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Introducing Children to Your New Partner

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 5 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Children Partner New Relationship

Introducing children to your new partner might seem like a monumental task, but in reality it’s best to take it slow and in a number of small steps. The timing, pace and way in which you introduce a new partner into your children’s lives will all have an effect on how well your children come to accept this new individual. Even if they don’t seem overly happy at first, take your time and remember that you are the adult and you get to set the terms of your own life. While it’s nice for your children to agree with you, if they disagree it doesn’t mean they get to dictate your relationships.

Timing of Introducing Children To Your New Partner

Ideally it would be easiest to introduce a new partner to your children when they’ve had time to mourn the loss of their parents as a couple and accept that you and your previous partner will not be getting back together. Once children vocalise your single status, either to you, your previous partner, other relatives or friends, it’s a safe bet that they understand that you are not in a relationship with your previous partner. Unfortunately you may still find that they harbour hidden, unspoken hopes that you will get back together with that person, or that you will spend the rest of your life in love with that person to the extent that you never find a new partner. Talking to children about your friendships and letting them know that you have met a new friend that you would like them to meet is important before springing a new partner on them. Don’t tell them that you have a new friend you think they would like, though, as this makes it too easy for them to say that they don’t like your new friend and don’t see why you do either. Keep the emphasis on your new partner as your friend, one you like enough to share with them. Needless to say, introductions should only be made once you are in a committed relationship with someone so that your kids aren’t brought into each new relationship you may be testing out.

Pace of Introducing Children To Your New Partner

Forcing a new partner on your children will guarantee nothing other than at some time, in some way, your kids will resent feeling coerced into a new relationship. Keep the pace of the introductions slow, maybe have your new partner tag along on a trip to the park to start, then a lunch together, then inviting your new partner to your home while your children are there. Try to space these meetings out a little at first too, rather than cram a bunch of them into the same weekend. Give your children, and yourself and your new partner, time to process all that happens at each meeting and chances are that you’ll be able to deal with problems more effectively should they arise.

How To Introduce Children To Your New Partner

How to introduce your new partner to your children will likely depend upon a number of factors. Your children’s temperaments, their preferred activities, your preferred schedule when together and your partner’s desire or willingness to join family activities should all be taken into account when deciding how to make introductions. Whatever you decide, make sure that both your children and your new partner know when the introductions will be made so that no one feels you were deceiving them. If possible, keep the very first meeting short and in a neutral, public location. Listen to your children or partner’s fears before the meeting, and observe their behaviour after the meeting. You may need to calm anxieties on both sides, so don’t brush off anyone’s concerns or you’ll be conveying that they mean little to you.

Introducing children to your new partner can be a tense time for everyone involved. Timing the first meeting correctly, pacing future meetings and deciding on meetings which will appeal to everyone involved are important steps to making the introduction a success.

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