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3 Essential Tips for Having Your Kids Meet Your Significant Other
Many people have different opinions on the right time and place to introduce a new partner to your children. Should you tell your kids when you are going out on a date? Should you introduce your boyfriend or girlfriend as just a “friend” first? What do you do if your kids don’t like him or her, or the other way around? This can be a stressful experience and you might not know what the best advice to take is. It is important to remember that ultimately, you have to do what you are comfortable with and what you think is best for your children. When you meet someone that you are seriously interested in, here are some tips on good ways to introduce them to your children.
- No pressure: The first time that your significant other meets your children should be a casual event. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Don’t pressure your children into liking this person. Saying things like, “Cindy loves horses just like you! You guys are going to be best friends!” or, “Make sure you are on your best behavior when Mike visits” will put too much pressure on your kids. You can’t force them to like your boyfriend or girlfriend. It will take them some time to get to know the person you are dating and form their own opinions about him or her. Let this be a natural process. In addition, it might be a good idea to let your children meet your boyfriend or girlfriend in a group setting. Have a party for the neighborhood and invite your significant other to attend, or invite him or her to go out to dinner with you, you kids, and some other friends. Again, make this encounter stress-free. The more people that are around, the more fun and relaxed the environment will be.
- Take things slowly: The first few times that your kids meet your boyfriend or girlfriend, you don’t even have to introduce him or her this way. You can just say that he or she is a friend. This way, you can feel out how your children feel about him or her and vice versa before putting the idea of a relationship and the pressure that that can bring on your children. You should also wait to show public signs of affection with your significant other until your children are used to his or her presence.
- No one’s getting replaced: Make it clear to your children that despite this new person in your life, they have one mother and one father. Your new boyfriend or girlfriend is not trying to replace your children’s other parent and never could. If you have a good relationship with your ex, you might want to make this clear to him or her as well. Make sure your ex knows that he or she is still an important part of your children’s lives and nothing will replace that.
Introducing a new boyfriend or girlfriend to your children can be stressful. You want everything to go well, but you are probably concerned that it won’t. One of the most important things to do before introducing your children to someone new is consider if this relationship has potential to last. You don’t have to be ready to get married, but you should consider this a serious, long-term relationship before having your children get to know and get attached to him or her. You know your children! Consider how you think they will react to meeting a new boyfriend or girlfriend of yours, and pick up on signals that they give off once meeting him to determine the next step to take.