If you were divorced, you may be considering dating again. If you have children, they may have expectations that you and your former spouse may reunite and get remarried. In other cases, children may feel frustrated if you are attempting to spend time away from them.
With over 65% of women considering dating within the first year following a divorce, it is important to know that there are special considerations for those parents who have children as they reenter the dating scene.
Validate and Reassure
If you are ready to start dating again, you should make sure to have an age-appropriate discussion with your children. You can let them know that they will always be your first priority. They have time to play with their friends, and you are simply taking some time to find some new friends as well. If your children become angry or defensive, do not get defensive, but always acknowledge their feelings, and reassure them that they will always be first in your life.
Be Careful Who You Introduce to Your Children
Before you even start dating, you may want to consider what your boundaries will be regarding your children. Establishing a revolving door of different people can confuse them and cause a great deal of anxiety. You should probably be sure that you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone before introducing them to your children, as children can take break-ups quite hard. It could seem like someone has been ripped away from them; someone who they will likely never see again.
Your children will watch what you do, and not what you say. If you have people sleeping over, they may feel threatened, confused, and angry. They may feel that their territory and their parent is being taken away from them in their very home. While all children are different, you may want to take some time and reconsider sleepovers while you still have children at home.
Allow Your Children to Express Their Feelings
While you are entitled to move on with your life, your children may have strong feelings about new situations. Sometimes children will act manipulatively in order to gain some control in the situation and attempt to put it back the way it was. Try to curb this type of behavior, but make sure that your children always have the right to express their feelings, and they are always heard, even if you do not follow their “advice.”
Be Honest with Your Date
You should always let your date know that you have children and that they are a priority in your life. It is always important to be honest so that you can build the foundation of a new relationship on the right foot.
Careful with Discipline
If you do find someone that you care about, and the relationship begins to grow, you should be wary of how punishments are carried out. If a soon-to-be stepparent is doling out punishments, resentment can quickly grow in children.
Need Help with a Divorce?
If you are in the process of a divorce or need help with modifying child custody or child support arrangements now that you have been divorced for some time, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Judy Ford, Attorney at Law at 916-619-3407 or online today for a free consultation.