How To Tell Your Child You’re Dating Someone (5 Tips)

by April Maccario

Being a single mother is hard, the burden of parenting can be tough enough on both

parents living under the same roof and raising children together, talk less of when all that responsibility is mostly on the woman. Every decision you make has to be in the best interests of your child.

As a parent, you’ll try to do everything right so that the absence of their father doesn’t leave a glaring dent in their life. Amidst all of this, living your own life outside of motherhood can be

delicate. Dating, for one, can be quite the challenge, from the kind of men you choose to go out with to the part where you introduce them to the family, everything has to be well thought out.

As you focus on being the best mother and making the relationship work, telling your child you're dating a new person is one less thing you’ll have to think about, after reading what I have to say on the subject, that is.

Ways To Introduce Your New Flame To Your Kids

1. Take your time

I’m sure you don’t need to be told that you have no business carrying your children along on every fling you have. If the relationship is just casual and you don’t see it going anywhere, there is no use riling your baby up. However, if you do see it going somewhere but still aren’t sure yet for one reason or the other, take your time, there’s no need to rush.

This new partner of yours may be a total spec, everything you want in a man, including his love for children, but do you see him becoming a part of your family? Your ex leaving must have taken enough toll on the child, I’m sure you wouldn’t want them to go through that again if you can help it.

Also, consider how long it’s been since the split from your child’s dad, especially if it is

your first time dating since then, you may be ready to move on, but what about your child?

2. Do it gradually

Once the relationship is established, and you are convinced you are ready to test the waters to see if your children like him, remember to do it slowly. To gauge their initial reaction, you can start by letting your new partner drop you off when they are around, he doesn’t have to come in, he just needs to be seen. 

If your baby is an adolescent, they can probably already tell something is up, if they ask questions, try to be truthful, tell them he’s a new friend that you are interested in, but you're taking things slow. 

The next time, he can come in briefly and say hi, but before then, make sure to have a one-on-one conversation with your kids first, so they know what to expect. If you are lucky, they may hit it off with him immediately, but if that isn’t the case, don’t beat yourself up, there will be plenty of time for that. All that matters is that you let both parties know how important they are to you.

3. Make sure your children don’t feel abandoned

After telling them about your partner’s admirable qualities, the next thing is to assure

your kids that his presence in your life changes nothing as far as your commitment to them is concerned. As a parent, your kids have to know that while they take first place in your life, that doesn’t rule out your happiness or chances to love again.

Your little pumpkin needs to know that even though mommy loves her new man and he's a good person, they will always remain the number one resident of your heart. Children can be quite possessive of their parents, especially young ones, so, it is natural to see a new love interest that isn’t their dad as a threat to the special bond they have with you. 

I understand the thrill of dating someone new might push you to spend all your time with him, but you need to strike a balance between him and your child in this delicate time. The last thing you want is to make your kid feel they were right to worry you would abandon them. 

4. Let them know it is okay to ask questions

Let them know it is okay to ask questions

Your conversation with your children has to be a two-way thing, as much as you want them to see your partner in a good light, you need to accept that they are not under any obligation to like him. 

While you are not exactly asking their permission to date, the way they feel about him will, one way or another might affect your relationship. The best way to ensure everyone is comfortable is to let them be honest about their feelings. They may want to hold back on their true thoughts because they don’t want to hurt you, so let them know you are a big girl and you can take it.

You may open the floor by asking them how they feel about the whole thing, you know your children best, so if you think they are not ready to talk about it, give it time. Nevertheless, let them know they can ask you any question whenever they are ready and try as much as possible to answer honestly.

5. Let their dad know if he’s available

By available, I mean if he’s still alive and plays an active role in the children’s life. As someone who was raised by a single parent, I can tell you your kid harbor a fantasy of you and their father getting back together at some point. Even if they are old enough to keep it a secret from you, they might just be planning to get daddy back into mummy’s life.  So, if you and your ex have joint custody to parent them, and they alternate between staying with you and him, it might be best to carry him along on your plan to share the big news.

Knowing daddy is in on it will make it feel less like you are betraying him. Of course, it depends on how daddy chooses to explain the situation. However, if you both share custody, I assume you have the best interests of the children at heart, and your ex won’t take it as an opportunity to spoil your chances of loving again.

FAQs

How do you tell your family you’re dating someone?

First, you have to be as sure as you can that this person you are dating is in it for the long haul. Then, you can bring it up during any gathering that has the family together, tell them there’s somebody you have been seeing for a while and would like to introduce to the family.

How do you explain the new relationship to a child?

If this is the first relationship you are telling the kid about since their dad, you need to be as delicate as possible in your approach. Start by reminding the kid how much they mean to you, then tell them there is this person mommy likes and that you’d want them to meet one day. 

How long should you date before meeting the family?

I like to think the quality of the relationship matters more than how long you’ve been dating but to each his own. Relationship expert, April Masini advises that you give it between six months and a year before getting the family involved. As that gives you ample time to know each other better.

How many dates until you are in a relationship?

Some people believe you are already together if you make it to four dates. Others follow the ten date rule, where you can go ahead and call it a relationship after 10 dates. Personally, I think you are in a relationship when, and only when, you have both agreed to be in one.

What is a good age to start dating?

A good age to start dating is when you are emotionally mature enough to handle it. The average age is around 16 years, but it is not set in stone. A 15-year-old with a higher sense of responsibility can start dating even when an emotionally immature 16-year-old isn’t ready yet.

To Conclude

It is completely normal to be worried about how your children will take the news of you seeing somebody other than their dad. In my experience, it usually goes better than you anticipate, so relax, drink some water, and apply the tips above. If you have other tried-and-true ideas, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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