Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - LORRAINE SPECIAL -

I sep­a­rated from my wife two years ago be­cause of the ar­gu­ments – she threw things, drank ex­ces­sively and now has se­ri­ous health prob­lems be­cause of it. So­cial Ser­vices were in­volved and my son of 16 and daugh­ter of 12 now live with me. My son wasn’t too af­fected but it has had an im­pact on my daugh­ter, who is quite shy. A year ago I started dat­ing an­other wo­man whose seven-year-old daugh­ter has ac­cepted me. But my daugh­ter still ig­nores my girl­friend. When she comes round, my daugh­ter hardly speaks to her, hides in her room and never wants to go out with us. I have talked to her but I think she may be scared for some rea­son. My lovely girl­friend’s ap­proach to par­ent­ing is with rou­tines, whereas I am quite soft. When I go to see my girl­friend, I worry about my daugh­ter so I of­ten rush back home. Also my daugh­ter texts me when I am with my girl­friend, which an­noys her. All of this is putting a strain on our re­la­tion­ship. I want to make both of them feel spe­cial but I feel to­tally split. Chil­dren and teenagers of­ten find it very dif­fi­cult to ac­cept their par­ent’s new girl­friend or boyfriend. Your poor daugh­ter has been through so much with an al­co­holic and now se­ri­ously ill mother, wit­ness­ing vi­o­lence and a di­vorce, so she needs to be han­dled with the ut­most gentle­ness and love. Your girl­friend needs to recog­nise that she is deal­ing with a very fright­ened lit­tle girl whose mother was so dis­turbed that she couldn’t be trusted with your daugh­ter on her own. It con­cerns me that your girl­friend gets an­noyed when your daugh­ter texts you. She needs to put her­self in your daugh­ter’s shoes and see that she has ef­fec­tively lost a par­ent and right now re­ally needs her daddy and lots of un­der­stand­ing from your girl­friend. Un­less your son is around (and gets on with his sis­ter) or there is an­other adult at home, your daugh­ter is too young and vul­ner­a­ble to be left on her own for any length of time. I sug­gest that she sees a child psy­chol­o­gist for fur­ther help and sup­port.

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