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New partner with no experience of children

(11 Posts)
lahdeeda Wed 21-Sep-11 11:31:26

i recently introduced my 2 DDs (3 & 6) to my new partner (of 4 months) who has zero experience with children... he's also an only child so no experience of having to even share a space, besides one previous adult relationship.

He invited us to come to his house for the weekend and it became clear when in his house, he found it hard to relax with two screeching kids running about. He'd be fine for a certain amount of time, playing and cooking for them, then the next moment, he's be looking frustrated and behaving impatiently. Nothing overtly rude, just a clear sense of being out of his comfort zone. When we were all out the house on walks/park etc, everything seemed totally fine. Soon after going back to his house though, again he seemed to only manage bursts of time with them before wanting space away from them. We spoke about it a few times over the weekend and he was very honest- that he found it difficult to adapt as he was so used to everything being a certain way and found it hard to remain patient. He asked me to be patient with him and allow him time to get used to things being different. At one point i got upset because he was snippy with the kids banging about after their bath as it felt like a direct criticism of them just being regular kids and i didn't want them to feel unwelcome. I felt hugely emotional about it as my ex has been behaving badly, using them against me, refusing to look after them so i can work etc. I didn't want them to feel in any way rejected by my new partner too so when i saw him upset with their noise, I felt incredibly protective.

Overall the kids really like him, especially my oldest daughter who he seemed to bond with very easily. he's fun and caring but set in his ways/quite particular and anal about cleanliness etc and i worry he won't manage to adapt and be more flexible about kids being messy/loud and demanding at times.

I wouldn't want to put my kids in a situation where they felt they were walking on eggshells so I'm not sure if maybe he's just not ready for a whole weekend of them and perhaps a more gradual approach might be better, although the weekend was his idea.

He says he feels positive that given time, he can adjust to the point where he's comfy with everything but is worried I'm feeling disappointed in him. I suppose I was a bit disappointed although I understood where he was coming from.... I'm one of 3 siblings and obviously have been a parent for 6 years so it's hard to put myself in his position.

any advice would be welcome.

glasscompletelybroken Wed 21-Sep-11 12:13:50

TBH I think 4 months is not long to know someone before introducing them to your dc's. That's your decision though and I guess you feel that the relationship is going somewhere etc. I do think though that a more gradual approach would have been better and starting out with him meeting them on neutral territory - a day out somewhere. Then move on to a brief visit at your house where the dc's have all their toys etc to play with and you don't have to worry about them damaging anything.

He may have suggested the weekend at his house but he doesn't have any experience of kids so had no idea what he was letting himself in for.

I wouldn't worry too much - you may have made a mistake with this weekend visit but it's not the end of the world and you both want to work it out. Go back to the beginning and take things more slowly, with most of the visits being at your house and any at his house for short periods to start with.

ladydeedy Wed 21-Sep-11 19:16:39

I can really relate to this as I was the one with no kid experience when I met my now DH and his kids. They came to my house and it was only once they were in the house I realised it was totally non-child friendly (cream carpets and cream furniture everywhere!) and I was anxious throughout!! I had just never had to consider that before. I adjusted though. Just take it slowly and give everyone time to adjust.

dadsgirlfriend Thu 22-Sep-11 14:12:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hassled Thu 22-Sep-11 14:16:48

I think a whole weekend was too much too soon - 4 months isn't long at all. And he sounds nice - realistic about the difficulty but prepared to keep trying etc. He hasn't had to share his space or his time or his privacy before - it's a hell of an adjustment for him.

When I met DH he had no experience with kids and I had 2 DCs. It did take time - you need to lower expectations for now. If it helps - that was 15 years ago we went on to have 2 DC together!

Beamur Thu 22-Sep-11 14:19:25

Like the other posters say, just chalk this down to experience and maybe take it a bit more gradually.
I met my DP's kids after we'd been seeing each other a couple of months, not long at all really, but the kids knew about me and were keen to meet me. I had no kids, few of my friends had kids - I was GREEN! It took me years to feel entirely comfortable - being a step parent can be very strange - you tread a difficult line between parents and kids, with many of the sacrifices of parenthood with not all of the perks.
I think your partner wants to make you all welcome, but maybe was a bit overwhelmed - not that surprising really. Good tips from glasscompletelybroken.

chelen Thu 22-Sep-11 20:34:28

hi, I can really understand why you're feeling anxious, but I have to say i sometimes find it hard to relax with kids around, one of them being my own biological child!

I've gone from having no kids to two in three years (one step, one mine) and it is a shocker.

Give him some time, I think it is a hard thing to take in.

Plenty of biological parents are obsessed with cleanliness (not me I should confess, you should see my kitchen right now) and they find a way to work around it.

But if you take it slow you've always time to back out if he really is kid-phobic. good luck!

theredhen Fri 23-Sep-11 08:47:51

I think four months is a reasonable amount of time to introduce a new partner. However I think a whole weekend might be a bit much.

I'm an only child and my own child was the first baby I had ever held and I felt incredibly overwhelmed and found it difficult to adjust. Give you're partner time but don't accept this attitude if it Carries on indefinitely. He may well adapt and grow to be more tolerant but then again he might not. Keep an open mind and keep talking.

SingingTunelessly Fri 23-Sep-11 21:28:10

Being a parent is hard. Being a step-parent can be off the scale. Really sorry no advice or wise words as am at end of my tether (again). Off to drink gin.

Beamur Fri 23-Sep-11 21:43:33

SingingTunelessly wine

LaDolcheRyvita Mon 26-Sep-11 09:19:59

Me too singingtunelessly

Just when ya think it will maybe, be ok, the whole think takes a nosedive!

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