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Relationship problems: 'I can't live with his kids'

(10 ratings)
Pre-teen letting go
My current partner has kids from a previous relationship and they live with us for a couple of days a week. The problem is, I think they're really spoilt and rude. How do I live with them, without hurting my partner? Sophie, London

Dr Pam says

Oh dear, there's nothing worse than other people's rude and spoilt kids! But as these are the children of the man you love, it's crucial you sort this out. If you don't, you could risk things going from bad to worse and your relationship falling apart. Here are my top tips to making this work:

1. Have a heart-to-heart

Choose a calm moment and make sure none of his children are in earshot. The key is to begin talking about something positive to do with his children. You might find them rude but he will adore them! Once you've sung their praises, ask him how you two together can bring out more of their good behaviour.

2. Make your point

Now highlight how hurt you are when they're rude, but say it in clear and not over-emotional language. If you sound hysterical about his children he'll tune you right out. Be prepared with a specific example of their behaviour, because that's what he will ask for.

3. Get his opinion

Ask how he sees your role in disciplining them. If you two can agree the ground rules for when he's not around, it'll be much easier for you to set your boundaries with them.

4. Give praise

When you're around the children always make a big deal when they've done something nice or been considerate. All children love praise - even those who may feel resentful towards a step-parent.

5. Don't be too matey

Never try to be their friend, and never undermine their mother. But if they behave badly point it out to them in clear, firm tones. They'll respect you more for it!

6. Be patient

As with any developing relationship, 'love' doesn't happen overnight. Be patient and hopefully you'll all get along eventually. Parentline Plus can offer more support.

What do you think Linda should do? Have your say in our comments section below

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