- Family and Parenting
How to Introduce Your New Partner to Your Child
Introducing a new partner
Divorce is never easy and even after it's over and things have settled into a new routine, new challenges arise when parents find new partners. Mothers of boys have an extra load on their hands as boys need to be handled carefully and with sensitivity because they could react strongly to the presence of a new man in the household. You must take care to minimise pain and disruption to the household routine.
To increase the chances of your child accepting your new partner, follow these tips:
- Take care about dating behaviour - You shouldn't expose your son to your casual friends or new relationships straightaway. It is confusing for a child to process and understand.
- Introduce your boyfriend to your child only when you are ready to invest in a long-term relationship.
- The new man is not to displace your son's dad - The new partner should not be seen as a substitute for dad; his role is different. Any new discipline structures and house hold routines are are introduced by your new partner should serve only as additions to those rules imposed by dad, and these are not to be displaced or dismissed altogether.
- You need to create and maintain a workable relationship with your son's dad - Include the dad in arrangements and plans that involve your son, and make sure that the relationship between your new partner and your son's dad is a cordial, civil one if at all possible.
- You need to support your son if he decides to live with dad - This is especially important in the teenage years. Make sure you are approachable so that your son is comfortable to ask you if he's made the choice to live with his dad.
- Your new man is not competing with your son for your affection - Your son needs to be told that your love for him is number one and unconditional. You need to show him by spending time and keeping communication channels open with your child; support his interests and invest your time into your child, not your new partner. He needs to know his place and accept it.
The golden rule is to keep communicating, having strong family connections and spending time one on one and with your new partner. It would be a mistake to push your new partner on your child; if your child prefers to spend time just with you, then your partner will need to understand that that's how it's going to be, at least for a while.
Above all, you need to strive to keep a stable, loving environment for your child. Having a new man in the household is challenging; it will affect your behaviour around him and your children, and you need to remind yourself that your duty is to your children first, to your new partner second. If he doesn't understand that, it's not meant to be.
A note of caution: It may seem very attractive to abandon yourself to your new romance but what you have to remember at all times is that you have responsibility to your children who did not ask to be put in this position so it is up to you to keep a level head and not get swept away like a schoolgirl. You will reap the benefits in the long run.