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Ask Coach Jen K. Your Own Question

Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K., LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1776
Experience:  Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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I have a six year old son and have had a new boyfriend for

Resolved Question:

I have a six year old son and have had a new boyfriend for a few months. My boyfriend has a three year old son. I am distraught because my son is well behaved, however, in the company of my boyfriends' son he seems very selfish and one upping him. Also, my boyfriend has taken this behavior personally and now there is a rift between my son and him as well, but I know my son really likes him and looks up to him, and only wants my boyfriend to accept him. I am not sure how to approach my boyfriend or my son about any of it. Please help. Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 2 years ago.

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families. I am also a mom of Twins.

CoachJenK :

Your son has not had to share you or his toys so this is a new experience and he is dealing with the emotional change of all of it as well.

CoachJenK :

Your boyfriend needs to be the adult here and not take this very typical behavior personally or let your son know that he has causing a rift.

CoachJenK :

you son is struggling with some emotions and if your boyfriend pulls away from him he will most likely feel that pain and may even act out in order to get the attention he was used to having.

CoachJenK :

How often are you all together and for how long each period of time?

CoachJenK :

I feel as if a lot of pressure is being placed on your son and you are taking much of the responsibility here.

CoachJenK :

You may sit with your boyfriend and discuss all of the emotional issues for all involved and encourage him to have more empathy rather than creating a rift by taking things personally. the children are young and you are the adults.

CoachJenK :

I would talk with your son about how he is feeling spending time in this new way....rather than focus on the toys and sharing. he may just need to know he is not losing you and he may be feeling a bit unsafe.

CoachJenK :

in addition to what he may be feeling...this behavior between children isnt uncommon either...they dont share that well, the try and one-up each other but in the end they figure things out. Your Son is 6 and his is 3 so they are in different stages so they are trying to figure out how to connect.

CoachJenK :

Trying to force them to be best buddies right now isnt natural. Find some activities that they both share a common interest and plan some time limited things around this. If they like a small water park, take them there and let them have fun and go down the slides...this way they are out on equal turf and enjoying a fun activity. Keep the time together short and sweet.

CoachJenK :

give time, patience, understanding and reassurance and things will come together.

CoachJenK :

Please encourage your boyfriend to reconnect to your son as this wont be understood by your son as to why there is a rift.

CoachJenK :

hi. I have written a lot so please read and I am here.

Customer:

How do you suggest a reconnect, because I completely agree, and I think the rift would make my son feel rejected by a man he looks up to. His father is not currently in the picture but was a couple of years ago.

CoachJenK :

exactly! you are on target and i am a bit concerned that your boyfriend as the adult would behave that way in relation to a 6 year old boy having a normal reaction

CoachJenK :

Tell me how the rift is displayed to your son

Customer:

I am concerned if it is jealousy because my boyfriend lived in our home temporarily for a few months because of extenuating circumstances.

Customer:

I guess, you can just kind of see how my boyfriend seems easily annoyed with my son.

CoachJenK :

yes it can be that and that makes sense...he is worried he might lose you and also that he might leave too which he is by the rift....

CoachJenK :

yes and that needs to be looked at and worked on

CoachJenK :

do you think he can do that?

CoachJenK :

or he just sees this as your sons issue

CoachJenK :

how long are you together?

Customer:

I have discussed this to him and he has agreed upon showing him that love and acceptance, my son is on vacation now but we shall see when he returns. and yes, he feels as though it is my son's issue and not his or his three year olds at all. and he gets pretty defensive when i bring up his son's behavior

CoachJenK :

he needs to do better...plain and simple...he is the adult.

Customer:

we have been talking for about a year, but have only introduced him to my son a few months ago

CoachJenK :

you may just need to let the boys work it out a bit and make a rule that you not talk of the others behavior s it is all pretty normal kid stuff

Customer:

What do you suggest I do to get that message across to him, because I completely agree.

CoachJenK :

it is scary for a child..he has had loss already so lets cut him some slack...i know you do, but he can use some work in that area.

CoachJenK :

have some time alone..no kids...let him know how you love and care for him and you are both dealing with the difficulties that many blended families encounter, but you must have love and empathy for each others child

CoachJenK :

and not play the blame game

CoachJenK :

they are kids plain and simple

CoachJenK :

and kids fight, act up, dont share, one up, etc

CoachJenK :

and if he cant hear you I might suggest some couples counseling...something tells me he wont be up for it, but I need to suggest it.

CoachJenK :

you all have the same goal and that is for everyone to feel loved and live in harmony

CoachJenK :

so appeal to him on that level

Customer:

I also wonder if it has anything to do with him only getting his son every other weekend, and he has been around my son day in and day out for the past few months....but, I know I have come to the conclusion that if i don't see some effort put forth when my son returns I'm going to have to end this relationship because me and my son are a dual package. you have to accept and love both of us

CoachJenK :

I commend your clarity!!!!

CoachJenK :

whatever it has to do with, he needs to be the adult here...and his behavior is hurting your son and that has to stop. The two boys are doing what young kids do!

CoachJenK :

to scold him or get him to see that he needs to act like a big brother...too much pressure.

CoachJenK :

you and I are on the same page..now hopefully your boyfriend can get on it too. let it unfold and see if any effort takes place when they are back together.

Customer:

thank you for your thoughts. they were on point with what i had in mind

CoachJenK :

excellent. come and request me anytime.

CoachJenK :

Please take a moment to click on the ratings tab and I hope I have provided excellent support.

Coach Jen K., LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1776
Experience: Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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