Agony aunt Annie offer help to a divorced reader who is battling to discipline her children and keep her new man happy at the same time…
Dear Annie
I have been divorced for almost four years now. Iâ??m currently in a relationship (for almost eight months now) and he is amazing. He has never been married and he doesnâ??t have kids.
I have typical six- and 10-year-old boys who can be difficult to deal with. He on the other hand cannot manage with the fact that they are too busy or donâ??t listen. We have tried everything but we struggle to give them discipline that actually works on them.
How can I explain to him that that is how kids are, so that I donâ??t offend him in any way. Or how do we deal with the boys?
I donâ??t want to lose him and I want the best for the boys too.
Hope I get a response.
Regards
Melanie
Dear Melanie
Thank you for your letter.  I am sure that you and the boys were devastated when your marriage ended, but you have had three years to rebuild your lives and redefine yourselves as a family. 
Both you and your boys have adjusted to a single parent full-time family
I am not sure how involved their father is with them but now you have a new man in your life. This can be a very big adjustment for the boys. They have become accustomed to having you to themselves and now there is another man competing for your attention.
Children can deal with Momâ??s new boyfriend by behaving in a way that they hope will have him believing that they are Bart Simpson and Dennis the Menace all rolled into one. Mom might respond with horror at the negative light it puts her in and react by punishing the boys. This is likely to escalate their bad behaviour.
Your children may not be as happy that you are in a new relationship
You need to remember that when you enter a new relationship and you are delighted at meeting a wonderful man, your boys are more than likely not going to be on the same page as you. 
They may not like Dad potentially being replaced and they may wonder if you are going to be replacing them with the new man, as irrational as this might sound. Understanding that what makes you happy is not what will automatically make your children happy, is the first step in dealing with the situation.
Talk to the boys about your new relationship
Listen to how they feel. Reassure them that they will always remain your top priority. Help them to understand that it is ok for them to feel negative emotions such as resentment, anger, jealously, etc. but that they need to use their words to express how they feel and not resort to bad behaviour.
Making sure that you spend alone time with each of your boys will reassure them that they still have their own unthreatened position with you. 
If you are not married to Mr Amazing, you should be the parent who is responsible for discipline and not him. If your relationship becomes permanent and he would like to be involved in discipline, it is important that you work out your parent strategies together. 
You may need to both compromise on your parenting styles to reach a united front
Parenting children that partners created together can be a very complex matter! How much more challenging this becomes when both partners did not create the children together! Do not be scared to attend parenting courses together or to see a therapist.
It is good that you are taking the matter of conflict with your new partner and children seriously. Statistics show that the greatest cause for failure in second relationships is directly due to step children in the equation!
Continue to pro-actively parent with a well defined plan!
You are beautiful!
Love and blessings
Annie