Kids see new man as threat to what’s left of their family unit | Robin Anderson | Columnists | Life | Winnipeg Sun

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers on July 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Kids see new man as threat to what’s left of their family unit

Dear Robin

I have been divorced for a couple of years now. Six months ago, I met a very nice man who I have been seeing. The problem is that my kids (nine and 12) refuse to accept him. They haven’t had a problem with other men I dated, but really seem to dislike Bob. He is very nice to them and has kids of his own who he brings with him. They get along well, but no matter what Bob does, he can’t seem to win my kids over. Why are they acting like this, and what can I do about it?

Kid Fears

Dear Kid Fears

Divorce is hard on everyone involved, but especially on children. Having been a child of divorce at a very young age, and becoming a stepmom myself, I may not be an expert, but I do know a thing or two about this.

For starters, tell Bob to stop trying to woo your children. He isn’t going to get anywhere putting on the game face and trying to get in their good graces. Tell him to be himself, and your children will come to accept him when they are ready. They are likely upset because they see things getting more serious with you two, and probably view him as a direct threat to what is left of their family unit.

Someone else coming into the picture all nice and then trying to take on a parental role is usually met with disdain at best. Your children are at an age where they are old enough to understand what is going on, but not fully, and will have problems dealing with it. Talk to your children about how they are feeling, and find out the reasons behind the dislike.

You know your children and will be able to tell if there is anything credible behind the feelings, or if they are just upset over the relationship. Tell them — like everyone else says — that he is not there to take the place of their father. If you are open and honest with them, they will trust you and come to you. If you ignore or downplay the issue and things get really serious with Bob, be prepared for war of the worlds when the truth comes out. Involve your children (and his) in discussions and some decisions. This will help them feel that they are an important part of both of your lives. It is a great thing that all the children get along, but this could also change when things get more serious, so prepare yourselves just in case. Good luck. I know it isn’t easy.

Dear Robin:

Like the recent column about the daughter finishing college, my son also recently finished school, also lives at home for free and his step-dad and I paid for his education. He recently started talking about getting a car, but here’s the catch: he expects us to buy it for him and pay for the insurance until he “gets on his feet.” He says that all his buddies have had cars since they were 16, but we told him when he was younger that he had a choice of a car at 16 or we pay for his schooling and he picked the schooling. How do we deal with this? Should we get him a car? He does need a way to get to work, after all.

Stranded at the wheel

Dear Stranded at the wheel:

I can understand that your son needs to get on his feet and get used to the working world. I get that. How did he get to school though? If he was using public transit, chances are he can do that for work for the first little while.

I normally wouldn’t have a problem helping him find a car, or even helping him out with it to get him going. It is the part where you said he “expects it” that got me going. He made the choice to let you pay for school, probably thinking you would forget about the agreement. If he really needs a car to get around, you could definitely help him find something affordable and work out a payment plan. Hearing his attitude, I don’t think you would be benefiting him if you just handed him a set of keys. I know there are parents out there who will vehemently disagree with me, but to each their own.

Robin Anderson is the winner of Sun Media’s national advice competition.

Send questions to and read her online at

Kids see new man as threat to what’s left of their family unit | Robin Anderson | Columnists | Life | Winnipeg Sun.


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