How to handle being hated by kids
Published 8:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Dear Aunty Pam,
I’m wondering if you’ve ever been in my shoes when you were dating and, if so, have you got any advice for me?
I’ve been going out with the man of my dreams who is divorced with two kids. Greg and I are getting pretty serious and three weekends ago, he introduced me to his kids for the first time. One is 8 and the other is 11. We had decided to do something low-key and fun and took them bowling and then out for pizza afterward.
Well, the kids were just awful to me, Aunty Pam. They completely ignored me, barely looked at me and the youngest one wouldn’t even take part in the bowling and didn’t eat her pizza. I tried everything I could to be nice and agreeable and I was just crushed that they were so negative. Greg said to give it time and it would get better, but it hasn’t. I’ve met the kids twice since then and they still make it very clear that they hate me. This is really getting to me and I’ve asked Greg if he could maybe point out to them that they’re being rude but he doesn’t want to push them at all. In the meantime, I’m feeling stressed about it and the whole thing is driving a wedge between us.
Unless you have Fred Flintstone-sized feet I’ve never been in your shoes, but I have shared this experience. Lucky for me I wasn’t that wild about the guy I was dating, so after his youngest son threw a 16 oz glass at me when I asked what he’d like for dinner, I told his father that he was raising a serial killer, wished the son good luck in prison and got the heck out of their life.
But you’re in love with Greg and want nothing more than to create a ‘happy family.’ And it might just be that you’re trying a bit too hard. You know, Girlfriend, kids are pretty savvy and they know when they’re being buttered up: taken to a movie or bowling, etc. They know it’s all about getting them used to you and if they’re angry about the divorce and have pledged allegiance to their mom, you’ve got a long and bumpy road ahead.
Aunty Pam suggests you just chill out, and while it would be nice if Greg would ask his children to exercise common courtesy by at least not ignoring you, for now, just let them get used to the idea that you and Greg are an item, you’re not going anywhere, and when they come to visit, you’re going to be present as well. Having said that, perhaps it might also be a good idea if you’re not present every time they come to visit. Let them have the privacy with their dad to discuss you and hash out their feelings.
I’m not going to guarantee that things will work out because sometimes they don’t when kids are involved. Should you and Greg become more serious and marriage is in the picture, then family counseling is always a helpful idea. Until then, just go with the flow, relax, and maybe try bribing them with cash. That’s all kids want anyway.