Keep in mind that you don’t need to perform an introduction between your child and every person you date—this can be extremely confusing, especially for young children. ) Then say something like ‘I was thinking that you might like to meet John.
Instead, reserve the meeting for when you’re dating a person that you’d like to be in a serious relationship with. Would you like him to come over for dinner, or would you like the three of us to go out to dinner together? Make sure the kids never feel threatened by the thought they are losing their mom or dad to a stranger.”One of the biggest fears they may have is that this new partner has been brought in to “replace” the divorced parent, so it’s imperative that you reassure them that this new person isn’t meant to be a new mother or father to them.
I have two teenagers, 13 (a son) and 15 (a daughter).
They both live with me, although their father lives in the next town and my son often stays with him. When should I tell my kids that I am dating and when should I introduce them to this new person in my life?
Introductions should be reserved for when you feel the relationship has potential.
Be forwarned that children can develop close attachments quickly so you don’t want your children to develop a meaningful relationship with your man until you know he’s the one and sticking around.
However, if you have children, the best time to start talking to them about this move is right up front, and then continue to keep the lines of communication open.
If they are still very young and don’t quite understand the concept of dating or relationships, that doesn’t quite mean you’re off the hook—you just need to adjust your language to suit their level of comprehension.
For toddlers and preschoolers (ages 3-5), an article at Divorce Help for Parents recommends using the term “friend” to refer to your date—as in, “I’m going out to visit my friend,” or “I’m spending some time with my friend tonight.” You can keep up this language for children ages 6 to 10, but once they’re in the pre-teen and young teen years, they’ll likely have some knowledge about dating and relationships.
When your children are teenagers, it can be one of the trickiest times to broach this conversation—hormones, mood swings, and emotions could be running high on the surface.
Be sensitive to how they’re feeling about this shift, and Divorce Help for Parents cautions that there could be similarities in your situations—you can use this as a talking point.