Introducing a New Partner to Your Kids
Dating in general is complicated. To find someone who you are genuinely connected with is tough but adding kids to the mix makes the situation a little more complex. It is common for single parents to start dating after divorcing their other parent of their children, but the process of starting a new relationship in this situation can have its moments of difficulty and stress. One of those moments is when you decide to introduce your new partner to your kids. Here are some points to consider as you introduce your new partner to your kids.
Talk to Your Kids
Introducing your children to your new partner can be made easier by timing the introduction right, allowing for trust to build up, and keeping an open conversation about feelings with your kids. By having these strategies, you are on the right path towards making a good introduction that will be the basis of a healthy friendship between your new partner and your kids well into the future.
Generally talking to your children regularly about how they are feeling is extremely beneficial. Divorce can be a traumatic experience for children. If you begin seeing a new partner and your child knows about it, they may have emotions about the situation and this new person, try keeping an open dialogue with your child.
Start slowly, your child may be a little apprehensive towards speaking about their feelings towards the new partner. They might want to talk to you right away, or they may become quiet and distant. It is important to make sure you do not make your children feel bad for having the feelings they do, no matter what they may be. Remind them of how much both you and their other parent love them and assure them that your new partner will not replace their other parent.
Trust Takes Time
When kids are introduced to a new partner of one of their parents, they may experience a multitude of emotions, and excitement is likely not going to be one. They may feel threatened that this new person is coming in to try and replace their other parent. While you may know this not to be true, it is not up to you to decide how your children get to feel about this situation. You must accept their feelings for what they are and help your kids to learn to trust your new partner.
As the parent, do not put pressure on your children to immediately like your new partner. While you may encourage your children not to be rude or disrespectful, it is not out of the ordinary to see one or more of your kids acting out during the first meetings with your new partner.
Make the Introduction at the Right Time
Remember that your children's needs are at the forefront of all decisions you make. This includes your decision as to when you introduce your new partner to your kids. Very young kids may have an easier to time meeting a new partner while older kids will probably be more hesitant about it. Even while you might think that this new person that you are seeing is so great and your kids will love them, when in all actuality the kids may not feel the same way.
If you and the other parent are still transitioning your kids into the new parenting schedule, you may want to wait until your kids become comfortable with their new routine. Introducing new things one step at a time will help them from feeling overwhelmed by all the changes. Making introductions too quickly have the potential effect the way your kids see your new partner for a long time moving forward, so waiting a little longer may be the key to a good relationship into the future.