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Single Parents Guide to Dating With Teens

Updated on April 8, 2009

Single parents don't have it easy. It can be difficult to face raising a child or a teenager alone. Dating can also be a nightmare. Teenagers often want to protect their single parent (particularly their moms) from the pain that dating could bring. In addition, there is jealousy, frustration, and other emotions that can sneak up on a teenager as their mom or dad goes out on dates or begins dating a regular person. With all of these things stacked up against a single parent, how should they move forward with their lives while still maintaining peace and happiness in the home?

My Story

If you read my bio, you can probably figure out that I am not even a mother of teenagers yet let alone a single mother of teenagers. So, where does my advice come from? I was raised by a single mom and remember clearly my teenage years and the emotions that I felt when my mom dated. I was hurt, which lead to anger and even lashing out. You can prevent a lot of these negative emotions by talking with your children, making sure you don't lie to them, and making sure you still have time to spend with them and do family things.

Tips for Dealing With Your Teenager

Every teenager is different, but with a few steps, a few tips, and some careful handling you can have a happy teen and still date.

  • Talk to them. While we don't always want to tell our children everything, sometimes it is easiest. Talk to your teenager. Tell them why you want to date, let them know that you know there is an emotional risk in dating, and let them know that they are still important (we all need to hear it even when we are almost grown up).
  • Listen to them. Ask questions. Find out what they are feeling and why they are feeling it. This will help you make steps to help them through with the process.
  • Don't lie to them. At a very early age we get a distaste for being lied to. Your teenager isn't going to like it anymore then you do when they lie to you. Make sure that you tell them the truth. Go on dates openly and with honest intentions.
  • Spend time with them. Make sure you still have some time for them. This is especially important if your teenager is younger or if you normally spend a lot of time with them. This is important and you should continue doing things that you guys have enjoyed as a family.
  • Take your time. You are an adult and can move forward in a relationship as fast as you want. However, taking your time probably won't hurt you any (and may protect you from hurt), plus it will make it easier for your teenager. While your teenager will be out of the house in the next few years, it could feel like forever if he or she is angry or hateful. So, it is worth it to take your time in a relationship.

If your teenager wants to meet the person you are dating and you have been out on more then just a few dates, maybe now is a good time to introduce the two. The timing works best when everyone is happy about it.

Introducing Your Teenagers

You can and should date without introducing your kids or teenagers to your dates. This gives you time to evaluate them without the children trying to help you with the process. This makes it easier for them to not hate him or her right off the bat or love him right off the bat. Either way can make it hard for you. So, waiting is a good idea.

You should still be honest, but you can meet your dates outside of the home for the sake of peace and for a better time. This also gives the other person time to get used to the idea of your kids before they are aggressive or such to him or her.

Deciding to introduce your teenagers to your date should happen after there is a commitment between the two of you. Something that goes deeper then the casual relationship. When this happens it is time for you to bring your date home to meet your kids. Start out with something fun and easy going. Don't put pressure on anyone involved. You could do a fun dinner out, a movie, or something else that your teenager might enjoy. This can loosen up the tone and make it more friendly. Then take your time.

But I Am An Adult

It is true that your have reached adulthood (at least a few years ago) and this makes it so you aren't accountable to anyone. You can date without your children's knowledge, understanding, or blessings. After all, you are an adult. However, it will go much easier for you if you follow a few simple steps. But, you aren't really giving up your adulthood and the rights that come with it by talking to your teenager, avoiding lying to him or her, and making sure you are spending time with them. While it may seem easier to just do what you want, sharing that part of your life will make it easier for everyone in the long run.

Being a single parent comes with a lot of challenges. It isn't easy. All parenting tends to have its mistakes and single parents will make their share just like those who are married. Dating doesn't have to be one of those mistakes. A few simple steps and rules and you can have happy children and a relationship as well.


