Remarrying couples: Negotiating your own roles and the roles and rules for their biological and step children

Encouraging individuals to discuss their expectations with regard to children, what happens now, how that might change and more importantly how the couple and children might feel about those changes is important.

It is important to be on the lookout for divergent views between the couple about parenting which may be conducted with one or both partners having had the experience of becoming a parent. Whatever the dynamic, it is a great opportunity to raise the issues for further thought and to examine the assumptions they often make about this transition and about one another.

Half and step sibling relationships have to be managed respectfully while the couple negotiate their own roles with, and rules for, their biological children. These may be different to those for the other children who may move between houses and be subject to different rules. A useful starting point for this discussion is “My partner and I are adequately prepared for the realities of blended family living”.

Exploring relationship roles and a remarrying couple’s expectations about how decision making and responsibilities will be shared is a good place to start. This assists understanding each others preferences for traditional or equalitarian roles in their relationship.

Equalitarian: I am happy with the flexibility we have in our roles and responsibilities.

  • Do you feel that your roles are too flexible or too rigid? If so, why?
  • What do you feel needs to be done to handle your roles and responsibilities better?
  • What types of roles and responsibilities are you used to fulfilling?

Traditional: A marriage functions best if one person assumes the role as head of the household.

  • Can you share your expectations for who will be the “head of the household”?
  • Have you discussed your feelings about leadership and decision making?
  • On what do you base your opinion in this area?

Equalitarian: When it comes to roles and responsibilities, both partners should be willing to adjust.

  • What adjustments do you feel a wife must be willing to make?
  • What adjustments do you feel a husband must be willing to make?
  • What type of adjustments you are not willing to make?
  • Have you talked about the adjustments both of you will have to make when you are married?

Traditional: I am concerned about doing more than my share of the household tasks.

  • Have you shared this concern with your partner?
  • Why do you feel that you are doing/will do more than your share of the tasks?
  • What do you feel is a fair share of the household tasks?
  • What can both of you do now to resolve this issue?
  • How will our children contribute?

Equalitarian: We expect to divide household chores based on our interests and skills rather than on traditional roles.

  • What roles did your parents choose in regards to household chores?
  • What do you see your role to be?
  • What do you see your partner’s role to be?
  • Have you shared with each other what you would like for your roles to be regarding household chores?
  • How will our children contribute?

In summary, PREPARE/ENRICH covers most of the key areas including, negotiating your own roles and the roles and rules for their biological and step children.

There is an assumption that couples will succeed at becoming parents and a positive focus on couple strengths is encouraged. Participant responses always make for an interesting session.

Getting Started:

For Parents:

  • To get started with the Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH, you will need to locate a qualified facilitator of relationship and parental education. PREPARE/ENRICH Certified facilitators can be located in your area by contacting PREPARE/ENRICH or by using the search facility on the website: For Couples

For Facilitators:

  • To get started with the Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH, you will need to become PREPARE/ENRICH Certified by attending a Workshop.
  • Once trained, Contact Us to activate the Parenting Version in your facilitator account.
  • The cost to activate the Parenting Version is $40

The PREPARE/ENRICH Parenting Version is Now Available: Register here >

PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on the Parenting Version or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

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