What happens when a man has met a woman who really makes him happy but his teenage kids hate her for no reason? If a man is not strong in his own Self he stands to lose it all in this situation... the respect of his kids and the loss of a love. Although men do not like being in the middle, it is an opportunity for them to set their way and establish who they are and what their role is with all involved.
5 Places of Understanding:
1. Displacement of Feelings: Unless the man can find a VALID reason for his teenagers disdain for the woman he is in love with, he should not allow them to control his right to have a woman in his life. In reality their attitude probably has more to do with the loss of their family and their mother's insecurity that he has moved on, than it really has to do with his new love interest. In this case the children are displacing their hurt onto the wrong person.
2. Align with your girlfriend. A man's children need to see that he is strong in his decisions. If he gives in he teaches them that getting upset in life is going to make things go their way. If children learn that all they have to do is get upset and threaten him and he will drop all his personal needs and desires to please or "keep" them he is teaching them to have poor character. If he loves his girlfriend and aligns with her, they will follow suit. If they feel his insecurity, their hate for her will increase and she is left scapegoated and unprotected.
3. Empathize with the Children: It is harder for men to move on after divorce then women because children tend to want their Dad to themselves, and while this is understandable, divorced men deserve to be happy in their own lives just as they support their children to be happy in theirs.
4. Empathize with your Girlfriend: Being the woman in this triangle is the hardest place to be. The woman needs to know that the man is unequivocally supportive of her and their relationship. The man and the children need to be willing to communicate all together to clear the air. The girlfriend is not responsible for how a man's children turn out, and nor is she responsible for their displaced feelings.
5. The Ex-Wife: When the hatred is unprovoked, the ex-wife is usually behind the manipulation making sure that her position in her children's life is assured. She will covertly and directly poison the kids and convince them that their Dad has a "new family" and that he has "changed" due to the new girlfriends influence. She teaches the kids to think this girlfriend is taking their Dad away and he loves them less now that he has her.
Remember, men, you are a role-model to these children. It is healthy for them to see real love, to see you happy. If jealousy is involved discuss their feelings and reassure them that they are of the upmost importance to you but you also have the right to be happy in life and that you expect them to want your happiness as you want theirs. Explain to them that they have to learn to live life accepting life on life's terms and that while change is not always easy, love unites and negativity and hatred divide. What a great life lesson preparing these children for adulthood.
Dr. Sherrie Campbell
Previous Articles by Dr. Sherrie Campbell include:
Sherrie Campbell, PhD is a veteran, licensed Psychologist with two decades of clinical training and experience providing counseling and psychotherapy services to residents of Yorba Linda, Irvine, Anaheim, Fullerton and Brea, California. In her private practice, she currently specializes in psychotherapy with adults and teenagers, including marriage and family therapy, grief counselling, childhood trauma, sexual issues, personality disorders, illness and more. She has helped individuals manage their highest high and survive their lowest low--from winning the lottery to the death of a child. Her interactive sessions are as unique and impactful as her new book, Loving Yourself : The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.
She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2003 and has regularly contributes to numerous publications, including Intent.com, Beliefnet.com, DrLaura.com and Hitched.com. She is also an inspirational speaker, avid writer and proud mother. She can be reached at Sherriecampbellphd.com.
Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person is available on Amazon.com and other fine booksellers.