There are many different opinions on when it’s appropriate for single parents to introduce their kids. Introducing your kids depends on many different factors. For example, a couple should be just that, “a couple,” and they should both be willing, and ready to introduce, or be introduced to the other’s kids. As well, it takes the kids being mentally and emotionally ready to meet someone that you’re in a relationship with. There are many things that should be understood by each other as a couple, as well as certain things that should be said to the kids in private, and before everyone meets. I plan to list some of those things in this article, as well as what the 5 things are that the children must understand.
When you’re thinking about introducing your kids to your partner and vice versa, it’s important to have a talk with your partner first. There are a few things that you need to make sure your partner understands. First off, you’re not looking to ever replace the other parent, not now, and not ever (if and when you go forward into marriage). The parent of the child or children should be the sole disciplinary adult in the beginning, so there’s no need to start setting rules, being authoritative, nor bossing the kids around in any way (not that your partner would, but just to be clear). You need to be clear to your partner that being introduced is a way to see how everyone meshes, and gets along, what the comfort level is, and whatnot. It needs to happen in a way that’s subtle, fun, and somehow so that the kids don’t get attached too quickly.
Introducing your kids without getting them attached
It’s important that you let your kids know that you’re not marrying this person 100%, and that you’re just exclusively dating, and seeing what you think, how well you get along, and how happy you feel. It’s important to have your kids like whomever you’re dating or are in a relationship with. Why? It matters because your kids matter, and what they think and feel matters. As well as because you should never marry someone who your kids don’t like, don’t get along with, or that doesn’t seem like a good match for your family. Make sure that your kids know that what they feel matters and means everything to you (because it should!). Remember, you must make sure from the get-go that your kids understand that there’s a chance that it won’t work out, and that way, they won’t get as attached.
Once you decide as a couple that you’re ready to introduce your kids to your partner, there are a few things that they need to do and understand.
5 things your children must understand
1. What they think and how they feel matters
Make sure that they understand that you care what they think and that you hope that they like this person, because you do. As well, make sure that they understand that if they don’t like the person, you won’t continue going out with them, but you’d appreciate it if they’d give the person a chance.
2. They must be respectful, polite, and have good manners
They need to say please, thank you, have good table manners, have good posture, and be pleasant to be around.
3. They should try and have an open heart
Explain to them that you don’t expect them to love anyone right away, but that they should have an open heart towards the person, as well as be kind, decent, respectful, and sweet to them. Let them know that feelings take time to develop, and you can even mention to them that you don’t want them to get attached too quickly.
4. They need to be friendly
This especially goes for when the other person has kids as well. Let them know that they don’t have to like the person, but they should still be kind, cordial, and polite. As well, it’s always a good idea to teach them about having an open mind, so that they’ll give someone a chance at seeing who they are as a person, and without judging them.
5. Make sure that they understand that no one will ever replace their other parent
Last but not least by any means is that you must tell your kids that no way, and under no circumstance are you or will you ever try to replace their other parent. Make sure that they know this! Let them know that you’re merely dating with marital intentions, and that you hope that “the right person” and the one that you end up with will merely become a parental-figure for them, which will never replace their other parent. As well, let them know that “if” you end up with this person, they’ll simply add to the beautiful family that you already have, and not replace anyone.