Dating Tips8 minutes Safia, 15 February 2023

My New Partner Criticises My Child – How Should I Deal With This?

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Stomach all a-flutter? It can only mean one thing: new love!

Hasn’t everyone experienced this wonderful feeling? A new relationship is a source of euphoria and joie de vivre, bringing a sense of love and partnership back into your life. At the same time, it goes hand-in-hand with the risk of conflicts – such as when your new partner meets your children. Parents have countless questions on their mind in this kind of situation: will my children be able to accept my new partner? How will my new partner react to my children? How will they handle them? And what happens when their sense of parental responsibility gets too strong and they even start criticising them as time goes on? If these questions, and similar, are causing you sleepless nights, you should know you’re not alone.

Here, we’ve put together a few tips about how to create a positive atmosphere between your new partner and your children.

A New Relationship After a Separation

Goodbye, cloud nine; hello, cold, hard ground? A divorce or separation is no easy process for all involved – and that goes for both parents and children alike. Children can find it just as hard as adults (if not more so) to get to grips with the breakdown of their family. Luckily, they’re also extremely adaptable, as long as they get the right guidance and support. True, they don’t need to know all the details, but having a chat with your child about their parents’ relationship and separation can have a very positive impact. Why? Because it shows them that they’re not alone with their feelings and questions. One key question that’s relevant for you and your children is the matter of a new relationship.

We’d recommend discussing these kinds of issues openly with your children. This is a really easy way to find out, before you even enter into a relationship, how your own children would respond to the idea of a new partner for their mum or dad.

Minimise the Risk of Conflicts in Advance, Be Proactive

What else do you need to bear in mind? Alongside talking to your children, we recommend being as proactive as possible in terms of your new relationship. But fear not! That doesn’t mean that you need to subject your date to an aggressive grilling on your very first meeting. However, as your relationship becomes closer, it can make sense to discuss how to deal with the children as part of getting to know each other. This lets you put all your cards on the table in a candid conversation and share your thoughts on how you want your new partner to interact with your children. What would both parties like in this respect? To minimise the risk of conflict, it can help to set clear boundaries from the off, for instance. It’s not always easy to speak openly about what you want from your partner, but it can really help to create a situation of domestic bliss.

This isn’t about having all your answers prepared in advance. Instead, it’s much more about finding a solution together and aligning your expectations. You might ask yourself: what kind of interactions do I want between my boyfriend or girlfriend and my child or children? How much say should my partner have on how I raise my children? Where do we share the same ideas about raising children, where are we on different pages and where would I be willing to compromise? And do I want my partner to act as a mother or father to my child at some point, or are there other roles that I like the sound of more? Of course, it’s an ongoing process and one that depends on lots of factors, but it can be good to start thinking about these things, even at an early stage of the relationship.

Communication Is Crucial – Both With Your Children and Your New Partner

“What a pigsty! Tidy your room now!” “You’re so spoilt! You’ve got to be more independent!” “Sit down properly and don’t chew with your mouth open!” Do these statements, and similar remarks, sound only too familiar? If your new partner criticises your child, it’s the child who’ll ultimately suffer the most. Even just the separation of their mother and father represents a major psychological burden. If, a new boyfriend or girlfriend then comes into the picture, the child loses any hope that their parents will get back together. It’s easy to see that children need time to get to grips with these changes. They might only just have got used to the idea that you’ve separated from your ex-partner. Now, they need to get used to a new boyfriend or girlfriend, too. If children show anger towards your new boyfriend or girlfriend, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t stand them. Often, this anger is more a reflection of their fear of losing their mother or father’s attention. But there’s no reason to worry. Show understanding towards your child and encourage your new partner to take a step towards them. It might take a while before your son or daughter opens up to your new boyfriend or girlfriend, but don’t lose hope: sooner or later, your children will get over the separation. Your task as a mother or father is to help your son or daughter understand that you’re there for them. For instance, when did you last go to the cinema together? Or to your favourite pizzeria down the street? Just you and your children? When did you last do a mother/daughter shopping day? Or a father/son afternoon at the football? Can’t really remember when it was? Well then, it’s high time you did it!

Is it not just your child who’s complaining that you don’t have enough time for them? Is your new boyfriend or girlfriend saying the same thing? It’s completely normal for your partner to get jealous, as well as your children. They could feel neglected, under certain circumstances, because you can’t give them enough attention alongside your children, your job and your leisure activities.

Our tip? Discuss your partner’s jealousy and encourage them to share their perspective and feelings with you. Show them that you’re there for them and that you can understand what they’re feeling. That said, they also need to understand that your child is everything to you and will get the most attention. Make it clear that they need to accept this. It’s completely normal and totally OK if your child is your priority, and your partner has to take second place. However, that’s no reason not to enjoy the odd child-free day with your partner so you can spend some time as a couple. How about a cosy dinner at your favourite restaurant? Or a relaxing trip to the sauna?

Constructing a Shared Foundation

If your separation or divorce is long in the past, you’ve now found a new love, your children have got to know your new partner and they frequently spend time at your home, there are various problems that could arise. What happens if my new partner criticises my child? What happens if my children don’t like my new boyfriend or girlfriend? And what do I do if I realise that I can’t fully accept my partner’s child?

Building a new family is sometimes anything but easy. That’s why it’s even more important to construct a good shared foundation, both with your own children and your new partner. It’s sensible to establish a shared foundation precisely because issues can arise at various points. It often makes it possible to have open discussions about conflicts regarding child-rearing and the new family. A solid foundation underpins everything else, and will continue to do so.

Try to state clearly what you want in each specific situation and, conversely, to recognise what your son, daughter, boyfriend or girlfriend wants. Family means sharing a life with others, where it’s important that everyone does their bit. Criticism and conflicts are generally just as much a sign of genuine love as a feeling of harmony and shared happiness.

We believe you can do it: thanks to our helpful tips, nothing can really go wrong. So, are you ready to create a positive atmosphere between your new partner and your children? Well then, roll up your sleeves and get to work! You can thank us later. 😉


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