Should children have a say in who their parents date?

broken family 2

Relationships are really complicated, and even more for those with children, who tend to react negatively towards their parents’ new partners. I was watching this show about a guy whose wife died about three months later he found new love. However, his nine year old daughter, having heard a lot of negative experiences about step mothers from her friend, whose parents had already split up, hated his dad’s new girlfriend before she even met her.

Her friend’s experiences, plus incitement from her aunt-her mom’s cousin, who killed her hoping to get her husband-ruined the relationship between the young girl and her dad’s girlfriend long before it started.

I know I’ve also heard my fair share of stories-real and fictional-about wicked step mothers, but the man’s girlfriend was a very nice woman. She lost both of her parents when she was young and because of that she tried to be a kind, loving friend to the young girl, so it wouldn’t seem like she was trying to take her mother’s place.

After close to one year of dating the man told his daughter he was going to marry his girlfriend and that announcement worked the girl up into a frenzy. She tried everything; from faking a kidnapping, which was orchestrated by her malicious aunt, just so her dad would break up with his fiancée citing negligence, to ruining her wedding dress on the eve of her wedding.

In my opinion, I felt the girl had no right to meddle in her dad’s love life, but at the same time I felt the man had fallen in love too soon; he hadn’t given his daughter enough time to grieve her mom’s death. He started dating three months after his wife’s death and that didn’t feel like enough time for the girl to be receptive to a woman, who would be practically taking her mom’s place.

As I watched the once sweet girl pulling all sorts of evil pranks to stop the wedding, I found myself wondering: Do children have a right to say who their parents date? And should parents consider their children’s feeling before/when jumping back into the dating arena?

Some months ago, before mom quit her job, she told my sisters and I how their company’s managing director had his daughter shame him at work. The MD’s daughter, a law student at Harvard, had showed up at mom’s workplace, carrying bundles of papers, which she said were concrete evidence of her father’s shoddy deals.

She further said she would sue her father for embezzling company funds, forging his sister’s-her aunt’s-signature so he and another of their brother could steal money from the company, which belongs to the MD’s sister.

In addition to that, she went on to say how her father-the MD- had been having an affair with a girl her age. When mom told us this, she was saying it, in the opinion that the daughter was wrong for shaming her father like that, and in such a place where he’s held in high esteem.

I looked at the picture from two perspectives: one, the daughter was wrong for airing their dirty laundry in public. On the other hand, she could have done that out of anger, and frustration. I’m thinking that maybe she thought she would hit his dad where it hurt most.

Speaking from my own experiences, I’ve seen dad do some despicable things that left me in utter rage. I’ve contemplated doing unimaginable things just so I could get back at him. So from a daughter’s perspective, I do understand her.

To be fair, I’m also trying to understand her dad’s dilemma. What I can’t bring myself to understand is the fact that aside from embezzling funds, her dad had been cheating on her mom with a girl her age. I tried imagining what I would feel if I found out dad was cheating on mom with a girl my age and in a way I felt her anger was justified.

I shouldn’t judge; that much I know. I’m only trying to comprehend what could drive a daughter to such extents.

In a way I feel she sought of went overboard; no daughter should do that to her father. Sometimes family matters are best left within the confinements of a home. Then again, when I try to walk a mile in her shoes I realize chances are I would have done something worse.

It wouldn’t only be about dad cheating on mom; it would mostly be about the other woman’s age. Someone might say I’m being biased against the man… but here’s the thing; if dad did the same thing to mom, I wouldn’t be able to look at him the same way again. Plenty of the respect I have for him would be lost.

At the moment, I’m neither married nor with kids. So I can’t really speak for parents. From a daughter’s perspective though, I know I wouldn’t be okay with any of my parents cheating on the other. If they were divorced-God forbid-that would be a whole different thing but if it’s about doing it behind the other’s back and pretending to be happily married, then that would be unfair, even to my sisters and me.

Relationships are not the easiest thing in the world, and I’m not sure what feasible solutions can be applied to make all parties involved comfortable. All I know is that one should consider how their new relationship affects their children and partner, if they are already committed to someone else. It’s complicated, but with a little empathy and lots of dialogue we can find some middle ground.

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7 thoughts on “Should children have a say in who their parents date?

  1. threekidsandi

    I think, if someone is abusing a position of power or trust, that person should absolutely be exposed publicly. How else would a community know? It is our right to know who is abusing power, whether it be financial or an issue of trust. This is why criminal records are public.

    Reply
  2. Patty B

    I think parents have the right to date who they want BUT when they marry and if there are children still at home, they have the obligation to discuss it with them, hear their concerns and then work it out. I think that aunt/cousin need to be confronted on what they are doing, that is so wrong and if it were my child I would keep her from seeing them and sever all ties. Harsh, yes, but sometimes you need be tough from people who want to do you harm.

    Reply
    1. alygeorges Post author

      I do agree with you. It’s better to sever ties with those who influence children negatively, and if the parents decide to remarry they should discuss it with their children to iron out any differences. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter. 🙂

      Reply
  3. jamesbromley2014

    Really interesting subject. I have too be honest, as a parent I think your life changes as soon as your child(ren) is/are born, and so it should. They become the most important thing in your life and EVERYTHING you do has an affect on them. The friends you have, the way you talk and the way you act. They are sponges that take in everything that’s around them.
    With this in mind I think they HAVE to have a say in who a parent dates. I’m not saying they should choose who you see, but they should definitely have an input into who becomes part of the family. I’m lucky enough to be in a ‘normal’ family unit but if it happened, I would absolutely discuss my choice of partner with them and they will always come first. Parents need to remember, as soon as their child is born, they become the centre of everything 🙂

    I love your blog by the way – keep up the good work 🙂

    James
    http://jamesbromleyblog.com

    Reply
    1. alygeorges Post author

      Thank you James for the positive feedback-compliments and all. I greatly appreciate it. 🙂 I agree with you; discussing one’s choice of partner with the children is important because the said person becomes a part of the family and that helps avoid any problems/misunderstandings that could arise in future if the parent (s) and children don’t reach an understanding when it’s still early.

      Reply

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