Following a divorce, many parents wonder when and how to introduce their children to a new partner. What comes to mind is a scene from an extraordinary film: Kramer vs. Kramer. A couple is in the middle of a battle for the custody of their six-year-old son. In one particular scene, the boy gets up in the morning and goes to the bathroom; in the hallway, still sleepy, he finds one of his dad's new girlfriends.
Being a parent is a wonderful but absorbing task. Being a single parent can be even harder. But once you feel that everything is stable, you may find a partner with whom you want to rebuild your romantic life. If you have gone from the phase of going out as friends to something more serious, then it might be time to introduce your new partner to your children.
It's normal for you to feel fear and have many doubts about how to take that important step. Here are five tips for introducing your new partner to your children.
Let Your Children Know Your Partner Makes You Happy
Children are very receptive and attentive to how you feel. They watch you closely. Their mood and way of facing things depend a lot on the attitude they observe in you. You have the right to have a new partner and a new love.
When the time comes, and you want to introduce your new partner to your children, first tell your children that you want to introduce them to a person that is important to you and makes you happy. Tell your children that you would like them to meet your new partner because it is an important part of your life and you want to share it with them.
Make It Clear That Your New Partner Doesn't Take the Place of Their Mother or Father
No matter how strong your relationship is with your ex-spouse, for your children, it is their mother or father, and they feel a natural loyalty to them. Children need to know that they are not betraying their other parent when they meet your new partner. Make things clear: your partner is not a rival; he or she is a special person for mom or dad, who is worth knowing.
Tell Your Children That Your New Partner Will Not Replace Your Love for Them
Taking into account their age, explain to your children that your love for them will not change. Tell your kids that your new partner is someone who will support the family, and not a possible rival to compete for your affection.
Keep in mind that a child's biggest concern is losing his parent's love and attention, so it is essential that your children understand that your love is unconditional and that you will never stop loving them, even if there is now a new person in your life. Emphasize to your children that they are the most important thing in your life.
Give Your Children and Partner Time and Space
When the day of the meeting arrives, don't be anxious. Remember that children perceive everything, and if you are introducing them to your new partner, it's because you are sure that it is the right thing to do. You are moving toward a committed relationship with the possibilities of forming a new family.
Be a passive and affectionate witness. Your partner and your children need a space of trust in which you do not intervene. Seek to establish balance until they feel comfortable. They need to explore freely. Only time will help them in creating bonds of affection and friendship. Trust your judgment and your instincts.
When you introduce your new partner to your children, try to have the necessary space so that they become acquainted with each other at their own pace. Try not to impose or hide anything. Always answer honestly the questions your children ask you. If they feel you're still you, but in a love-enhanced version, they will be happy and feel safe.
Prepare for Rejection
It's normal for children to reject a new partner simply because it's not their parent. If you are serious about planning a future with someone new, take the time to work through these issues. They don't need to be solved immediately. With some patience, your partner can gain the love and trust of your children.
Issues of divorce, remarriage, and child custody can be confusing and complex. Contact the qualified and caring professionals at Hollingsworth Roberts Means for guidance and legal support (888) 211-3888.