What do you do when your children don’t like the guy you’re seeing? Do you tell them to suck it up and get over it or do you regretfully break up with the guy? It’s a sticky situation but a common one and I get asked about it all the time which is why I’m writing this.
As a mother we would do anything for our children and we put our children first. But a lot of mothers forget that the best way to put their children first is by putting themselves first. Your children learn by example and you as their mother are their most influential example. So if you’re putting yourself first, you are setting an example for them to learn to put themselves first from. It’s so important that we understand that words do not teach. You can’t teach your children the importance of love and happiness just by telling them. You have to show them. You have to show them that the most important thing in life is to be happy.
I remember when I was a teenager and couldn’t stand my stepfather. To me, I had a father already and although he wasn’t exactly in the picture, to me it was totally unfair that another man would come in and start telling me what to do like he was my father. I felt that he was trying to wipe away my father’s existence. I was already extremely hurt by my biological father’s sudden lack of involvement with my life and then my stepfather’s intrusion only poured salt in the wound. But my mother was so happy with him and although I put her through hell, she stood her ground and I learned a very valuable lesson from her. To this day my stepfather is one of the first people I go to with troubles and I admire my mother’s happiness. She taught me to put love and happiness first.
We worry so much about what others think and feel that we forget to stand up for ourselves and our children are sometimes our biggest challenge when it comes to standing up for ourselves. We don’t want to hurt their feelings and we want to give them whatever they want. But sacrificing bits and pieces of your happiness to keep from hurting their feelings and to give them what they want is only teaching them to let other people manipulate them. It’s telling them that how others feel is more important than how they feel when this is so NOT true!
How you feel always needs to come before how your children or any others feel. Why? Because it’s when you are at your best that you can give your best. When you nurture your happiness first you have more happiness to give and when you love yourself first, you have more love to give. Look around you! Happy people make others happy. Their happiness is inspirational and they glow with confidence because they know the value of putting their feelings first.
If you want to put your children first, you have to put yourself first. The most important relationship they will ever have is the one they have with themselves. The relationship they have with themselves will be reflected by their relationships with others. So if they don’t put much value on their happiness, they aren’t going to have happy relationships. But if they do value their happiness enough to always put their happiness before others, then they will value relationships that bring them so much happiness. And since your children learn how to treat themselves by watching how you treat yourself, it is so very important that you put your happiness first.
So, how do you handle a situation like this?
First, why is it that your child or children don’t like the guy? Sit down and talk to them about it. Ask them. But talk to them without judgement and anger. Let them know that you care about how they feel and that they are not wrong or right in how they feel. Talk to them with absolute love in your heart. Most often, children don’t like the “new guy” because they don’t understand and they feel his involvement is threatening to take you away from them in some way.
Let them talk it out with you and ask any questions they may want to ask and answer as honestly as you can. Kids are smart and they know when we are lying to keep from hurting their feelings and this will only feed doubt. And if they don’t want to talk, that’s okay. Just let them know that when they are ready, you’ll be there to listen. Again, it’s okay that they feel the way they do.
Let them know that you’re happy and that this guy is important to you. Let them know that no matter what, you will always be there for them and that you will always be their mother. I tell my kids all the time that no matter what happens, I will always be their mother and that no one can ever take mine or their father’s place.
Don’t try to push a relationship between your children and your guy. It may take time but having a good relationship between your guy and your kids will have to develop on its own without pressure. Don’t tell your kids they have to hang out with him or that they have to like him. You can’t make them like him and if you try, it’ll only make them resent him more. Do tell your children that they are expected to show him respect. They don’t have to like him but they do have to respect them.
Talk to your guy and let him know that how he feels is important to you. Ask him what he thinks should be done. Men are great problem solvers because they are better at leaving emotions out and thinking more long term and they love it when we ask for their help! I’m not saying let him run the show but make it a joint effort. Let him know that you want him to be involved and you want him to feel good about this.
You deserve to have a relationship with a man who inspires and loves you unconditionally. A man who is fun and brings happiness to your life so if this is what you’ve found, do not ever throw it away to make someone else happy. When you put your happiness first, you inspire others to do so as well. And this is one lesson your children will always benefit from.
Looking for advice on a specific dating and relationships question that you have? Ask Kristy – Dating and Relationship Advice for Single Moms…