When Your Kids Don’t Like Your Partner
When you meet someone who has children and you want to get to know them, dating them isn’t so easy. You don’t get to date them as you would a single person with no children. You must date the whole family right from the beginning.
It makes it a bit difficult when you are barely know the person in the first place but you are almost an instant family at least in the short term. When this happens it’s usually quite good at the start. Everyone gets this false sense of security that “wow, we all get along so well”. This is because no one knows how long this is going to last so it’s new for everyone.
Over time when everyone gets comfortable with each other and the niceties stop, all the bullshit comes out and conflict erupts. All of a sudden there is no peace in the house. There’s arguments, crying, mood swings, constant “fire fighting” and of the course there’s the hurtful words from the kids like “I hate you, I wish you would just leave” etc.
Can A Parent Really Be Offended Or Upset If Their Kids Don’t Like Their New Partner?
I don’t think so. It’s definitely a bonus if they do like them but if you take a moment and think about it from the children’s perspective. Just because you like that person and want to spend time (or the rest of your life with them) it doesn’t mean the kids do.
What choice did they have in the matter? That’s right, they didn’t have a choice. Life changed and their whole world changed.
6 Things Your Partner Must Do If Your Kids Don’t Like Them:
1. Act like an adult.
If the kids don’t like you they are going to show you and most likely they will tell you. Don’t retaliate and engage in childish behaviour.
Instead, listen to what they are saying and talk to them. Ask them questions. Listen to understand where the kids are coming from and what they really mean. Be respectful of their feelings and let them talk without interruption.
2. Spend time with the child – don’t spend money.
Spend time getting to know the child. Even if you think you know them, spend time with them doing things that are important to them. Spoil them with your time and attention – not with your wallet.
3. Give them time alone with you.
Be respectful that the child needs time with their parent and it is their first and foremost choice to spend time alone with their partner – without you. And that’s ok. They deserve to spend quality time alone with their parent. It’s not personal so don’t make it personal.
4. Don’t gang up on the child and try and get their parent to take your side.
This is a big NO. Don’t put your partner through it and if you do this expect retaliation – forever. Instead, try and sort through any issues quietly. Keep your shit together and talk to the child. Don’t overreact and don’t get emotional. Just talk through the facts and look for a win-win solution.
5. Be reliable.
If the child needs help with homework or sports or anything else that you are able to help with them help them. Be someone they can rely on and build the trust. Helping someone with something they are stuck on is a very good way to build rapport.
6. Encourage and offer solutions
Any parent can be negative and point out the negative things their kids do. Be better than that. Catch the kids doing something good and point it out and praise them. If there is something that needs doing eg. their room is a mess, offer a solution instead of a put down. ‘Hey buddy, do you need some help getting your room sorted out?” is better than “Clean the room, it looks like a pig sty”.
Adding just one more personality to the mix of a family can create all sorts of tension. It’s not easy to keep multiple personalities happy. When you see “happy families” just know that every family has their own bullshit. They just might be better at hiding it or they don’t practice their problems all the time.
Overall, the kids don’t need to like your partner and your partner doesn’t need to like your kids (obviously it’s better if they do!) but everyone needs to be kind and respectful.