Dating after divorce can be tricky. But introducing that special someone to your children is even harder. Let's cover the 4 most important steps to take in that first meeting between your new partner and your children.
1. Don’t introduce them too early Be sure this is a committed relationship before you bring your date home. Having a revolving door of boyfriends or girlfriends is really hard on kids. Just when they start to get used to someone you’re on to another partner. This causes kids to become less likely to accept someone later on down the road when things really are serious because they're tired of getting hurt.
2. Don’t do Disney World A lot of couples make the mistake of the first meeting being some grand affair. If you’re going to marry this person, the kids need to get to know them in a genuine way. They need to experience “real life” right from the get go. A meeting at a park or in your home with dinner and a movie rental are much more conducive to laying the foundation for what real life will be like.
3. Don’t have your partner bring their kids too This first meeting needs to be about your partner getting to know your kids. If their kids are there then things can get distracting. Your kids can easily avoid getting to know your partner by just hanging out with the other kids. Now, I don’t expect every minute of the first meeting to be spent focusing exclusively on your children but the door needs to be wide open for the opportunity for conversation and questions in order to get to know one another.
4. Don’t expect a lot from your kids other than their being respectful This is weird for kids. Thinking of their parents having a boyfriend or girlfriend just may not feel right. Remember that this meeting is the bringing together of strangers. Acknowledge that this is going to be awkward for everyone! Give the kids permission to express their discomfort. But, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, the expectation that they are to be respectful toward your partner like they would any other adult should be stated firmly.
First meetings are uncomfortable no matter who we are meeting or what the situation. This first meeting is especially charged because it’s vitally important to you that these two groups of people you love dearly come to like each other so you can begin to experience them together. Understand that this process takes time. Don’t force it and let it happen naturally.
This first meeting is just the beginning of a long process of building relationships between your children and your new partner. I encourage you to visit http://www.RemarriageSuccess.com for more tips and strategies for your step family's preparation. You can join our free monthly e-zine at http://www.RemarriageSuccess.com/e-zine.htm to receive special articles and resources that will help you to learn how best to prepare for your remarriage. If you're already preparing for that wedding date, be sure not to miss our best selling 2 book set, "THE 7 Questions to Ask Before Saying ‘I Do’ Again at http://www.RemarriageSuccess.com/7questions.htm. This set will walk you through other important aspects in building that relationship with your kids and discussing how to help all of you create a wonderful step family.