The topic is sensitive and yet more common than it seems. The advice of Cécile Guéret, couples therapist, on this question.
Maintaining a good relationship with your new partner’s children is not that easy. Whether you’re already a parent (or not), finding your place and feeling comfortable can be difficult with his children. According to psychologists, there is no point in putting pressure on yourself, after all, you are not obliged to love it immediately children the other. It’s best to take the time to get to know each other. The advice of Cécile Guéret, couples therapist, in Tours.
#1 Think about what this feeling is hiding
“To reflect on what may hide this feeling, the help of a psychotherapist can be invaluable, since the affective problems can be multiple and intertwined, Analysis by Cecile Gueret. In fact, is it because of a lack of affinity with these children, is it because you don’t agree with their upbringing (you find them rude, etc.), is it because? You feel like you are pursuing them in your partner’s heart…or because you’re worried his kids won’t like you?”
Whatever the reason, it can’t be summed up with a blatant “I like, I don’t like it.” This could be experienced as rejection, judgment, accusation from your partner, hurting him/her and creating a conflict between you. And of course we don’t say that to children either! Let’s not forget that in the relationship between the children and you you are the adult. They are therefore better able than children to take a step back, to think about the situation, to think about solutions.
#2 A complex situation
Whatever the reason for your lack of affection for these children, remember that it’s probably more complex than it first appears. “In a newly assembled family, emotional bonds are optional, that is, they are not acquired, they must be created, woven, maintained, reinvented, emphasizes the psychologist. In addition, the stepparents’ place is a delicate place, since it is necessary to knit with the characters of the children of each …”.
In practice, complex organizational issues (which child goes in which room?), money issues, education, lifestyles, family space, etc. all intertwine. “It’s not easy to find the right place and balance that works for everyone.”
#3 Accept the lack of affinities
If you simply feel like you don’t have an immediate affinity for his children, the first thing you can say is quite simply that it is possible. We may have an obvious relationship with some children, while some relationships are sometimes more difficult to weave than others. However, since these are your partner’s children, it would be easier for everyone to still manage to bond. Is it just because you don’t have the same interests? In this case, have you tried to find common ground, e.g. B. if they are football fans while you hate sports you may find yourself in the joy of baking together, going to the cinema or playing board games etc.
#4 Unbearable differences?
This lack of affinity is too strong? “These differences in affinity can cause you to have a hard time processing your partner’s past or to feel left out or excluded from the strong relationship that binds your partner to their children. explains Cécile Gueret before analyzing: “Perhaps you initially had a very high ideal of a relationship with your stepchildren, that you envisioned yourself as close accomplices and that the reality was somewhat different?”
The psychologist then advises self-observation Wondering what role you envisioned? What mission have you given yourself? How do you position yourself towards the ex, the parent of the children? How does your partner feel about the relationship you have with their children? What do you think he expects from you, what he fears, what he hopes for? And the children, how do you think they experience the relationship with you? What are their fears, their difficulties, their expectations in this family reunion situation?
#5 Lie down with the other
Having clarified this on your side, you can talk about it more calmly with your partner. The key for you “Find solutions together, agreements, so that in these complicated issues of family composition, you can take care of your couple, find the right place, take care of both of you and the children”.
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