When I am working with a child whose parents are no longer together and there is a new partner on the scene, more often than not the child will want to talk about them. They will either say that they like the new boyfriend/girlfriend or they will say they are not happy about mum/dad having a love interest.
It can be very difficult for children to accept that their parents’ life has moved on and they could resent having to share their parent. So, what can you do to help your child adjust or at least be civil about your new partner?
5 Ways to Help Children Accept a New Partner
Talk to your child about their reservations
You can talk to your child and find out what their reservations are when you have time alone. Is it that they don’t want you being with anyone else apart from their mum/dad? Don’t they like the way your new partner treats them? Is it that they don’t interact with your child? Is it too much too soon? Try to find out what’s really going on – children need to give you a reason why rather than a ‘just because’.
Find some common ground
We cannot like everyone we meet but ask your child to give the new partner a chance and try and find something in common with them. Maybe get the partner and your child together and find something they both enjoy doing and they can do it together.
What changes can your new partner make?
If your children don’t like their habits or the way they are treated by your boy/girlfriend then find out what it is exactly they don’t like. Is it that they are bossy or lazy? Is it because their feet stink or they are untidy? Most things can be sorted out so look at what changes your partner can make.
Note the positives
Talk to our child about why you like your partner and the good things they bring to your life. Explain that you want to be happy again and that it would be nice if they were kind to them.
It might be worth slowing things down a bit until your child gets used to the idea of someone else being around. If your child displays adverse behaviour it may be because they want you all to themselves and feel left out. Spending more time with them could rectify that.
Blending a new partner into your children’s life should be done sensitively. It is a big change for them and may take some getting used to, so give them time and listen to them. It will help them to adapt and improve everyone’s relationships in the long run.
I’d love to hear your experiences of introducing a new partner into your child’s life. Leave a comment on this blog or via my social media channels.