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Things To Consider While Dating With Children
Why Are You Dating?
As a parent, when thrusting yourself back in the dating pool, the world of dating looks a little different. First off you can't think carelessly about whom you date. Second, you have to be sure the person is not only okay with the idea of children in your life, he/she must accept them as his/her own. Now this can be a huge stretch. It sure does shorten the gap quite a bit among love interests doesn't it?
With all this in mind, you must ask yourself, why are you dating in the first place? Are you on the rebound? Are you emotionally ready to begin the journey of love all over again? Has your children healed from the emotional wounds left from your past relationship? Think about this carefully because your answers will affect the lives of your children and the way they view the person you're dating.
If you feel as though you are ready to begin a new life with someone for the geniune reason of wanting love and companionship, then begin talking with your children about it (if they are old enough). Ask them how they'd feel if you would start dating and have them understand early that you will not let another person come between you all. And that your mission is not to replace their mom or dad but to live in a loving environment with a family unit that's complete. It will still take some time for them to adjust to the concept. But believe me, your children want to see you happy and they will adjust to your new relationship. Just give them time to do their own way.
Nope. I'm not referring the one you'll have with your children. I'm referring to the one you're going to have with your new love interest. You may start to think it would be too soon to discuss your children in detail. You wouldn't want to scare the person off. Probably. But if you've been dating someone for over 6 months then that's enough time to call it serious. Before it gets too serious, you need to establish what his/her views are regarding the raising of your children. Here are some questions you might want to know the answer to before you decide to introduce them.
- How do he/she really feel about children?
- Do you feel as though children can cause problems in relationships?
- What are his/her thoughts about discipling children?
- What are his/her thoughts about disciplining other people's children?
- If he/she did not like the way you disciplined one of your kids, how would he/she handle it?
- How will he/she present himself/herself to your kids?
These are obviously just starter questions. There are lots more but it gets you an idea on how your date feels on the subject. You need to know this information upfront because you do not want to be committed to someone and marry him/her only to find out years later they've been abusing your children. Problem is though, you never saw it coming. Now, I'm not saying asking these questions 100% assures your security. But if you don't believe in spanking and your date tells you when kids get out of line he/she whips out the belt, then you know later down the line, they'll be problems.
You Want What?
Resist the temptation to be too needy too fast. We all know that kids require work and it's natural to want help. But when you are dating someone, that could be code for trouble. No one wants to look at their date like a charity case. You want to focus on the relationship and allow the other person commit to the responsiblities of his/her choosing on his/her own time. This way, there's no pressure. Besides, being too needy can be an instant turn-off.
Show Some Restraint Girls (Or Guys)
Listen, I know we live in a world where sex on the first date is probably expected. But keep in mind that just because kids don't see everything, doesn't mean you can fool them. Them little sneaks understand what's going on and just when you think they won't, they'll be modeling your behavior before you know it. So make wise decisions in your courting. Do what you would want them to. Know that saving yourself for someone special and for the right time is never a wrong thing no matter how many kids you've had or how much sex you've experienced in the past.
The Kids Hate Her/Him
You can't expect your kids to love who you love. But they will tolerate this person and it will take them getting used to someone they don't know. The thoughts that drift in their minds are ones filled with the family of natural birth parents. So their first instinct will be to rebel against something they don't want. Anything that disturbs their family fantasy. While many children are wise beyond their years, they are just not mature enough to understand that two people can't magically piece a family together in perfect harmony as they often wish. This confuses them. It's best to keep reminding your children of how much you love them and that nothing and no one will come between that love. They will learn to accept and even love your partner too. Give them time to grow in that love.
I Gotta Let Her/Him Go
When your're kids grow to care about someone you've cared about, letting go can be tough. Be careful not to create an atmosphere where all they're familiar with emotionally is separation. It will take a toll on their soul. Am I saying stay with someone you know is the wrong person for you? No. I'm saying use the experience to make smarter decisions about who you date and when you should bring them into your children's lives. If not for you, do it for them.
Dating won't be a walk in the park for you or your children. But give them the opportunity to share it with you. Be wise about it and get to know as much as you can about the person before you get your children involved. Trust me, you'll thank me later.