#309 – Dating and Your Children
How do your children react to the possibility of or the fact that you’re dating? Kids can be a great encourager or a huge roadblock to your dating life.
I haven’t talked about the impact our kids can have on our dating lives in a while so I thought it would be a good time to review the subject up again.
Dating with children.
There are a lot of really great parents out there. I talk to you all the time. Many of you give up your personal life to take care of your kids and make sure all their needs are met as best you can.
Is this really the best thing for you and the kids? It really depends on the situation. If you’ve gone through a really rough divorce or tragically lost your spouse, you’ll probably need to spend time just focusing on your children for a while.
Young children need you for emotional support. They need you to assure them that you’re there for them. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be used as your emotional support. That leads to co-dependency issues for both you and your children.
At one time I used to think that parents should put off dating after a divorce until the kids are grown and at least in college. I’m not sure if that’s the best thing for you or the kids.
Here’s why. Your children will only be in your home for 18 years or so. Yes, I know they need your attention. But, what about you? How does being a single parent affect you?
With no adult partner in the home, everything is on you. You have to make all the decisions and take care of all the problems that come up. Whether you realize it of not, that can be a very heavy burden to carry.
Then, what about the children? Studies show that children can be better off in a two-parent home even if it’s with a stepparent.
Only you can decide what’s best for you and your family. I’m merely presenting a different perspective.
Kids can derail your dating life for various reasons.
If they don’t like you dating, kids can make life miserable for you and the person you’re seeing.
When you ask them why, younger children aren’t generally able to articulate it. The problem is usually based in fear. They’ve lost one parent either through one moving out or through death if you’re widowed.
They don’t want to lose another parent or at least they don’t want to give up any of their time with you. When you bring someone else into your life they see that as taking time away from them.
Introducing a new love interest too soon can create a lot of problems. You’re all excited about “being in love” and your new relationship is overwhelming to them. Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean your kids will automatically follow suit.
Kids need to be brought up to speed slowly. They need time to get acclimated to someone new in their lives.
Don’t bring someone new home too soon!
This is a problem that occurs often. You’re in love and want everyone around you to be as happy as you are.
As a general rule of thumb, you should wait at least six months before introducing anyone to your children especially if they are younger children.
You want to make sure this is someone that has a serious possibility of being around for a long time before bringing them home to meet your family.
If your kids do like your new love interest, they start to form bonds and do it quickly. If your new relationship doesn’t work, not only are you heart broken, but so are your children.
Adult children can pose a different set of issues. I’ve heard so many times that children can be prompting mom or dad to get out and date yet as soon as they do, the kids are upset.
Many times, they get upset because they to think the new person isn’t up to their standard for you. In the case of being widowed, often times they think you’re disrespecting the memory of the deceased parent.
Also, in the case of being widowed, often times adult children will encourage their parent to get out and start dating long before mom or dad is emotionally ready.
If you succumb to their pressure, you’re likely to make many poor choices and only prolong your natural grieving and healing process.
Don’t let your children dictate your dating life.
Only you know what’s best for you and your family. You have desires, wants, and needs that your children don’t understand.
You’ll likely have to have many conversations with them to help them understand your desire for companionship. Take it slow and be intentional about dating and dealing with your children.
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought to help you make better decisions about dating and your children.
Please feel free share your thoughts, your successes, and your missteps to help others get better one step at a time. Leave a comment below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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