Posted by: Anonymous | 2009/06/03

Terratorial battle with girlfirends children

Hi Doc,

My girlfriend (quite new) has a 12yo who is now kicking up a fuss when her mom and I show intimacy, such as holding hands or sitting together on the couch. She appears to be resenting the fact that her mother is getting attention from me and giving attention to me. she is now not the absolute centre of attention any more. My GF is a widow for 4 years now, and Im the first real contender in her life now.

Is this normal behaviour of her child, and what do I do to make her feel that Im not taking over, or taking her mom away from her.


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Our expert says:
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Maybe youre right about what she is resenting --- or maybe she's more resenting that her mom is giving attention to you and not to her. It probably is, at least in part, about not being the absolute centre of attention any more. This isn't at all unusual, though of course, inconvenient. You can continue to demonstrate that you aren't taking her mom away from her ; maybe, if she'll let you, give her some of your attention while mom is there ; and plan with mom for both of you to chat to her about this, about how it is good for her, for her mom to be more happy, how she won;t lose anything important she already gets from her mom, but may gainsomeone else who could be fond of her.
What do other moms and dads with similar experiences, think and suggest here ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Wendy | 2009/06/04

I' m actually in a similar situation to you. My son is 8 years old and I also have a new man (9 months) in my life. It was a bit of a mission at the beginning, but I just told my son that he is part of our lives and he also wants to spend time with you. I do it subtely though - once he' s finished homework, I start doing something (like dishes etc a few minutes before) then just say ask my bf to check it cos my hands are wet. Its helped because it gets them to spend time together. Play with the child in the evening (while the mother is there) or maybe once a weekend take her out by yourself without mom and go for a milkshake or something. Good luck and it will get better! Just hang it there. Remember that she' s had her mom to herself for so long that to her you are in her territory. You just need to do things slowly and make her come around.

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