Dating when you (or your new love) have children from a prior relationship is much different from dating when you are the only person to consider. When kids enter the mix, a new relationship aspect is added, creating new challenges and rewards. One of the biggest worries when dating as a single mom or dad is how and when to make the children a part of the courtship.
6 Tips for Introducing Your Kids to Your New Love Interest
- Be sure the relationship is going somewhere before you bring the kids into the picture. That means dating your new sweetie for at least three months prior to introducing him or her to your children. There is no reason for your kids to meet every person you date – it can be confusing for them, as well as upsetting if they start to form attachments only to have the person drop out of the picture after a short time.
- When dating someone with children, casual is the word when it comes to the first few meetings between the children and the new partner. Introduce him or her as a friend at first. Don’t have expectations and don’t push the kids to like this new person right from the start. It takes time to adjust to someone new and you’ll only hinder the process if you (or your sweetheart) force the children into something they aren’t ready for.
- Continuing the line of thinking that the first few meetings should be casual, plan these introductory outings to be something the kids want to do. Remember that it is a “kids date” when your children go out with you and your new love interest, not an adult date! Take them to play putt-putt golf, go to a movie, or plan a group function where your sweetheart interacts with the children in an informal way from within the group. A no-pressure setting could be a pool party or bowling party, for example.
- Dial back the affection you show in front of the children for first few times they see him or her. In the beginning, there should be no hand-holding or kissing in front of them. Take things slowly so the kids aren’t threatened and have time to adjust to this new person in their lives.
- Check with the children to see how they are feeling about this new person after they’ve had a few casual meetings with him or her (and these meetings should be spaced at least a couple of weeks apart so you aren’t rushing the kids). That way, you can address issues before they get out of hand and you can slow down (or speed) up the inclusion of your new love in outings with them.
- Be sure the kids know they only have one mother and one father – in other words, they should see your new sweetheart as a friend or someone they can turn to for advice, but not as a replacement for their other parent. Along that same line, talk to your new partner and let them know that they should not jump right in and try to parent your kids (that is something to address when the relationship seems like it is becoming a permanent one).
The big takeaway from all of this is to go slowly. First, be certain he or she is even ready to meet your kids before you introduce each other. Next, give the children and your new love time to form bonds without pressure. Both of you should take your cues from the children – be patient and let them warm up to your sweetheart instead of forcing interactions and pushing them all together. You may be so delighted with this new person that you want everyone to be one big happy family, but time, patience, and respect for everyone involved will help ensure success!
Have Questions? Need Help?
Children from a prior relationship will change the dynamics of a new dating connection. Don’t panic! We offer life coaching services designed to help you navigate through the dating questions in every stage of a new relationship. For more information, call Nancy and Barbara at Elegant Introductions in South Florida at 305-615-1900 or contact us today.