Meeting the kids
For some kids, meeting a new person in their single parents life can be smooth and easy. For others, it can be traumatic and stormy. What is the best way to handle this?

If you have kids and have met someone you are serious about, you may feel its time for them to meet your kids.

How you handle this depends on the following factors among others

  • the age of the kids
  • the personalities of the kids and adults involved
  • the level of conflict with your ex
  • your relationship with the kids
  • your past history of relationships to which the children were exposed

Before you introduce the kids to your new relationship, talk to them. Most importantly listen and let them ask questions. Give them time as they may not have questions straight away. Some kids will need some time to process the information and then will come back to you with comments and questions.

Some questions that can come up include

  • Are you in love?
  • Are you getting married?
  • Will they leave?
  • What happens to me/us?

Talk to your partner in this current relationship and tell them about your kids including likes and dislikes. If you expect one of your kids to be somewhat hostile, let them know and ask them to ignore it for now.

Where to meet?

Its often a god idea to introduce everyone at an event or outing. Somewhere the kids can go off and play when they want or kick around a ball with you and your ex for example. This relieves some of the pressure from them. Also some kids can be quite defensive about having someone new in their home and may take time to adapt.

Be prepared to field more questions once the meeting is over.

Be Careful

Monitor your partner's reactions to your kids and make sure they are appropriate and healthy. Be honest with yourself about their behavior and make sure to follow up on any warning signs.

My partner was very quiet around the kids

It is not unusual for your partner to be nervous and unsure around your kids especially if they don't interact with kids very much. Help them out by encouraging them and give them time to adapt.

My kids are close to their father or mother

If you have shared custody or the kids visit with their father or mother, one or more of them may see your new partner as a threat to their relationship with their other parent. Reassure them that you are not trying to replace their other parent. Some kids will not verbally express this fear so watch for any behavioral changes and proactively address them.