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How can I deal with my daughter's jealousy towards my boyfriend?

Monday, 19 March 2007
Answered by: Dr. Ashu R. Gandhi
Consultant Psychiatrist
Adult Mental Health Program, Eastern Health
Australia
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Q. I have been divorced for 6 years and I have two daughters aged 6 and 10 years old. Three months ago, a new man came into my life that makes me really happy. My 6-year-old likes him a lot but my 10-year-old has turned very jealous. She is impossible to live with. This man has even asked me to choose between him and her. The jealousy is so bad that she goes into an outrage when I say she has no right to ask me to choose. He is very patient and understanding and is trying really hard with her but she just won't give him a chance. If he stays over she goes to stay at my mother's place. She then begs me to get rid of him. She is very insecure but I keep telling her that I love her but its not enough. She says she doesn't want to share me. I feel so resentful towards her and prefer her to go to my mother's than make her stay here and listen to her screaming all night. I am so exhausted with this that I am beginning to ask myself, if the only solution is to end my relationship with him? I feel that I have found a wonderful man at last but the only thing stopping my happiness is my daughter. I love her so much I don't want to lose her. Her outbursts are unbearable. We make sure we include her in things but she just acts like a spoilt child. Please advise.

A.  This is definitely a dilemma. As you have already mentioned your daughter is insecure and is faced with the conflict of love and time for her getting shared, which is leading to such behavioural problems. Behavioural problems and insecurity at such tender age may lead to psychological problems and emotional instability in the future as an adult, which can be very traumatic. This should be dealt with utmost urgency. There are various options available, showing positive emotions rather than just speaking them out, catering to time and needs, explaining and having an earnest chat, visiting a child psychiatrist and psychologist at the earliest. Do not ignore the distress of the child but help her to cope with changes because it involves her life and not just one single adjustment.

A.  This is definitely a dilemma. As you have already mentioned your daughter is insecure and is faced with the conflict of love and time for her getting shared, which is leading to such behavioural problems. Behavioural problems and insecurity at such tender age may lead to psychological problems and emotional instability in the future as an adult, which can be very traumatic. This should be dealt with utmost urgency. There are various options available, showing positive emotions rather than just speaking them out, catering to time and needs, explaining and having an earnest chat, visiting a child psychiatrist and psychologist at the earliest. Do not ignore the distress of the child but help her to cope with changes because it involves her life and not just one single adjustment.

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