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When Your Partner’s Kids Don’t Like You

Getting back into the dating world after a divorce comes with more than a few surprises. One of the most common, not to mention hurtful issues is when your new partner’s kids don’t have a fondness for you. No need to fret. Below are some tips to try the next time you’re around the kids. With a little understanding and new behavior, the problem might just go away as quickly as it came.

Don’t take it personally. Kids’ not liking the new partner is common so expect it to happen. And remember, their dislike for you has nothing to do with you personally. How can it? The kids don’t even know you. You could be a famous celebrity and the kids would still not like you. This is because you represent a threat to their ultimate fantasy of reuniting their parents. To make things better, have some compassion for the pain the kids are experiencing over losing the their family.

Don’t act like their mother and don’t try to be their best friend. You are a stranger to them and you have to earn their friendship and respect. To do this, develop the relationship slowly. Get to know each one of them individually and find things you have in common.

Don’t bad-mouth their mom. No matter how you feel about her, bite your tongue. If anything, say positive things about her such as, “It sounds like you’re mom is a smart woman or is a fun mom.” But don’t go overboard or they will suspect you’re up to something.

Limit physical affection. Even if it’s nearly impossible to keep your hands off your partner, it’s important that you do when the kids are around. Seeing their parent with someone being affectionate other than their other parent can be very upsetting to kids. So refrain until the children have accepted you. And even then, proceed slowly.

Set boundaries. Being careful not to upset the kids is important but you don’t want to go so far that you let them dictate your relationship. In private, discuss concerns that you have and how your partner can help to lessen the problems by speaking up when they step over the boundaries and act disrespectful, mean, or rude toward you. Practice with your partner what he might say and when to say it. Boundary setting works best when it’s prepared for in advance.

Pre-Marital-Mediation: The children from past relationships are one of the leading causes of divorce in second marriages. Learn how to make it work by gettting all the people involved to mediate an arrangement everyone can accept.