Advice for meeting His kids(15 Posts)
Hi all, first time poster so go easy on me.
My other half has set the date for me meeting his kids. They are 10 and 7. OH and I have been good friends for a couple of years, and dating a few months, a decision which was not entered into lightly. He’s super excited about introducing me to his kids and feels we will get on like a house on fire, and I am equally as excited because they are a special part of him and they sound like amazing kids.
Naturally I’m leaving the decisions re. His kids meeting me down to him and his ex. There’s no pressure, I’m not planning on going anywhere, and his ex needs time to come to terms with idea of her kids meeting someone who could potentially be their stepmum. I hope that will be the case some day, but as I’ve said to him I have no expectation or pressure for the kids to have a relationship with me, all good things in time.
He’s set the day for introducing us as New Years, as he wants to “start the new year as we mean to go on.” Im so excited, but at the same time absolutely terrified.
I’m terrified of doing something wrong. Of making an idiot of myself. Of making the kids feel pressured into having a relationship with me, or worse of letting that fear be so overwhelming that they think I don’t want a relationship with them. I’m terrified that my wonderful relationship with their dad will change (negatively), that I’ll get involved when I shouldn’t, or that I won’t get involved when I should.
I’m not a Mum myself. I hope one day I’ll have a child of my own; when I entered into this relationship it was something we discussed and agree that it’s on the cards, which is a big deal in my mind because with him already having two I had assumed he wouldn’t want more. I am a teacher and naturally good with kids, so that’s a bonus. But saying that I’m a total geek and often struggle socially.
There’s so much advice on the internet, and from friends who are step parents - but those friends had their own kids first, or the step kids are adults. I guess I’m just posting here looking for a little reassurance. I really want things to go well and it’s all a bit overwhelming.
I’m wondering mainly how I should behave on the day/evening we meet. We’re attending a New Years party being thrown by his family (who I already know well and feel a part of). OH and I are usually a pretty clingy/huggy/affectionate couple, but while I don’t feel our usual lovey-doveyness would be appropriate in front of the kids, that does mean altering our natural behaviour, and I’m worried it’ll come across as the other extreme and that they’ll think I’m cold (knowing OH he would also feel pretty neglected if I wasn’t physically affectionate).
OH is aware of my anxieties. He keeps telling me it’ll be ok, just be myself. I’m just worried that “myself” as a highly loving, affectionate person will be overwhelming for the kids.
I will pre-face this by saying I have two step parents, one I get on with more than a parent and one who I really struggled with.
I would say a few things:
-Meet on neutral ground, like a soft play area for older kids, a trampoline park or park (whatever they will like)
- Don't take them presents, that feels like you're trying to buy them and kids are wise to that.
-I agree that you need to tone down how you act, just pretend like you're friends again for reference.
Finally do not meet on NYD. In my family this is like a holiday and meeting a step parent would 100% feel like you were elbowing in. Especially as its a family party and there will be lots of other people there.
Hope this helps OP!
If you’re a teacher (primary) then just act like you do with your students minus the work and discipline. A snog at midnight will be fine too 😂
Agree with the above poster.
I met the Skids 9 months into our relationship. They were 6 and 9 at the time. We went bowling together for the afternoon and then took them for burgers afterwards. My OH wanted the day to be fun.
I wouldn’t meet NYE / New Year’s Day at your OH’s families. It will be too pressurised.
You sound like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself. Relax and go with the flow. Make the day fun.
It all sounds really lovely but very high pressure - for all of you! Even though there will be others at the party.
Obviously he knows them best and I know you're leaving the decision on when/where up to him but I'd suggest a brief meet (or even a few) in passing to reduce pressure - say starting early Dec. Pop round for a cup of tea, take cake, let them show you whatever they're into on their own turf. Once you've gone, they can ask their Dad questions or tell him how they're feeling and you can build up from there. Even for the most secure kids, it can be emotional to see their Dad with this new person that he seems to really like when THEY are used to being the only ones Daddy really likes! No matter how well things seem to be going at the brief meet, I'd keep to 1 hr max for the first one.
A while ago, I met a 5 and 7 year old of a guy I was with (with my DS who was 2 as well), we did swimming then lunch then the park (maybe 4 hours total) and it was far too much and the 7 year old got upset (generally and grumpy with his sister rather than directed at me but i was obviously the cause). I wish we'd done a quick meet on their turf first.
Op please please please do not meet for the first time at your new year day party. Please.
Meet at a coffee shop, grab a hot choc and hen go for a wood walk / playground. Outside, less intense.
I think the issue with the NYD thing is it’s what my partner wants. I don’t mind either way personally. But the party falls on his day/night with the kids, however he wants to spend the New Years party with me. If I told him we shouldn’t do the meet on New Years, he would choose not to spend the event with the kids, or would choose not to celebrate New Years full stop knowing what he’s likes, and then I’d feel terrible because I’d have ruined something he was looking forward to.
