if you are a woman. In this part of the world where there are weak alimony laws, women often bear the brunt of divorce. Men run free when marriage collapses.

Since divorce by young couples has become so rampant in our society, the one option for these unfortunate couples is to remarry, and become second parents, if not third, in some cases. I advise you exercise extreme caution before you go into another relationship. You may not be able to cope with the traumatic consequences of a second or third heartbreak.

If you are a lady in a second marriage and you have kids from your first marriage or outside wedlock, protect your girls from predatory step-fathers and your step-sons, who may want to prey on your daughters from your former marriage or affairs.

For the men, I’d advise you to keep your children in the care of your own relatives.

They are safer in such environment because they are likely to have genuine emotional commitment from blood-related guardians. This also applies to children from step-fathers. It is better you keep them in the custody of your relatives to avoid sibling rivalries or conflicts with your new wife. Two women who have children by the same man are likely to see each other as enemies or child oppressor, especially if the current wife has the custody of the step-children. Such relationships are often strained and full of suspicion.

It is for this reason the Bible opposes divorce except when a spouse is caught in adultery and his partner cannot forgive her. Even then, the Holy writ declares that the adulterer and their spouse remain unmarried if the marriage is dissolved on account of adultery. Either spouse can only remarry if one of them dies. God knew that second marriages could be very problematic, if it involves former couples that are still alive.

However, since man is imperfect, one can only recommend how to cope with remarriage or second-parenting because of the reality of our day, even among Christians. This is not an attempt to give a seal of approval to what God condemns.

READ ALSO: Higher philosophy of Christian marriage


Weekend Spice:

“If you teach a man anything, he will never learn.”

– George Bernard Shaw.


Ok, folks, let’s do it again next Friday. Stay motivated.


Ladi Ayodeji is an Author, Rights Activist, Pastor and Life coach. He can be reached on 09059243004(sms & WhatApp only)


The post The challenges of second-parenting appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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