Having a new partner

What can I expect from my children when I have a new partner?

New partners may make the separation harder for your children to cope with, so be patient. Children often feel they cannot accept your new partner without feeling disloyal to their other parent.

Here are some practical things to keep in mind that can help.

  • Make time for your child to be with you without your new partner.
  • Be sensitive to your children’s emotions and needs when introducing a new partner.
  • Listen to what your children say about your new partner without feeling you have to change their minds or agree with them.
  • Understand your child’s point of view.
  • Insist that your children are polite to your new partner but don’t expect them to see him or her as a parent.
  • Don’t ask your children to call your new partner ‘mum’ or ‘dad’.

What if my new partner has their own children?

Step-families can be very difficult for children to adjust to on top of your splitting up, so again be patient. Ask your children to tell you how they feel about the situation, listen to what they say and try to help.