I definitely won’t be doing presents. I want them to like me for who I am, not because I buy them. I too have step parents and am closer to my SDad than the Dad who raised me, but my parents remarried when I was 23 so I was able to process it as an adult.
Suggest taking them for a fun day out before NYD, just the 4 of you.
I think your partner's attitude is weird.
he would also feel pretty neglected if I wasn’t physically affectionate
he would choose not to spend the event with the kids, or would choose not to celebrate New Years full stop knowing what he’s likes
These two statements are red flags for me. Its not about what he wants, its about what's best for his kids. I think you need to sort of put your foot down and explain you would be more comfortable meeting them on a lower-pressure day etc.
Agreed Hannah, he spins Esher unpleasant.
OP, it’s not New Years party or nothing! There’s 2 months to go. Why not before then, and then also get together at the party?
No escaping though that your DP really doesn’t come across very well in your last post.
I'm with Hannah Hut & Wishing.
That sounds like very passive emotional blackmail to me. He can't decide things & then throw his toys out of the pram because you don't agree or feel uncomfortable! He's a grown up & needs to manage his commitments to his kids and to you in an adult fashion!
Go to the party by all means but tell him you would like to meet the kids before hand. Insist upon it. Can you imagine being at a family gathering and meeting dads gf for the first time? The poor kids would feel like goldfish in a bowl.
As someone else suggested pop round a few times between now & then just to say hi, or maybe do a few walks or cinema trips.
Kids find all parents being affectionate a bit yuk so do tone that down, at least initially.
Good luck 😊
Be yourself, warts and all. Expect them to be themselves, warts and all! The reality is that like all relationships, those between SP and SC have ups and downs, and need work on, even when the kids appear to be wonderful. Add to this a father often stuck in cookoo land because what could make him happier than the people he loves the most loving themselves just as much, and you have a realistic approach to step-parenting.
The more you are yourself and expect them to be too, the lower the expectations, the lower the disappointment, the lower the resentment and then if you are in the same boat that the majority of SMs, you'll find that it's all good!
When we were sure we were onto a good think DH told DSC he had a gf and they wanted to chat to me on the phone which we did a couple of times. I was shitting it about meeting them so we went mega low key and I met him and them in a park they already know. We fed the ducks, walked on logs, ran around. I'd bought them each a ginger bread biscuit which they loved. We kept things light and beeezy and he'd told me they'd hide behind him at first so I crouched down and told them my name again and chatted about ducks and stuff and they liked my shoes. We hadn't made any plans so they asked if we could all go out for food which went well. DSD ended up nodding off on my knee in the restaurant.
My mum gave me the exact same advice as swing has given you. I didn't put on a show, I let them and DH lead and we played it by ear. DSD wanted to hold my hand which was unexpected but lovely.
Can't remember the next meetings but they came to my flat for supper one night (scrambled eggs!), we went to more parks and to museums, met up with friends who have DC the same age.
DH and I talked a lot about their interests, we found stuff we all liked watching oh tv and books we liked reading. It was working towards "real life" and it's stood me and all of us in good stead. We knew we were serious and of course I wanted them to get to know and like me, and to really know and like them, and being normal with them was the most important thing.
I remember being incredibly reassured when we had our first hiccup. DSD took a nail polish of mine and started painting her nails on my sofa while DH and I were in the kitchen, she spilled some on the sofa and burst into tears. DH handled it so well, she was so sweet and I remember being glad it really was normal stuff and knew we'd be okay.
These days they know I live in pjs whenever I can, I'm incredibly clumsy, still make great eggs and I love them to bits. Starting off easy was the key.
DH was exactly the same with them as I'd expected. He rough and tumbles, carries them around, tells them off, makes them laugh, makes sure they use their cutlery and get enough sleep, knows everything about them, wants me to feel comfortable and not taken advantage of, wants us all to be happy. It was there in the first meeting and the 3 of them are honestly the best thing that's ever happened to me.
Get him to tell them something daft about you or something you liked when you were their age!
They find few things funnier than how often I drop things... And years later, their favourite before-bed stories are about elephants.
I'd also say don't think too much about how you think a SM should act when first meeting the SC: it's not a role you create instantly so don't stress yourself out!
I found it helped to think of it as if I were meeting a friend's children- you're simply meeting some small people, not auditioning for Mary Poppins.
Your DH may be hoping for the latter and try to accelerate the intimacy level between you, but don't let him set the pace. Make sure you feel comfortable at all times, if you feel like it's a time to give the three of them some space then trust your instincts.
Also, it'll be fun! Enjoy it.
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