Conversation Starters: Do you want a baby?

6 01 2009

If you’re dating a man with kids from a previous marriage, don’t wait to talk about whether or not you’ll have a child together. The last thing you want to do is find out after the marriage certificate is signed that your new spouse has no intention of having any more kids when you’ve always dreamed of giving birth. (Believe me, girls. I’ve heard this sad story from more than one stepmom!) Make sure you know exactly where you both stand on the baby making issue. Spend an evening at home, spread out a tasty dinner, and uncork the wine. Then use this list of questions to get the discussion flowing:

  1. Do we want a baby? Why or why not?
  2. How do we think a new baby will affect our relationship as a couple?
  3. Will our stepchildren/children welcome a new half-sibling? What can we do to facilitate good feelings?
  4. Do we think a new baby will affect our relationship with the ex(es)?
  5. Do we think Stepmom will feel different about the new baby than she feels about her stepchildren? Is that okay?
  6. Will Stepmom’s child have to follow the same rules as Dad’s kids?
  7. How will we both feel if we can’t have, or decide not to have, a baby?
  8. Will you resent your stepchildren if you can’t or don’t have a baby?
  9. Do we make a good parenting team? If not, how can we become one?
  10. What if Dad has already had a vasectomy? Is he willing to have a reversal surgery? Can we afford it?

Dating a divorced man with kids?

15 12 2008

A vast majority of newly married couples report they did not have conversations about important topics such as money, sex or the number of children each person wants before the marriage license is signed. Part of the conflict that arises in the first few years of marriage comes from problems in these areas that were never discussed during the courtship stage of the relationship. If you are dating a man with children it is absolutely critical that the two of you put everything on the table long before you decide to move in together or tie the knot. The fact is, remarriages have a higher rate of failure than first marriages because the stressors that come with stepfamily dynamics can erode the marriage. The more armed you are with information, the better!

You can find many conversation starters in my book at the end of each chapter in the Discussion Topics for Two sections. I also came across a free teleseminar that you might find of interest:

Yvonne Kelly, founder of The Step and Blended Family Institute and David Steele, founder of The Relationship Coaching Institute are presenting a free teleseminar on Thursday, January 22, from 9-11 p.m. EST. Register at to reserve your spot and they’ll send you a copy of the Stepdating Report.

Conversation Starters

28 10 2008

This stepmom thing is no easy task we’ve signed ourselves up for. Whether you’re new to it or have lived in your stepfamily for decades, stepmotherhood takes constant attention. People change, custody is renegotiated, children grow up, new children are introduced to the family. Each transition requires a fresh look at the dynamics within your household as we are all constantly growing and changing. And with each passing year you must continue to re-focus your intention to create a happy, peaceful blended family.

 Learning how to becoming a stepmom is not something that you do once and then poof! you’re finished. Instead, just like a marriage, you must pay attention to it as the years pass, making sure that you are on the path you intended with your stepchildren and your spouse.

Take a few moments to answer the following questions. Better yet, use them to start a discussion with your partner.

1. How have your stepchildren changed since you met them?

2. How has your relationship with each of them evolved?

3. What have you done with your stepchildren that you are most proud of?

4. What aspects of your relationships with your stepkids would you like to work on?

5. Check in with your partner. Compared to a year ago, how is your partnership more solid?

6. Are you harboring any resentment toward your partner over something that happened within the past year? Have you talked about it? Can you discuss it now?

7. Do you think your stepfamily is stronger now than it was a year ago?

8. How do you want your home and your relationships to feel a year from now?

9. Have you become a more flexible stepmother?

10. Think back to when you were a child. Would you have liked a stepmom like you?