It is usually true that children typically do not have sensors. If they don’t like something or someone then they are usually very straightforward about it. This typically means that if you are in a relationship that your kids may not agree with then they have definitely voiced their opinions. So what should you do?
Is this a new relationship? Was your divorce fairly recent? Kids, and adults, whose parents have recently gone through a divorce, are still often holding on to the hope that one day their parents will reunite. Therefore, seeing you with a new partner may be completely unacceptable to them, regardless of how nice, happy, or fun the new partner is. It is important to remind yourself to be patient. Often the children will just need some time to come around. Don’t call your new relationship quits just because your children are upset about it. Try to give them time to adjust. Remember to be sensitive to the stress and sadness that they are experiencing. By you beginning a new relationship they have to come to terms with the fact that your old relationship is definitely over, and the family unit that they are used to is changing. Also try to explain to them that you have needs and wants that are separate from them and let them know that this relationship wasn’t developed out of spite for your ex.
Another cause of their distress could very possibly be that they are feeling they have to fight for your attention. Now that this new partner has come along your children may feel as though they have to compete for your time, attention, and love. Sometimes the behavior your children are exhibiting is not even a conscious act of defiance, they may be subconsciously wondering if you love your new partner more than you love them, therefore they will act out to draw your attention back to them. It is important to spend a lot of quality time with your children, especially early on in the relationship. It would be best to save your quality time with your new partner for times when your children are away. They need to be able to make the realization that you will always be there for them and that this new person involved in your life is not going to change that. This should help to relieve some of the apprehension your children are feeling towards your new partner.
Even though being a single parent may be difficult, it is very important that you do not bring your boyfriend into the discipline area. Enforcement of the family rules needs to be solely your job. Allowing him to have a say in the disciplining of your children will only increase their animosity for him. Once his relationship has solidified with you, as well as the children, then he may take a more active role. However at this time it is important that he bond with the children only in a positive way.
Of course you and your partner want a big happy family now, however it is important to take things slowly with children involved. Children will need time to accept and adjust to this new relationship and it is important that they are allowed that. Trying to rush them into accepting your new boyfriend will not only damage their relationship with him, but could also damage your relationship with the children. Different children will process and respond to things in different ways and it is most important they that know that they will always have your love, care, and affection. Don’t give up on your relationship yet, give your children a chance to adjust to it.