Young children and dating after divorce
How do we help kids through these transitions and avoid instability? Kristen Hadfield, a post-doctoral fellow I supervise at the Resilience Research Centre who has been doing research in the US, Ireland and Canada on mothers, stepparents and kids. First, parents are cycling in and out of romantic relationships at a higher rate than ever before.All those online dating sites are doing what they were intended to do.
They meet, and a few months later, introduce their new partner to their kids.Or is he or she going to start sleeping over every night and become part of your family? ’ ‘Are they going to feel sad that the man in our home isn’t their dad?Or, perhaps, will your relationship be somewhere in between? ’ Meanwhile, they had been begging me to have him sleepover. I actually ended up sleeping in my son’s bed with him, and let my boyfriend take my bed! I realize that is the ultimate extreme of being overprotective, but I have seen the other extreme countless times—the mom (or dad) who lets a boyfriend/girlfriend of 2 weeks practically move in, and the selfishness and stupidity of it really makes me cringe.Children are adjusting too, and introducing a significant other too soon — or someone who is not a positive influence — can have damaging psychological and emotional effects.Every mental health professional underscores the same rule: wait.It is extremely important that you listen to their requests and acknowledge how challenging this may be for them. 9: Be respectful of the transition period - While the needs of a teen may be entirely different than the needs of a six year old, the transition period is extremely important.
For teens, they don’t need, nor do they want, the new partner to just jump in and be a part of the family.
“Don’t hurry to introduce someone new to your kids,” says Aaron Welch, a licensed therapist with The Lifeworks Group in Winter Park, Fla.
“The tendency is to be very excited that you’ve met someone you really like—especially after a tough divorce.
Talking openly with your children and making them feel like they are part of the decision is such a nice idea.
I’m not saying let your kids rule your personal life, but let them feel like their feelings on the situation matter.
Understandably, the comments are sometimes noticeably different amongst age groups but universally they all want to be heard and respected as they are introduced to a new partner entering into a new relationship with their biological mom or dad.