Introducing a New Partner to Your Children
While dating alone is complex enough on its own, it can become even more so when children are in the picture. It is not uncommon 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.
Make An Honest Decision About When To Make The Introduction: The first rule of thumb when dating after divorce is to keep your children’s needs 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 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 him or her, your children might not see this person the same way you do right away. Introducing new things one step at a time will help your kids not to feel overwhelmed by all of the changes, so consider that as you make the decision about when you introduce your new partner to your kids. Making introductions too quickly can have an effect on the way your kids see your new partner for a long time moving forward, so waiting may be the key to a good relationship into the future.
Trust Takes Time: When kids are introduced to a new partner of one of their parents, they may experience many emotions, and excitement might not be one of them. They may feel threatened that this new person is coming in to try and replace their other parent. Talk to your new partner about being respectful of your children’s feelings upon their first few meetings. Your kids may set their guard up very high in the beginning, but slow, respectful actions taken by your new partner can help to bring those guards down over time. Know that building trust is a slow process, and if done well, your kids and your new partner may develop a better relationship over time.
Talk to Your Kids: As a parent, you should regularly talk to your kids about how they are feeling. A divorce is often a traumatic experience for children, and they will be experiencing many feelings. If you are seeing a new partner and your child knows about it, they may be feeling certain emotions about your situation and this new person. Start slowly, as your child may be feeling a little apprehensive about their own feelings. When you have time alone with each one of your kids, ask them how they are each feeling. They might not say much at first, but they may be encouraged to say more if you share how you are feeling as well. Don’t make your child 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 is not trying to replace their other parent.