Submit a Comment

  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    @K I am sorry to hear of your situation. Unfortunately I don't really have any good advice. The situation is one that need correcting long before you came around. For young adults to be that abusive they were allowed to from a much younger age and really needed it dealt with now. At the same time, for a mom to put up with it likely means that she has lived a long time of being emotionally abused.

    You have two major choices here. You want the abuse to stop and that makes sense, but you don't really have the power to do that and it is only putting a wedge between you and your partner. If you want to stay in the relationship your best bet is to try to support her through the abuse rather than try and get it to stop. It won't be easy, but she probably really needs your love and support.

    The other option is to let the son abuse and bully you out of her life. Chances are that the fights between you and her will only continue if you try and change the situation and that will eventually force you out either by your choice or her choice.

    Take a deep breath, think about what you really want for the future, and know that he will grow up completely and leave the nest. Sure he may still be nasty, but it won't be the same.

  • profile image

    7 years ago

    3 yrs ago i met a lovely woman, fell in love and moved 200 miles to devon to be with her. She has a son who is 21 and a daughetr who is 16. Her kids have always treated her badly, always swearing at her. Bringing her down etc. Some of that has stooped, as i stick up for her and will not tolerate abuse.

    Since her son left for uni last yr, he hasn't changed, i have tried to explain to her but he is abusive over the phone, and with texts, and then when he has a holiday, he is nice and she lets him stay. He came back this week for easter hols and has started to play up with me, being hostile and creating a bad atmosphere, to the point that my partner and me have argued already in what was a harmonious relationship. I have told her time in time out that he will be abusive and i have been right all the time, he just uses his mum for a roof and that's that. Ia m so torn, as i am so deeply in love with my partner, she completes me, yet now i am losing her, don't know what to do?

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Hi. I need some advice. My boyfriend of six months has stated he feels competition with my two teenagers, a girl, 16, and my son, 14. I spend a lot of time with him but when I need to be home especially on school nights he makes me feel guilty about not being with him. My kids miss me and he doesn't seem to understand their feelings. We live with my parents so they are not alone. I also don't want my parents to feel I am taking advantage by not being home. I have told him how I feel and that my kids still need their mother, they are not fully grown. He has a five year old daughter and thirteen year old son. His son spends most of his time with his mom but his daughter is with her dad, my boyfriend, most of the time. I am helping him at home and with his daughter and I sometimes watch her for him but I have two kids who need me, too. I feel torn in two. I want to create a balance and need his understanding. What can I do?

  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago

    Jakielynn...I am sorry that I haven't gotten back to you at this point. It sounds like you are doing well with trying to understand where the girls are coming from. I think that it is a fairly common problem that you are experiencing. Many single parents try to make up for it and that can lead to rude and demanding children (though this happens in families where there isn't enough discipline as well). I think that your best bet is to talk to him about it while the two of you are away from the kids (make sure that you do it in a time/place where they definitely won't overhear you).

    He will need to make a decision to start making changes in order for it to work. You will need to talk about how you feel, how it isn't good for him to let his children treat him poorly, and how you would like to do something different. Tell him how you care for his girls, but how this behavior is unacceptable to you and to others who spend time with the girls. It isn't going to be easy, either for him or you. However, in order to make it work the two of you will have to decide what changes need to be made and he will have to work on making those changes with you by his side rather than you trying to make the changes for the family.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Hi Everyone... I have been dating a single father with 3 girls, 14, 12 and 8. The girls have had a really rough few years, I take it into consideration that they are going through huge emotional and physical changes in their lives. I adore all three of them, we have a good relationship, but their father who is the sweetest man I have ever meant, allows them to walk all over him, they are very rude, demanding with no manners. They have started to treat me this way, I don't know what my boundaries are,at the moment I am keeping my mouth shut. I need help, I see a wonderful future with this family, but I will not allow this behavior from any children, how do I approach this subject with out hurting any one...

  • profile image

    Todd D. 

    9 years ago

    Thank you for the information!

    Todd D.


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