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#AskHappenings: How do I make my kids like my boyfriend?

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Dear Happenings,

I’m a single parent with two children, aged 10 and 15. I lost my husband, their father, three years ago. It was really hard for me and my kids to come to terms with the loss, but we are better now. I decided to start dating again and I’m seeing someone at the moment. The problem is that my kids don’t seem to like the idea at all. My oldest especially asked why I wanted to replace their father. She says the man I’m dating will take me from them. I understand their fear but I feel I’m ready to love and live again. How do I get my children to like and accept him. He tries as much as he can to bring my kids around, but I can see they are still very cold towards him, like he’s an intruder. Is it too early to date again?

Gbemi.

HAPPENINGS

Dear Gbemi,

First of all, it’s pretty normal for kids who have lost a dear parent to be suspect of any new person coming into their lives. Older children are most difficult at assimilating this change since they are already used to having one parent and for most, they never really get over the loss.

Since their father is gone, all the memory they have of you with a man is with their father, and they do not want to lose that too. They fear this new person would wipe off the only connection they have of their father.

Since you have decided you are ready to start dating, you would very likely not find lasting commitment with the first person you meet, so chances are you will date a number of people before finding a serious relationship. Ergo, try as much as possible to keep your kids out of this mix. Do not introduce them to every one of these men so you don’t end up confusing them. Wait until you find someone you’re serious with then slowly and patiently integrate him into your lives.

You can’t make your children like or accept this new person. You should also note that it’s just a phase that will pass when they begin to adjust and get comfortable with the change. Their resistance doesn’t mean they don’t want you happy, it’s just their own way of protecting their territory.

Talk to your new partner about your children and let him understand he has to go easy on them. He shouldn’t try to take over the role of their dad but be a friend and show that he can be trusted. You deal with whatever issues that concern your kids until they are comfortable enough to trust this new person.

Be careful too not to spend so much time away from them. It is easy to become distracted in a new relationship, but try not to do it at the expense of your kids. It is important they feel that they are always your number one priority.

photo source: huffingtonpost

 

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