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dating with kids


sluckey July 11, 2011

I moved in with my partner almost 3 years ago. He has two kids and I have four. It was a lot of adjusting for all. We both had just gone through divorces. We very quickly realised how different our parenting styles were. I had my kids on routines and gave them chores. His kids would be given money when they needed it and my kids had to earn theirs. His kids are older and would order my kids around. I started talking to my partner about meeting in the middle and making sure my kids were being treated with respect. The changes were slow and hard. When my partner started to be more firm and we drew up a chore chart and things of this nature, his kids moved out and now live with their mother. My partner is heartbroken and I feel like it is my fault. We have been talking about getting married and I feel things need to be healed first but I don't know how. They don't talk to me and say they will never move back in until I am gone. His son is 18 and in his senior year, his daughter is almost 16. What do I do? A part of me feels like his kids are just acting spoiled because they have been and that is not their fault. Another part of me feels like I have created this and I need to fix it, but don't know how.

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TeacherParent July 19, 2011

This is a very difficult situation. Even if your parenting styles had been the same, blending two families together is a challenge. Even within the same family, it's not uncommon for older brothers and sisters to treat their younger brothers and sisters with disrespect. Older siblings can be mean to younger siblings even when they're born to the same parents and have always lived in the same house.

This might be a very good thing to talk about with a family counselor - which I'm not. If it were me, I'd start by sharing with my partner how bad I felt about this and express the willingness to do anything you possibly could to repair it.

But it may just be that his older children want to be the only children in the house. I'm not sure though that it's spoiled to want to be only children in the house or that it's spoiled that they don't really want to share their father. It is spoiled to resist doing chores but unless your partner told them that he'd come to believe that chores were a good idea, they're going to think it's all your idea.

Did they ever develop any fondness for your children? It's not uncommon for older children to just find younger children annoying.

I sincerely hope this all works out in a way that makes everybody happy.

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