I grew up in a single mom household from 4 up until I was 14 my mother was married to the same man. However, after they split things were not as consistent. I was older so I feel like I took it bit well but this was not something i wanted to put my son through. I did not start dating until Noah was around one and half and guess what my biggest concern was? That is right when does he meet the guy? How do I do it in a way that is healthy for him? Every website had different rules and they seemed so personal so I thought I would come up with some tips that you can make into your own (take what works drop what doesn’t). I also have given more tips (most things I have read have about 5 or 6 tips) the more you can pull from the better you can make these tips fit your life and situation. Anyways let’s get to it!
Know when the time is right: While some people have a 6-month time frame I say go with your own time frame. If your average relationship is 8 months don’t introduce your child to someone at six months (makes sense right?).
Let them talk on the phone: Something I have learned to do is let the chat start before the child meets the guy in person. This way the child is not 100% unsure of who they are meeting (you could also try video chats.).
Ask your child when they want to meet them: If your child has talked to this person and you keep on talking about them your child will get used to the name. As your child if they want to meet this person. Do this within reason if you have been with the person for a while and your child’s favorite word is no (like my sons is right now) than make a judgement call.
Do something the child will love: Meet at a park, zoo, or something like that. The child is already going to be stressed so put them in an environment that they can enjoy.
He is just your friend: Avoid the kissing and all that at first. Let your child see a friendship first. (I do not feel you need to do this all the time, pay attention to your child.)
Don’t push: Do not try and create a connect. It will happen in its own way on its own time. If you are pushy it does not help it hurts.
Know when to take a step back: This one is taught (I have the hardest time with this) but if you don’t let the guy step up and the child step into a relationship it is not going to work. You need to see how the guy is going to react to somethings. I am not saying let the guy babysit after the first meeting but children push boundaries and if he does not know how to say no things are going to get crazy. (I mean have you meet a three-year-old?).
He is not dad: Make this clear, I do not care if your child’s father is in jail, abusive, 100% out of the picture, or on again off again the new guy is not dad. This guy is not coming into your child’s life to replace something. This guy will build something new with your child and if later on the child wants to call him dad than deal with that than.
Here are a few extra tips for older children.
Inform your child you are dating: Do not play the “I’m going out with friends” game with older children. They are not stupid, but that is a stupid lie. I notice people tend to do this with older children and just don’t.
Talk about the person and the relationship: Talk about how you feel about the person, the ups and downs, your worries (within reason). Basically keep the child up to date on what you’re thinking. This is how you avoid the “I hate him” because the guy went from “your friend” to your fiancé in 16 weeks.
Let your child come to the conclusion of how they feel: You can like, love, worship the guy and that is nice but don’t push those feelings onto your child. They don’t have to like him, love him, or even enjoy the guy they have that right. Let the child reach a conclusion of how they want to feel.
Do not ask your child to keep the relationship a secret: Really this applies to all children of all ages (but no one really thinks a 4-year-old is keeping a secret). Your relationship is not something that should cause stress and friction with your child. If you are going to ask your child to keep the relationship a secret, you need to reconsider if you need to be in a relationship. Asking a child this is unfair and it is as simple as that.
Do you have any tips for introducing a child to a partner? Do you think it is harder to introduce older or younger children to someone?