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KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Relationship expert for almost three years with
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I have two children and I have been divorced for about a year.

Customer Question

I have two children and I have been divorced for about a year. I moved in with my boyfriend and he would like us to get married. We have lived together for about a month. When my 4 year old son tries to come in our room in the morning, he is harsh with him. If my children come to the door in the middle of the night he is harsh with them. He has told me that he feels my children are terribly behaved. I try to correct their behavior before he gets home so that they will not be harshly corrected by him. THis has caused me to be harsh with the kids too...sort of to protect them from my boyfriend. My boyfriend also has positive sides...he is very physically protective of the kids. Makes sure they are safe. Makes sure they hold hands when they cross the street. What should I do...?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  KimberlyF replied 8 years ago.


You should talk to him about it before you decide to marry him, don't marry him without resolving this issue or else the children will learn to resent you for not protecting them and they will feel like you chose him over them and that will only make them act out even more. Your boyfriend has to realize that he is being too harsh and that he can handle it another way. Your children may be acting out because all children want their parents together and don't want to see their mother with anyone but their father, depending on how long you have been together they may need some time to get used to the fact that you and their father won't get back together. If he is a good person other than being harsh with your children then I would suggest talking to him and asking him if he could be a little more patient with the children and explain to him how difficult it is for children when their parents divorce. Your children need you right now and although he may be harsh they made need that harshness to learn to respect your privacy and be well behaved it's easy when we divorce to be lenient with the children because you feel they have went through enough.


Being a single parent is hard enough without dating, but when you decide the time is right to start dating again you need to be prepared for spreading your time between your family life and your personal life. This may feel like an impossible task, but it can be a lot easier once your children are aware of your intentions of dating and getting married, but this doesn't mean telling them every detail. Your children have had your attention to themselves for some time and may not welcome the thought of having to share your time and affections with others. This is the time to offer them reassurance and give them time to adjust to the idea of you dating. You must let a bond form naturally between them, otherwise bitter feelings could form. It is vital that you understand how your children are feeling. It will be necessary to keep reassuring them that you aren't going anywhere and you will always be there for them, but don't let them stop you from being happy if this man makes you happy and doesn't harm your children physically then I don't see anything wrong with a little discipline. Communication is very important right now so talk to him and ask him to be more patient with the children and that it bothers you that he is so harsh with them at times.

KimberlyF and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
This is very helpful....The people who are advising me on this subject have a vested interest in my leaving this man (who I really adore) and so I don't feel I can get an unbiased ear to listen to me. He and I have had a lot of arguments about the children because he feels (as you said) that they need to learn boundaries and they have not had them with me because it was just the three of us for a long time. I have seen him (my boyfriend) modify his behavior toward them and I appreciate that. I haven't heard anyone say what he says (until I read your reply) that the kids may need to learn to share me somewhat. I think reassuring them is a good idea.

THank you very much!
Expert:  KimberlyF replied 8 years ago.


You're welcome and remember this is just as much an adjustment for your children as it is for you and your boyfriend and as long as he is not harming them physically and not verbally abusing them but is disciplining them it's okay they may actually respect him more for being that other father figure. Try asking your children how they feel about your boyfriend and then take it from there if they say they like him but he is too hard on them then talk to him but if they say they like him without saying he is mean then he may be doing the right thing as hard as it may be to accept. If they say he is too mean and they are afraid of him then talk to him and tell him to ease up a bit.