Managing a love life while parenting teens can be a significant challenge. If a teenager has been struggling with parental strife and divorce, the teen might have residual feelings of mistrust and anxiety. To minimize additional stress, wait for a minimum of six months after a divorce before introducing a new love interest to your kids, advises HealthyChildren.org. When the time is right, proceed carefully to introduce a boyfriend to your teenager.
Wait until you and your boyfriend are sure you’re in a serious relationship, advises psychotherapist Marie Hartwell-Walker with the Psych Central website. By waiting until you have a commitment, you lessen the risk of upsetting your teen with a breakup.
Discuss the prospect of meeting your teenager with your boyfriend to ensure he’s on board. Meeting kids can be potentially stressful for some people and he might not be ready. Before you bring it up with your teen, it’s imperative that your boyfriend is ready to move forward. If he seems receptive, give him some details about your teen -- what she’s like, school activities she participates in and her interests.
Talk to your teen about your new love interest to prepare her to meet him. Without hyping it up too much, mention that you’ve found someone you care about and you were thinking that your teen might like to meet him. Ask your teen whether she would feel comfortable meeting him, perhaps over dinner.
Make the introduction in a relaxed and casual manner, using the first names of both your teen and your boyfriend. Try to keep the conversation light and nonthreatening. Proceed through the dinner or the activity you’ve planned for the introduction and then end it to minimize the stress for both your teen and your boyfriend.
Follow-up with your teen to ensure she feels safe and secure after the meeting. You might find that she has questions or feels angry or threatened after meeting your boyfriend. Give your teen as much reassurance and support as you can so she sees that her feelings and needs and extremely important to you.
- While the AAP recommends waiting six months after a divorce to introduce a new love interest, other experts, such as psychologist Peter J. Favaro writing at Education.com, advise that parents should wait for two years to give children a chance to recover and gain stability after a divorce.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images