Hi, I'm new here and I would like to share an issue that I have been facing recently. Hope that those who have encountered such issues can advise. This might be lengthy so bear with me. Thanks.
A bit about myself. I m divorced for 5 yrs now with a 6 yr old girl. My ex husband was abusive and irresponsible so I left with my girl 5 yrs ago, back to my parents place. I have custody of my child as my ex did not want to pay maintenance, and after much struggle, we are getting some on and off (that's another long story). So in short, he is not involved in my girl's life.
I've been seeing a wonderful man for 4 yrs now. He may be the same age as my ex husband but he is a lot more responsible and caring. Initially I was only keeping the rs between us, but things got more and more serious, that's when I introduced my girl to him and tried to have outings together. He knows about my past and also my girl's existence, so it was no secret from the start. We both knew what we were getting into. So 1 thing led to another, we decided to apply for a place and all. Before this, we are saying maybe 1 - 2 yrs ago, I tried to increase the no. of outings we have together. It was awkward at first and to my girl it was sometimes fun and sometimes not so fun. However, it was just 1 off, so I did not take it too heart. So recent year when we decided that things need to be a bit more serious. We wanted to keep things more regular to prepare us for the future, when we lived together. This is when issues start to arise. At first my girl will cry and make a lot of fuss that I dont't spend time with her due to the late nights, where I spent either working or having my own activities. Then on the weekends when we do spend time together, she would have moments when both my bf and her would play and enjoy each others' company. She would keep talking to him about the new things she know or shows she's watching etc... general conversation. Then it comes when there are times where she goes a bit overboard with her playing or she does something wrong, like throwing tantrums, being rude to me or impolite when talking to others. He will talk to her if its a minor issue or sometimes scold her if it is a serious matter. That's where it caused her to dislike him instantly. My girl has told my parents and my sister that she does not like my bf cause he scolds her, but never once mentioned about the fun things they did together. Lately she has also been nit-picking on minor issues like she used to love to play with his dog, and bringing the dog out for walks together. She said she doesn't like the dog when it ran down the stairs once and she was holding on the leash, so she was pulled along and almost fell. Another time she said she doesn't like my bf because he scolds her. I asked her on which matter, and she brought up an incident where she left cat food all around the house, causing my bf to clean up after her. He just spoke to her nice to not do that again and why not to do that. In fron of me she acknowledge but after that, when I told her, Uncle only talked to you nicely right? She nodded but said she still doesn't like it. I've spoken to her on several occasions and asked her to express what she doesn't like about him and all. And ask her to think about times when they actually had fun together, and if she didn't had any fun at all, why would she still go to him to ask him to do fun stuff with her. And then come back feeling unhappy and telling my family he wasn't nice to her. I've also explained to her that in the future, we will all be staying together, and yes my bf will be her guardian/parent like me. I love her very much and Uncle isn't taking me away from her, its the opposite, she will be gaining an Uncle that will care and take care of her, and love her. She would silently nod and acknowledge that she likes those times they spent together but a little bit. We've even gone on holidays together and survived them. So she only shows her dislikes of him, not in front of me.
I've spoken to my bf as well in regards to this and he has been as accommodating and patient with her as much as he can. But he is not a parent. There are times where his discipline methods aren't perfect. But I will explain and tell him to tone it down. Now that he knows how much she doesn't like him, he will talk to her nicely and explain to her that its not that he wants to scold her, but if she was naughty or disobedient, he will have to tell her to not do it. He has a lot of patience with her. Unless its really major or serious, he will not raise his voice. He will bend down and talk to her. But she will be fearful of him when he does that. Since my girl told me she is uncomfortable that we showed affection to each other in front of her, we've since stopped as well.
I really dont't know how to help them bond anymore. Its a really hard job now as my girl is getting older, she is aware of things around her, and she is very smart to answer and voice out her dislikes. Apart from talking to her, and trying to use various ways of outings to test out how they can try to get along, it is still not working very well. We have even resulted to giving in to her from time to time, like loosen up on the discipline so that the outings would start off pleasant. But it will always end up being exhausted from all these unhappiness.
Anyone with similar experience or any advise as to how I can try to improve their rs? So that it can also help our rs together as a new family.