Should He Meet The Minis? Things to Consider Before Introducing Him to Your Kid(s)
If you are a devoted, single parent who has found time to date, then kudos to you! In the midst of being swept off your feet and newly in love, you may be excited…and anxious…to introduce your guy to your child(ren). After all, it makes sense for you to want your children to meet someone who has become an important part of your life – either to seal the deal and affirm your love, or make you take a step back from someone who may not be a fit. If you’re wondering about when and how you should bring this new person into your child’s life, consider these things before making that all important introduction.
1. Is There a Committment?
If you’re casually dating or just “kickin’ it”, then you may not feel the need to introduce your man friend to your children at all. But if you’re looking for something long-term and feel that he may be a keeper, then make sure you’re in a committed relationship before considering him meeting your kids. Sometimes the topic of commitment is avoided, or a committment is assumed – which is a big mistake couples make in matters of the heart. If you haven’t discussed an exclusive relationship, have the talk now before considering anything further. Some children get attached very quickly, so it would be unfair for you to involve someone in their lives when you’re not even sure if he’s 100% committed to YOU. Some men may not want to make the committment official until he meets your children to see if he can handle it, but he should be dating you…and only you…before he meets your kids. Be honest and CLEAR about your relationship status, and make sure you’re comfortable with his level of commitment before introducing him to your child.
2. Is He Too Eager to Meet Your Kids?
If a man wants to meet your child after the first date, consider that a red flag. While it’s totally possible for him to be completely into you really quickly, meeting your child should be something he wants to ease into. As stated before, there should be some level of commitment there before he comes around the kids, and that normally doesn’t happen after a handful of dates. While all couples are different and there is no set time frame for falling in love, take it slow when considering making introductions. Meeting your children is no small thing, so if he’s hounding you to meet the kids shortly after you start dating, he doesn’t have your or their best interest at heart…so RUN!
3. Are They Still Attached to Your Ex?
Whether your ex is the child’s father, or a man you dated previously, it may be too soon to introduce your child to someone new if they’re still attached to your ex. If they’ve met and bonded with a guy you dated for a while, the memories they created with him may be too fresh for them to even think about mommy loving someone else. Your children date who you date, and even if you have moved on and are ready to love again, they may still need time to heal and process the end of the relationship.
Most children want their parents to be together, so if your ex is their father, they may not be ready to see you with someone else. Both mother and father deserve to be happy and find love in someone new, so it’s not about getting permission – it’s about considering their feelings. Talk to them and explain that their parents don’t have to be together in order to love them. Their ages and maturity level will determine how in-depth and meaningful this conversation will be, so handle their feelings with care. If the ex isn’t their father, but they grew to love him as one, give it time to let the old memories fade and keep the new guy away for a little while until they are less vulnerable.
4. Is He Father Material?
There’s nothing wrong with being in the market for a husband, but if you have children, you must also determine if he’s father material as well. Has he discussed his feeling about fatherhood with you? Is he comfortable being a step-parent, and does he want children of his own? Are you willing to have more children? Is he a father already and do you agree on core values and parenting styles? These are all questions you have to ask and have answered honestly before you consider introducing him to your child.
Discuss with him the role you see him playing in your family, and also ask your child how he or she would view someone new in their lives and their expectations of a father figure. Get everyone involved in the “fatherhood” conversation and make sure you all are in agreement.
5. No Pressure
Most children view their parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend as an intruder. If you’ve determined that the relationship is a committed one and is serious enough for your man to meet your child, but your child still seems uncomfortable with you dating, make sure you do everything possible to make everyone comfortable. Be sure to mention his name a few times and tell your children little things about him before the introduction takes place so they don’t feel like they’re meeting a complete stranger. It’ll be weird for them to meet someone they’ve never heard of before.
Also, make the introduction in a kid-friendly environment so that your child doesn’t see him as an outsider, which means no introductions should be made at home if you can help it. Make the introduction some place social with lots of people around so that your child can meet your “friend” without feeling trapped. Perhaps you can have a movie date with other children, visit an amusement park or attend a birthday party so that your child, and your man, can interact with other people in case either feels uncomfortable or awkward. This takes the pressure off of everyone to “click” right away, and your children and your new partner can get to know each other organically.
6. Does it Feel Right?
While there are certainly no perfect relationships, you may feel like your man is perfect for YOU. But if you are even the least bit doubtful about anything in your relationship, hold of making an introduction until all issues are resolved. You want to be able to talk about your relationship with enthusiasm to your children, but you also want to make them feel that you’re not taking any love away from them either. Your children should feel like their lives are being enriched with extra love and support from your partner, so be careful with your timing so that they don’t wind up hurt by your choices. Every parent should use their best judgment and be honest with themselves and their family before making any decisions that impact them. While parent dating situations may not be easy for children to deal with at first, the adults involved can help them along with thoughtful consideration and decision-making – and possibly grow into a healthy, happy family.