How to Get Along with Your Partner's Children?

Getting along with your partner's children can be a challenge, but with patience, respect, and genuine interest, you can do it!
How to Get Along with Your Partner's Children?
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 18 May, 2023

When we enter into a relationship, not only do we commit to that person but, in a way, we also bond with their family. If your partner has children, you need to make an extra effort to establish a good connection with them, as they’re ultimately a priority for your partner. However, this isn’t always easy to achieve. That’s why we want to offer you some guidelines on how to get along with your partner’s children.

Blended families are an increasingly common reality, and, although they’re a challenge for all involved, they can also be a source of satisfaction and happiness. Although the situation can be difficult to manage at first, with a foundation of love and respect, the family can move forward. In that way, you can begin to build a life in which everyone has their place and feels comfortable and valued. How can you achieve this? We’ll show you in the following article.

Why do you need to get along with your partner’s children?

At first, knowing that the person with whom you’ve begun to establish a bond has children can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t gone through that experience. In this context, there are those who assume that keeping both worlds separated is possible and that there’s no need to relate to children. However, if you want the relationship to thrive in the long run, you’ll have to assume that those children will be part of your life as well.

The person who has children is a parent 24 hours a day. There are no vacations or breaks from that. Even if the children aren’t physically present, the mind and heart of that parent will always be with them. For the same reason, you can’t ask your partner to give up such a significant part of their life or to put it aside. It’s important that you show interest and respect for this family that already exists and of which you become a part.

If the relationship with these little ones doesn’t prosper, there will be many moments and situations that you won’t be able to share and, in addition, your partner will be placed in a position that’s difficult and unpleasant. For this reason, we encourage you to try to build a bond with your partner’s children. You may be surprised by how rewarding it can be.

A mother holding her partner's child.
If your relationship with your partner’s children isn’t smooth or is conflictive or cold, it can create obstacles to the growth of your bond. The best thing to do is to try to get closer to them, but in a genuine way and without forcing the situation.

Keys to getting along with your partner’s children

Here are some guidelines that can help you get along with your partner’s children. Try to identify which ones are already in practice and which ones you could start implementing from now on.

Try to understand the situation

It may not be easy for you to share your life with a person who has children, but it’s not easy for those children to accept you in their nucleus either. Remember that they may still be in the process of grieving for the family that has broken up as a result of the separation of their parents. They’re probably feeling confused, worried, and insecure. They may also fear losing their parents’ affection and may even perceive you as a threat. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t take their reactions personally and try to be understanding of their situation.

Respect them and take a genuine interest in them

Children are much more intelligent and sensitive than we think. Because of this, they’re fully capable of realizing when someone is genuinely approaching them and when they’re not. If you put on a mask when interacting with them and only do it to curry favor with your partner, you probably won’t get good results. So, engage with real interest and respect for these kids, get to know them, discover their personalities, and open yourself to the possibility of establishing real emotional closeness.

Give it time

Assume that everything has its process and that establishing a meaningful connection with another person takes time. You can’t expect your partner’s children to fully embrace and accept you from the start. Instead, try to invest time in forging a bond. Spend time with them, do activities they enjoy, and share any hobbies or interests you have in common. But above all, make sure these approaches are progressive and feel comfortable and natural for everyone.

A woman coloring with her partner's daughter.
Sharing common activities or hobbies with your partner’s children is a good way to get closer and begin to strengthen the bond.

Remember your place

Finally, it’s important to always keep your place and the place of others involved in mind. As the parent’s partner, your role isn’t to take the place of the other parent, but to take your own place. This means remembering that their parents are the ultimate authority and decision-makers for their children. Therefore, in the face of conflict, try to remain neutral. In particular, be respectful of their other parent and don’t speak ill of them in front of the children, as this will create a conflict of loyalties.

Despite the above, don’t minimize your role or allow them to disrespect you. Don’t be afraid to be firm, set limits, and communicate assertively with your partner if you feel you’re not being treated appropriately.

Getting along with your partner’s children is possible

If your relationship has just begun, you may think that building a relationship of cordiality and trust with your partner’s children is impossible. However, although in these first moments, the children may be reticent and it may be difficult for you to manage the situation, be perseverant. You’ll find that over time, it becomes easier and easier to establish a dynamic that works for you and satisfies you all.

However, if you feel that you’re struggling to cope with this situation or that you don’t have the resources to deal with it, keep in mind that there are professionals who can help you. Having a safe space to express yourself can be a great help during the process.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.