At last! You’ve found the love of your life! Now, you’ve been thinking of ways to introduce him/her to the little loves of your life. But how do you introduce your new partner to your children without starting WWIII in your household?
Below are a few Dos & Don’ts to help navigate through the nerve-wracking situation of introducing your children to your new partner,
Don’t Pressure Your Children
Never put pressure on your children to immediately like or trust your new partner (who is basically a stranger to them). No one wants to feel pressured to like or trust someone. Trust takes time. Trust takes experience. You may believe that your partner is the best thing since sliced bread. However, upon meeting your partner, your kids may disagree. Give them time to warm up to your new partner. It may take some time, but eventually, you will see the benefits.
Take it Slow, With the PDA
Listen, PDA can sometimes be a bit annoying and awkward even for some adults to witness, let alone your kids. Over time, your kids may get over the awkwardness of seeing the two of you affectionate (though they might not ever get over the “ickiness” of it all). Yes, being affectionate is part of being in a relationship and the kids need to accept it.
However, a new relationship with your new partner can often be confusing and frustrating to young children, especially if they have a recollection of you and their biological parent being together. Kids seeing their parent affectionate with another partner can make them feel self-conscious, awkward, and embarrassed. A little affection is fine, but save the intense affection for some other time when your children aren’t present.
Talk to Your Partner
Before meeting your children, be sure to talk to your new partner about being respectful of your children’s feelings. Help your new partner understand that this may be a very emotional time for your children. Encourage your new love to take it slowly and to pace him or herself when approaching your children. By taking it slowly with respect, the guard that your children have set up can, over time, be brought down.
Talk to Your Kids
Parents should regularly talk with their children about their feelings, in order to have as much clarity as possible. When children are introduced to a new partner, they may experience a large range of complicated emotions. Upon talking to your children, you may find that they may feel uncertain and threatened and often fear that your new person will take their parent away. Children may also feel that this new person could try to replace their other parent, or even worse; that this new person could hurt the family. As a parent, you must reassure your children that you love them, respect their feelings (no matter how they feel), and that your new partner’s goal is not to take the place of their other parent. Many great things take time. And this situation is no different.
Take a deep breath and begin to prepare yourself for this new chapter of you and your family’s life. Always pay attention to the signs (from both sides, and above all else, trust your intuition.
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