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Single Parents Guide to Dating With Teens
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?
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.