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What Is the Protocol When Divorced Parents Introduce a Date to Their Children?

by Candice Coleman

Dating after a divorce can bring happiness after a dark period in your life; it also can present new obstacles, such as introducing your date to your children. Knowing when and how to introduce your kids to your dates may help ease a child's discomfort about your dating life. You also can discuss when to introduce your dates with your child's other parent.

When to Introduce

Though you may find yourself excited about each of your dates, you may want to hold off on introducing children to your partners until the relationship is serious. If you make the introduction too soon and then the relationship ends, your children may have already grown attached to your partner. It also can be beneficial to postpone introductions until it has been at least six months since your split from your child's other parent.

How to Introduce

The introduction should be brief. It gives your children and your partner time to accept the situation, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Before the introduction, you also may want to talk to your children about your new partner. Mention his interests and what he does for a living to help them feel more comfortable. After the first meeting, talk with your children about their feelings and impressions. Before you make the introduction, you also should tell your children's other parent about your intentions. Hiding the meeting may not only make your ex angry, but it also can leave your children confused about whether or not they can talk to their other parent about it.

Considerations

Children may bond quickly with a parent's new partner and may hold out hope for a quick marriage in order to replace what was lost during a previous divorce. Before making any introductions, you may want to explain to your children that dating does not always end in marriage.

Additional Help

Meeting a parent's new partner can be difficult for children. It forces them to accept that their parents will never get back together, and they may have concerns that the new partner will replace their other parent. If you are unsure about how to make the introduction or if the introduction does not go as planned, talking with other divorced and dating parents or meeting with a counselor can help.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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