Dating And Single Parents

It feels like the time is right. But will your kids be cool with the idea of you dating? The answer is a resounding yes.

By Laura Schaeffer

ou’ve started to think about dating again. Your friends have started introducing you to people and sending you links to online personal ads.

With a little sensitivity and a lot of talking, this process can stay
Tell your children that they are still the most important part of your life.
painless. Try these these six tips when you introduce the topic of dating to your kids:

Start a dialogue
No matter what you say, your children will appreciate the fact that you’re considering their feelings and open to opinions. Chances are, after they realize that your dating life doesn’t have a huge impact on their day-to-day existence, they’ll go back to talking about what they did in school today.

Reassure them
Tell your children that they are still the most important part of your life. Take time to preserve routines and integrate your new special someone slowly into the mix. Less disruption means calmer campers.

Reassure them again
Make sure they understand that they will always be taken care of. It helps if you can spend quality time with your new partner when the kids are with the
There are a lot of thoughtful parents out there who deserve to meet someone special.
other parent or with someone else they trust implicitly. Kids need to believe that you won’t run off with your new love or leave them with a babysitter they don’t like.

Set some ground rules
Children should know they must treat your date with respect, just as they must treat all adults politely. If you insist on this point, everyone will be happier.

Include them
It is essential for children to get to know the new man or woman in your life—but only if you’re fairly certain this person may be around for a while. Passing dates or acquaintances need not concern the kids. To make everyone more comfortable, plan activities the children will enjoy and invite your date along. Trips to the zoo, the park or the museum are a good low-pressure way for everyone to get used to each other.

Your children will take their cues from you. If you are happy and easy-going about this new phase in your life, they’ll relax as well.

Reentering the dating scene can be a little stressful, but if you take it slowly, everyone will be just fine. There are a lot of thoughtful parents out there who deserve to meet someone special. Even moms and dads must have a fulfilling romantic life.

Enjoy it while you can, though. Soon your kids will be asking to go out on dates of their own. You will realize then that handling your own social life was a piece of cake in comparison to worrying about theirs.

Laura Schaeffer is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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