kellikorn.webs.com www.DecodingHim.comWhen Should I Introduce My Kids to My Boyfriend?Recovering from the loss of a spouse is difficult for anyone regardless of thecircumstances. Dating can be exciting, but also intimidating. To further complicate thesituation, having children can make dating more difficult and complicated.A few thoughts on dating after such a difficult time:Heal yourself and your family first–then date.Give yourself and your children time to heal from whatever you have gone through.Don’t rush headlong into a new committed relationship.Sometimes people are so afraid of being along that they do what I could call,“reactionary dating”. This is when they date someone with the opposite traits of the lastperson they were with. If you are unable to see that some of the traits and qualities inyour last significant other were actually good, then chances are you are not ready todate.Don’t take your children along on a date.It is so harmful when parents take their child along on date, or worse still, when bothparties combine their children too soon. When you have met someone special you caninitially break the ice by telling the kids you are dating and that this is someone youwould like them to meet.Do not introduce your kids to every man you date.Children attach quickly and if you are not sure about the person you are dating, there isno reason to cause hurt to your child. This is especially important depending on thelevel of trauma a child has experienced related to parental relationships. If your childhas experienced the loss of a father due to divorce, death, or even a complete absencein their lives altogether, you will need to be extra cautious in who you introduce to them.
kellikorn.webs.com www.DecodingHim.comMany women would love a hard and fast answer on when it is okay to introduce theirboyfriend to their kids, but I am going to have to disappoint you because no situation isthe same. Boyfriends are different, kids are different, and past experiences are different.The best way to proceed is to take things slowly and gradually for yourself and yourkids.To help you out, here are a few quick questions to determine if you are ready tohave the important people in your life come face-to-face.● Have you been dating long enough to know that you share the same values?● Does he express a genuine interest in meeting and developing a relationship withyour children (and the rest of your family?)● Will he be supportive of your parenting style, rather than trying to take over as aparent too quickly?● Do you love this person?● Do you want this man to be a permanent part of my family?● Will he fit into our lifestyle?● Have you given yourself enough time to know that he is a person you could have inyour future indefinitely?If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, you should probably hold off on the meetand greet. Your job is to protect your children, so you need to be sure of the man youare dating, regardless of how great he seems at first.
kellikorn.webs.com www.DecodingHim.comWhen you feel ready to introduce your children to your new significant other,here are a few good ways to make the introductions a bit easier:● Gradually introduce your boyfriend and kids. It may be best to introduce him as afriend in a neutral environment such as a sporting event and work up to using the term‘boyfriend’.● Do not tell the kids that this partner is their new mom or dad. Have them call yourpartner by their first name or a nickname. Don’t make the adjustment harder than it willbe for your child.● If your new partner has children as well, do not mix them all up the first time everyonemeets. Let your children establish a relationship with the new partner before you bringtheir children into it. Take your time. You want this to work and forcing things too fastcan have disastrous consequences.● “Bribing” works for younger children, but be cautious of allowing him to buy gifts forolder kids and teenagers. This is best saved until some rapport has been built.● Keep your initial outings at kid friendly places with lots of things to do. This couldinclude: arcades, parks, amusement parks, zoo, movies, etc.● As the relationship develops, you can have your kids pick activities to do and warmthem up to the idea of having him to the house to hang out. Let them be the guide ofwhen it feels appropriate to have him be a part of your daily routine dinner at home,movie nights, and family gatherings.● Be honest. When your kids ask questions about your relationship, it is okay to answerhonestly without giving too much information.
kellikorn.webs.com www.DecodingHim.comHere are several things to have your new man keep in mind during the earlyphase of developing a relationship with your kids:● Avoid trying to show any immediate signs of affection. Even an enthusiastic high fivecan be greeted by a suspicious icy stare.● Do not call any child over the age of two by any condescending names. If you call achild a baby you might as well expect to set back your cause by several points.● Never try to be overly fatherly. Take things slowly and give the child time to adjust.● Never discipline the child. A new man in the house has to earn his status in the eyesof the child. Children may test you, but it isn’t your job to discipline right now. It is yourjob to develop a relationship.● Don’t argue about anything with the mother in front of the children. A child is veryleery of new people and will see even minor bickering as a threat.● Don’t be overly affectionate with the mother when the children are around. Thechildren may still have fantasies of their biological parents getting together, but any childdoes not care to see their mother being affectionate with someone new.If you find after introducing your boyfriend gradually and allowing time to build trust, yourchildren are having a hard time with all the changes, seek counseling. They may haveissues they need to work through on their own, or they may want some support inworking through issues with you. Most times, counseling will require some cooperationfrom your exspouse regarding permission and involvement in the therapeutic process.Therapy should never be done without mutual parental consent or a court order.About the authorKelli Korn is a licensed social worker and school mental health provider. She hasexperience in treating children, teens, and families struggling with a variety of issuesincluding: divorce, behavior issues, depression, anxiety, parenting, adoption and
kellikorn.webs.com www.DecodingHim.comattachment. She currently has a private practice located in Parker, Colorado, servingchildren, teens, and families. Kelli also provides mental health services in a publiccharter school setting. She lives with her husband, adorable baby girl, and their threedogs.To know more about Kelli, visit her website- kellikorn.webs.com.Resources:Baksh, N. & Murphy, L. (2007). In the Best Interest of the Child. Prescott, AZ: HOHMPress.www.milehighmamas.com/2012/04/11/the-kid-blender-how-should-i-introduce-my-kids-to-someone-new/www.dramystark.com/articles/parents/7www.life.familyeducation.com/stepfamilies/makingintroductions/51075.htmlFor more free tips and insights on what really attracts a man, how tomake yourself irresistible to him and how to capture his heart, click thelink below.www.decodinghim.com