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Dc seem jealous of dp(16 Posts)
I've got two dc aged 10 and 6. I split up with their dad 3 years ago due to dreadful behaviour on his part. Certainly the youngest will have few, if any, memories of us together as a couple. They have contact with their dad but he isn't very reliable.
I've been with dp for a year, he met the dc about 6 months ago and sees them probably once/week. They seem to look forward to him coming round, like him when he's here but then afterwards can be quite emotional. I really think the youngest, who has always been v attached to me, in particular is struggling with the conflict between liking dp but being jealous of the relationship I have with him.
Any thoughts on how to manage this? Dp never stays overnight at mine when the doc are here but that's something I'd like to change soon. Dp would like to as well but we are both worried about how the dc will react. How should I manage this situation?
I think if they're finding the current arrangements difficult I'd be inclined to slow things down rather than begin overnight stays. Maybe, rather than have him come to your/their home, meet up (all of you) when you're out and about, and increase that gradually, so you're on neutral territory.
The best way to manage this would be to avoid having your boyfriend around when the kids are there, as far as is possible. Do they spend some time with their father?
Your dc are not "jealous" of your relationship with your dp, but they are fearful that it will cause you to devote all of your attention to him and, effectively, cause you to abandon them as their df, with whom they only have sporadic contact, has done.
They need to learn that, far from diminishing the attention you give them, your relationship will double the attention they currently receive as they'll have another loving and caring adult to whom they can turn to for fun/games/comfort/advice/encouragement and all of the other positives we endeavour to bring to the lives of our dc.
When your dp fetches up once a week make it a special event. Turn the tv off. Dine en famille. Get the board games out/teach them to play cards and be fulsome in praise of their ability to win as well as lose. If your dp is a dab hand in the kitchen get him doing the cooking with your dc as his sous-chefs while you sit and
mumsnet knit and if not, make it pizza/tex mex/chinese or similar night where they get to choose what they want to eat or order from the take-away/home delivery service.
Encourage him to build his own bond with your boys; if he's unable to think of how he can achieve this ditch him without further ado as a man who's lacking in imagination won't enchance their, or your, lives in any way.
If his weekly visit to your home becomes a looked forward to event, they'll soon be lamenting his absence and be clamouring to see more of him.
I suggest you make the move to him staying overnight in the neutral ground of a hotel/self-catering holiday in the UK or abroad where they'll become accustomed to seeing him last thing at night and first thing in the morning, but be sure to book in a child-friendly resort where there'll be plenty of activities for them to participate in with and without you, and don't engage in
canoodling overt displays of affection in front of them until they have fully accepted him as being part and parcel of their lives with you.
In short, your dp is not just wooing you; he's also courting your boys and he needs to be as assiduous in winning their approval as if he were seeking to win your hand from a particularly
disapproving protective df.
Don't underestimate your dc; they look out for you just as much as you look out for them and if they give your dp their approval you'll know you've found a good man.
I'm with goddess. They are afraid they will become unimportant to you and be left with two uninvolved parents. I think it makes clear how important you are to them and their need for security. It also reflects your strong bond with them and their desire to keep it. Just go nice and slowly and I think the suggestion of an overnight trip or weekend away for the first sleepover is a good one.
What a refreshing post goodness - practical, pragmatic and child focused with the frequent implication you see on here that a single mother has no business dating, if she must then she must only see her boyfriend when kids are with Dad (so the widowed and those without a reliable ex are doomed to be single forever) and DC must not be introduced for at least five years once the couple are engaged.....
Sorry that should say without the frequent implications!
Listen to goodness OP. She has good advice
Thanks goddess, that makes a lot of sense. He does do things with them now that I'm not very good at, eg plays games with them on the Xbox and iPad and wins them points etc, looks at football cards with interest (feigned actually but he is still better than me). I'll think a bit more about us doing things out of the house together too. We aren't a very canoodling couple, he might put his arm around me on the sofa but we certainly aren't snogging away.
Only seeing dp when the dc are not around isn't practical for me, though we do spend time together alone. I also want them to understand that adults have happy, healthy relationships and see that modelled for them. I don't think never seeing me with a partner is particularly helpful to them in the long-term.
Firstly congratulations for meeting someone wonderful. When do and dc are there make sure both of you; dp and you put them first. I met my now dh when my dc were late teenagers and it was truly shocking how much they regressed. It had been just the three of us with sporadic visits to their Dad. I had had other boyfriends but my now dh just put my dc first. I knew he was the one because I felt left out! He was so patient with my ds who quite frankly was a bit confrontational having another man around for the first time. I know it's not for everyone but my dh moved in almost straight away and now my dc have a strong family unit they absolutely adore him but he was the key he put them and their needs first made every effort to establish a relationship separate to me. In your case I think that is the key make the time he is there all about them and their relationship with your potential new family unit. If you think he's the one I definitely wouldn't slow things down because they might think they've 'won'. My ds once said to a boyfriend I brought round for Sunday lunch "you won't last" .
Another thumbs up for goodness, what a well thought out post with some great advice.
I was going to say the same in that I don't think they are jealous, etc...but it is all there, in the post!
It sounds like the couple are pretty much already doing what goodness has suggested and the idea that you shouldn't slow things down because the children 'might think they've won' is surprising to to me.
I am all for single parents dating, being a 'single parent who dates' myself, but if they didn't meet him for the first 6 months then it can't be completely impractical to take a step back.
I have a slightly different perspective. All sons are different I know, but I've dated the same man for nearly 4 years. He stays here occasionally and my boys are quite emotional when he leaves too. What I have grown to realise is that they want him here more; they miss not having a dad around and would dearly want us to live as a family.
Sadly it will never be that way for us and our relationship is petering out. I won't end it because I know how the boys feel. However very slowly I am preparing them for a life without him.
might this be the case with yours?
I also want them to understand that adults have happy, healthy relationships and see that modelled for them
They've got plenty of time to understand that when they're older, right now they need to understand that they are your priority and you'll never leave them. They're obviously emotional about the possibility of more upheaval and more loss.
However nice your BF is to them, they don't have feelings for him you do, he's just a bloke. A bloke who might take their mother away.
To meet the kids after 6 months is quite soon and they havent had much time to get used to him yet. I wouldn't begin overnight stays for a good while
They're not jealous they are fearful
Reassurance, reassurance. Introducing him has changed the dynamics, lots of love and patience is the way to go. You are the most important person in the world to your dc's, try to remember that
It's interesting because what Temporaryanonymity says rings a bell too. They often ask if he is coming over and seem keen to see him and his ds, who is quite a bit older than them. It's just afterwards they seem a bit upset, particularly the youngest. I'd never considered the possibility that they want him around more, not less.
It's never easy and kids often don't know themselves exactly what they want or feel.
If DP is the one, then move it along a bit. We used to have cuddles with everyone in the morning which they liked. Remember you are showing them what a loving relationship should look like. So show them a loving relationship. We are a very affectionate family. My eldest DD prefers DP hugs to mine. Dd2 doesn't much like hugs at all.
It's ok to have a life. Step parents can be brilliant. More people loving them is just more love not less.
The longer you are single the harder it makes the transition for the kids though. I was single for 6 years and they found adjusting hard in emotional terms. But if something happened to me they want to stay with him. Their Dad is pretty much out of the picture.
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