I Can’t Stand Her Kids! Or is it Her Parenting?
Someone once asked me how soon their new love interest should meet their kids. I responded by saying, “it depends on how annoying your kids are”. The truth is that if your kids are annoying, spoiled or bratty that new love interest just might run away very quickly! Dating someone who has kids can be a tremendous challenge and sometimes it is a deal breaker! But is it the kids or the parenting that is the real turn off? Here are a few things to think about…
We all parent differently and very often it is a reflection of our own upbringing as well as that divorce guilt that influences just how we parent. This doesn’t mean it can’t be changed though. A little sensitivity can go a long way when talking about such a personal topic! Follow these quick tips and things will go much more smoothly.
- Meeting the kids is as personal as having sex! It is a precious thing and doesn’t need to be shared with just any random person we are dating. Save it until you know this relationship has a future. By this time the communication will be stronger and you just might be more opened to their feedback about your parenting.
- If the parenting style of someone you are dating needs fine tuning put things in perspective. Do you want to help this parent improve their parenting style or just put them down for a skill they lack? If you want to help them then approach with some sensitivity. For example, instead of saying, “what the heck is wrong with you, these kids are turning into complete pansies” you might want to say “I can see how much you love your kids but you are really over protecting them and not preparing them for many things to come”. I know some people will still take offense to this. If they don’t come around and show a willingness to grow and learn then perhaps this is not a good match for you.
- If your new love interest is getting to know your kids and some conflicts arise just relax! Kids need to work through conflicts and adjust to all personality styles. You may feel the need to jump in and rescue your child. But trust that you were attracted to this person you are dating for a reason and if you trust that your child is in their best interest then just step back! They may surprise you how well they can work through and grow from the experience without you always jumping in.
I commend anyone willing to date someone with kids. It is initially a challenge but can certainly add to any relationship. I speak from personal experience on this one and some days need to follow my own advice! Parents that feel guilty about the divorce and always jump to protect your kids…you are not helping them! Sometimes the hardest thing to do is step back and let your kids work things out!
And remember this…your children are sponges and learn so much about relationships from watching their parents. Find a healthy, happy relationship and don’t feel guilty about enjoying life. You kids deserve to see you happy!