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How Do I Introduce My Kids To My Date?
Do something fun when it's time to introduce your date to your children
Dating Tips When Divorced
The time to introduce your kids to a date is a common question for single parents, recently divorced or separated, and never married singles that have children.
The golden rule is that you should make the introduction after 6 months of exclusive dating that person and when you are in the period of your relationship where the both of you are comfortable with each other and you're not in the "Kissy, kissy" phase of the relationship any more, when you have common goals within the relationship and when you know life comes with mistakes and can acknowledge that you both still have lives outside of the relationship.
The concern is that when you introduce your girlfriend or boyfriend to your kids an attachment might grow that overwhelms your dating plans. The child "needs" your date around. This could be a jealous power play by the child or a genuine need that fills a spot in your child's life at the time.
The child may "need" the approval of your date for parts of their life that don't really involve your date yet. And if you decide to stop dating that person, another hole is made in your child's life.
Your kids will try to please the adult and towards this new adult in their life they may react positively, becoming friends with your date, or negatively and becoming hateful and jealous towards your new love interest.
The best way for an introduction to be approached should start before the actual first meeting takes place. In the weeks and months before, and even during your dating time at all, you need to reassure your child that, although you are meeting new people to spend time with, it doesn't mean that the child's mother, or father, still doesn't have a special place within your family. Talk about feelings and family. This will reassure your child that they are not being replaced, that there is room in your life for someone special too.
If you carry animosity towards your ex this will only invite negativity in your child and a sense of being outcast, which could be shown in your child's behavior. Your child may feel abandoned which could be represented in their actions such as being rude, not listening to instruction, and maybe becoming shut out from what is happening around the him or her, a type of loner.
So your introduction and the timing of it carries a lot of weight.
Your dating becomes not with one person but now will include your child too.
I would suggest the introduction happen within a daytime activity that you can call "family day", where the three of you (or more of your children) go for a day at the arcade, mini-golf, movies or maybe a live event in your home town. If your date has children, at this first meeting they should not be present. Schedule a second "family day" that your date hosts with her children and just you.
Combining families all at once will be a struggle to keep every child happy, so start with one family at a time.
Introducing your child to your date in an atmosphere of fun and relaxation will not only make your child feel special, it will give your date the opportunity to engage your child in one-on-one activities and chats, so they get to know each other.
At all times the child should be reassured that your date is not a replacement of the other parent but an addition to your smaller family unit.
Work hard at following your child's lead in the play activities, this will give your child the feeling of "leading the pack" and help to raise their self-esteem in this new experience of meeting your date.
Your focus will be split between your date and your child, which is an obstacle you need to overcome.
Inner strength and fortitude will be required to keep yourself from favoring one over the other at this time. Even if it only seems that way to your child.
I suggest that you do not introduce your date to your child in any regular family activities, such as at a holiday dinner, or someone's birthday party, even if it's the child's, as the first time they meet.
Just don't rush things and you'll be fine, as will your date and more importantly, your child will be fine too.