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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Plays Favorites Among Children in Blended Family

DEAR ABBY: My significant other and I have five children between us. He has a son and daughter from a previous marriage, I have a daughter from a previous relationship, and we have two daughters together.

I love all our children equally, but my significant other complains nonstop about my daughter from the previous relationship. He nags about every little thing she does, which he never does with his own children. I have talked to him many times about the favoritism he shows toward his kids over my daughter. I understand she's not perfect, but how can I get him to treat all of the children equally? -- EQUALLY CONFUSED IN TEXAS

DEAR EQUALLY CONFUSED: Children aren't stupid. In fact, they are very perceptive. I'm sure your daughter recognizes that the man her mother lives with doesn't like her and treats her differently.

If you can't get through to him that what he's doing is unfair and damaging to your child, and that he needs to tone it down, then explain to her the reason why it's happening. And if necessary, enlist the help of a licensed family therapist to change the dynamic.

Read more in: Family & Parenting