Navigating multiple new relationships can be overwhelming. Yes, not liking the fit between the person you are dating and your kids is a deal breaker, even if you love him or her as a partner. Getting smarter means learning all you can about how stepfamilies function, operate best, and why they have the unique complexities that they do.
Breaking the two families into parts can be helpful initially. Liking a parent’s dating partner sometimes creates a loyalty problem for kids: They don’t know how to embrace everyone and not hurt feelings (especially the other biological parent). You may know how to drive a car, but driving in snow and icy conditions requires a different knowledge and skill set.
and wondering how their relationship with you is being influenced by your relationship with the other. ” “What if John’s kids came over every Friday through the summer? ” Each dialogue is both assessment (How are my kids feeling about these possibilities and realities?
In addition, children commonly feel some insecurity by mom or dad’s relationship with another person. ) and intervention as it prepares them for what might happen.
But, we humans are instinctively drawn to partnering up.
Wise singles recognize this important dynamic and don’t assume that becoming a couple necessarily means that they can become a family. Parents who begin dating quickly after the end of a relationship (whether by death or divorce) or who reach a quick decision to marry after a brief dating period often find their children more resistant to the marriage. Smart singles take a good long look in the mirror before dating. Smart single parents don’t let their children’s emotions dictate their dating progress, but they do listen and give serious consideration to how the children are feeling (becoming a couple is up to you; whether you become a family is up to them). Teens and adult children need to move toward your dating partner at their own pace.