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Dos and don'ts of a new partner

Your new partner is now boyfriend or girlfriend material. Now that this is out of the way, what should he decide about your children?

Everyone agrees, children must be happy in this new union. However, not everyone agrees on the place a new adult should take in your children’s lives. If their education was a touchy subject with their biological parent who had every right to his opinion, it will not get any easier with a newcomer. Here are a few examples and solutions to determine and understand the limits of the new person in your life.

Taking his place…

For mom and dad, finding a new partner is good news. Indeed, for several potential partners, the perspective of taking care of someone else’s child is a challenge and being able to care for this child as if it was his own demonstrates an open mind that we can only admire and applause. It is not always easy for a new partner to take his place in a new family where rules, routines and activities are already well established especially when they do not correspond exactly to what he would have done if he had been there from the beginning. It is important to make room for this new person in your life if you truly want him to feel welcome and part of your family.

… a little too much?

However, you cannot use this partner to “erase” the other parent. It is often difficult for a parent to see another adult in his ex-partner’s house take care of his children and make decisions on his behalf. As soon as your new partner will bring anything new and against the other parent’s will in matters related to education, health and religion, the will be on hostile grounds. Some decisions can only be made by biological parents. Of course stepmoms and stepdads can give their opinion but these decisions are not theirs to make.

A stepmom who brings a catholic child to a mosque, a stepdad who sends a child to extreme boxing courses and a partner who chooses prescription glasses for a child without asking his biological parents first is definitely taking risks. Unless expressly told otherwise, these themes do not belong to them and they will have to regain their place sooner or later if they want to belong in this modern family.

Talk

In this day and age, there are separations, divorces, stepfamilies, custodies and new partners and it is no longer appropriate to hide in a bush when comes the time to take care of a child. It is even appropriate to become a responsible adult because that is what raising a child is all about. It is all about being an adult who has something to say and who is someone to look up to.

The best way to start, if you are a stepparent is to meet the other parent to assess the place you hold in his heart. If you are clearly not welcome in his life, it might be best to wait and humbly accept the place that will be made for you over time. However, if you are lucky and if the other parent is glad to meet you, don’t hesitate to ask questions that will help you understand how he wants to raise his children. For some parents, education is the most important aspect in a child’s life. For others, it is sports. Try to understand where he stands and do not step on his toes. For everything related to the child’s physical, intellectual and moral development, it is safer to ask before making decisions. Because really, if you are not the whipped cream, the cherry on the cake and the little extra that will make everyone’s life better, you will become an evil stepmother or stepfather and nobody wants that.

By Anne Costisella

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