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Your Kids HATE Your New Boyfriend

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Dr. Wendy Walsh: So you've finally found Mr. Right, and your darling children have crowned him Mr. No-Way-No-How. So, what's a mom to do?

angry child with couple in the background

The first step is to investigate the whys behind your little angel's disgust. Could he really be as awful as they say? You might be surprised by a kid's perspective. Once, when I pressed my 5-year-old daughter for the reason she didn't like my new man, she very seriously declared that his chin was too big. When I thought about it, she was right. This very tall human had probably never gotten down enough to her level for her to even see that he had a pleasing face above his towering chin. Luckily that was an easy one to fix. I simply asked my guy to sit down more and engage my little one at her eye level.

But the most common reasons that kids dislike possible step parents are twofold. First, being witness to Mommy kissing Santa Claus is one thing, but accepting a total stranger means letting go of the fantasy that Mom and Dad will reunite. Many kids of divorced parents hold onto this reunion fantasy for years and years. The solution here is to talk it out. Bring it up --- because they likely won't ever. Remind them that they will always have two parents who love them no matter what other changes happen in the family.

Finally, it's important to know that kids are probably less jealous of your boyfriend and more jealous of his hoarding of Mommy's time. Ladies, no matter how much your hormones are spinning for your new guy, don't forget to make special dates with each child to reassure them that Mommy is happier when she is in a relationship and not unavailable to them.

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Brie March 30, 2009, 9:41 AM

Also consider that your children may be able to see that he is a complete sociopath. Just saying. If my mother had listened to me when I was 11, it would have saved her a lot of heartache with the guy she married. However, because I was 11, she thought I just didn’t want a step-father.
Alas, hindsight is 20/20.

Jen March 30, 2009, 8:53 PM

Does a child HAVE to like mom’s new guy? I believe that a child should be polite and respectful but don’t insist that they love your guy just because you do.

Bec Thomas March 30, 2009, 10:06 PM

Children also have a great ability to see personality flaws that moms raging hormones have either missed, justified away, or just blantently ignored.

I think the children’s feeling have to be considered in single parent relationships because the person is not just affecting your life but also your childs and as a parent your child really does come first and is your greatest responsibility.

Holly April 6, 2009, 8:35 PM

I wouldn’t be quite as extreme as some of the comments below…but it is true that children are often perceptive. While the new boyfriend may be charming to the mom, in my personal experience, if that personality is fake and he is really a rude jerk, he’ll be mean to the kid first.

I would advise mothers to also pay attention to changes, routine, and schedules. Change is hard for anyone, especially kids, so try not to upset the child’s entire life. Take things slow with the relationship. Let the child adapt to the changes slowly. If he is a keeper he will respect this.

Kelsey May 3, 2009, 8:01 PM

Coming from a 15 year old’s perspective who has been through this situation at least twenty times in the past five years…., for mom’s; please, for the good of your child(ren), /don’t/ go and move in with the new guy within a year of knowing him. Not only is this very un-comfortable for the kids, it can also let the guy see how you all really are, as in bad habits of both you and the children, and it may limit the children from being themselves because they feel too uncomfortable in this new situation. Don’t try and hide the relationship from your child(ren), most likely they’ll know why you’re leaving for several hours every night. Don’t have sex, or have any sexual encounters in the same household, at least. I know this is very blunt, but your child(ren) is most likely very protective of you, and it’s sickening to think of your own mother having sex with a complete stranger just a few steps down the hallway.
This happened with my mother’s last relationship; since she was gone on Tuesdays and Thursdays until about seven because of her college classes, her boyfriend would come home before her, and act like a complete jerk to my brother and I. He’d get in our faces and scream at us, throw things, and he hit me twice, then when my mother got home, he acted like an angel. If your child(ren) seem unusually sad, angry, or anti-social, or just simply not themselves, on days that you know they’ve been alone with the boyfriend, some sort of abuse (verbal, physical, or sexual) has most likely occurred. Please, ask the child what happened, then confront the boyfriend about this, don’t assume that everything is okay, because it’s hell for your kids.
I hope this helps for any Moms trying to have a new relationship.

moonstarz June 19, 2009, 1:05 PM

I agree with Kelsey. I am going through a separation and my kids are under 5 years old. I don’t plan having them meet anyone that I am romantically involved with until we are VERY serious. I also will not move in with a man until I am remarried. I feel that it is best for my children. The new guy must be crazy about my kids too. We are a package.

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