Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Smart Parenting During and After Divorce: Introducing Your Child to Your New Partner (page 3)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on May 7, 2010

Why the Two-Year Rule Works

I advocate the two-year rule because by the one-year mark most couples have seen each other at their best and at their worst. If you have seen your partner at your worst and he or she does not try to damage your self-esteem when you fight, and you have successfully solved many of the relationship problems you could not solve with your ex, then your relationship has a better than 50-50 chance of succeeding in the long term. I have seen quite a few complicated and difficult circumstances arise because people are in too much of a hurry to introduce their children to their new partners.

Another advantage is that after some time has passed, even young children will expect their mothers and fathers to want companionship, and the children will not be as focused on wanting to reunite the family. There is no guarantee your child will ever stop wanting this, but in most cases children will want it less after a few years or at least accept the reality that it's not going to happen.

Once you have passed the two-year mark of being out of your old relationship, and once you know your new partner for a year, you can start talking to your children about meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend. If your children are old enough to understand what a boyfriend or girlfriend is, don't beat around the bush. This is actually one of the advantages you have gained by waiting such a long time before introducing the person.

The Sleepover Question

Different people have different ideas about whether parents should invite their boyfriends or girlfriends to sleep over at their house. I would say avoid it, especially with young children. Children are growing up very quickly these days, and they will start to ask questions about whether you are having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend because you are sleeping with them. You could properly tell them this is none of their business, but the situation will nevertheless make them feel uncomfortable, and you will ultimately have to deal with what kind of model this presents to your children, especially when they are fifteen years old and want to bring their boyfriends and girlfriends home to your house to sleep over.

Finally, it might be very tempting to bring your little children into bed with you and your new partner to snuggle or watch television, but I have seen this cause problems between moms and dads who become furious at the thought of their children climbing into bed with someone who is a "stranger" to them and cuddling. Before you permit your child to do this, ask yourself it is worth the legal fees you will have to spend in order to convince someone that you think there is no harm in it.

Quick Tips

  • When it comes to introducing your kids to the people you are dating, wait, wait, wait. Then think it through, wait some more, and start talking about the person who is becoming special and whom you would like them to meet. Even when you are careful as can be, children might not warm up to the idea of your dating for a long time. One thing is certain—if you rush it, there will be problems.
  • Never, ever bring your children around a partner or lover while you are still married. It might seem overly strict, but it can save you lots of stress in the end.
  • Split loyalties are common when children are brought into a relationship with a parent's new partner. It will take patience and an ability to be warm, but stay in the background to get past this.
View Full Article
Add your own comment
DIY Worksheets
Make puzzles and printables that are educational, personal, and fun!
Matching Lists
Quickly create fun match-up worksheets using your own words.
Word Searches
Use your own word lists to create and print custom word searches.
Crossword Puzzles
Make custom crossword puzzles using your own words and clues.
See all Worksheet Generators