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Being with someone who already has kids can be complicated. His children have a mother (or mothers), and they will immediately see you as a rival for their father’s attention.
When you and your partner have started making long-term plans for the future, the children are an inevitable part of those plans. They are going to be in your life forever. It is important that you bond with your partner’s kids before the wedding. After the wedding, the dynamics are too fragile.
This is what you should do:
1. Insist on meeting them
Your partner may not want to introduce you to his children until he is sure of your place in his life, but by that time, it may already be too late. Children are smarter than we give them credit for and they know when daddy has a girlfriend. Your continued absence will only plant doubts in their minds.
2. Be cordial with their mother
Even if you are at odds with her, don’t bring that dynamic into your relationship with her children. They are more likely to warm up to you if they know that you’re friends with mummy.
3. Be genuinely interested in them
Their hobbies, their favourite things, their quarrels, their dislikes…knowing these things is a way to show them that you actually care about their well-being. Make time to . with them.
4. Don’t talk down at them
You might be tempted to use “baby speak” because they are children, but even children think it’s dumb. You have to relate to them like they are miniature adults, and be truthful when they have questions or seek your opinion.
5. Be diplomatic about discipline
You’re walking a thin line, because you are not their parent and they might want to test their boundaries with you. When you correct them, be firm but don’t pander to them. You have to correct them without crossing the line into the parental territory.
And never raise your hands at them. Ever. Give your relationship with them time to grow, be yourself and don’t try to force it. They will come to love you eventually.
With his kids on your team, you still have to win his parents over. Let’s tell you what to do when you meet his parents for the first time.
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