When you're a parent and start a new relationship, it can be very difficult when your partner is jealous of your child. They may resent the fact that someone else has a claim on your time and affection. But is it ever understandable, or does it indicate that the relationship is doomed? Here are some tips for when your partner is jealous of your child …
1. Your Child Comes First
When your partner is jealous of your child, one thing is clear: your child should always come first. Anyone who can't accept that shouldn't be in your life. Your children are your responsibility and will be until they grow up. Even then, anyone who doesn't understand how important your children are in your life doesn't deserve your time.
2. Time to Adapt
Your partner may need some time to adapt; perhaps they have not been in a relationship with someone who has children, or doesn't have children of their own. They're coming into an existing family unit and have to fit in to that family. They may be very conscious that they're not yet part of the family, and as such feel an outsider.
3. Time Together
Perhaps your partner needs to spend more time with your children. Including your partner in some of the family outings should help them to feel part of the family and also allow them to get to know your children better. If they have any interests in common with your children, such as sporting activities, encourage them to enjoy those interests together.
4. More Children?
If your partner is showing signs of being jealous of your children, it's not the time to think about having more children together. Bringing more children into the family risks creating even more of a divide, as your partner will most likely treat their own biological child very differently - and this is not fair on your older children.
5. Parental Role
Any step-parent will have heard the cry of 'You're not my father!', which may create more resentment in a jealous partner. But they should not take the parental role, especially if they have not been in your lives for long. They do not have the right to discipline your children simply because they are an adult. They're entitled to respect, but discipline should be your responsibility alone.
6. Don't Cave in
When you're been a single parent, meeting a new partner can lead you to try anything to keep them. It's tough raising kids alone. But beware of compromising just to keep the relationship; your children should always come first. Don't give in to signs of jealousy just to keep the peace.
7. Do You Have a Future?
Finally, if your partner can't get over their jealousy, consider if you have a future together. Your children's needs should always be a priority. Of course you want love and companionship, and you're entitled to it - but a jealous partner is not the best person for you or your children.
It's definitely possible for a jealous partner to get over their feelings and become a loved step-parent. It's a difficult adjustment for everyone. But someone who thinks that they are more important than your children is not worth having in your life. Have you had to deal with a jealous step-parent?