Introducing a new partner to your children
Introducing a new partner to your children is a pretty big deal. Particularly if they are at an age of understanding what is going on. The last thing you want to do, is bring in a new partner every few months. Introducing a new partner to your children needs to be considered very carefully and needs to be done slowly. Everyone is different, and there is no perfect answer or time frame, but here are five things to consider when introducing a new partner to your children.
1. The age of your children.
The age of your children will determine how and when you introduce a new partner to them. For example, my daughter is quite little. She is only 3. So if I were to introduce a new partner, I would keep it very basic and introduce my new partner as my friend.
If your kids are a little older, it’s actually a good idea to chat to them about your plans to start dating, so it’s not a huge shock when you introduce them to someone. You don’t want them to feel rejected or blindsided. If you are dating someone and can see a potential long term future with them, tell your kids about them before the meeting.
2. The amount of time that has passed since your separation, or since you’ve been a single parent.
You may feel ready to move on quite quickly after your separation, but your children may still be grieving and coming to terms with the changes. I believe in this sort of scenario it’s better to wait . You want to be respectful to the feelings of your children. There’s no rush to introduce them to anyone new, and create more stress in their lives. Eventually your children will come to terms with what’s happened and understand that you want to move on.
3. The level of commitment of the new relationship.
Everyone is different, but I take introducing a new partner to children very seriously. As a child of divorce myself, I know how hurtful it can be to have new partners of my parents come and go. Children can feel attached to people and new partners quite quickly, and you want to avoid your children ever feeling like they are going through yet another divorce, or losing another loved one. Ask yourself: Can I really see a future with this person? Am I looking at having a long term relationship with this person? Will this person fit in well with our lives? Will this person create a positive impact in my child’s life? Are we in a committed relationship, and both on the same page?
If the answer to these questions is yes, and you feel you have got to know your partner quite well yourself, then you may be ready to introduce them.
4. The best way to introduce them
The first meeting is best kept brief. This way there wont be too much pressure on anyone. Having a partner meet you at your home before you go out is one idea. Another idea is to do a fun activity. You could go bowling, visit a theme park or see a show. You don’t want too much intensity or pressure at the start.
5. Take your time
Once you have introduced a new partner to your children, move forward slowly. Having this new person immediately involved in your lives every day is not ideal. Children may feel confused or like they are being replaced, or their other parent is being replaced. They may feel resentful, jealous, or that their relationship with you is threatened. Put yourself in their shoes, and remember that you are a role model for them too.
Introducing a new partner to your children is something that you definitely want to put a lot of thought into. So take your time, and do this slowly.
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