The issue of “When should I introduce him/her to my child?” is one that often arises amongst newly divorced singles. Depending on when you finalized your divorce, your children may not be ready to meet a fatherly or motherly figure just yet. It is very important for you to approach this very carefully and methodically. In my experience as a divorce attorney and family lawyer in Bergen County and Monmouth County New Jersey, below are three tips that I have witnessed help women deciding on when and how to introduce children to their new partner.
Wait A While
The intermingling of children after a divorce, if done too soon, can do more harm than good. I can understand that you’re probably trying to regain a sense of normalcy post-divorce, and your children might be needing additional support. However, it is best to take your time with inviting them into your new relationship. Try asking them questions to “check the temperature” and to discover how they feel about you dating. Based on their response or hesitance, it will tell you everything you need to know. Certainly, you are the parent, and your children shouldn’t have the final seal of approval on when to introduce your partner to them. But, I highly recommend having an honest conversation about your dating life with them first.
Understandably, this is a big deal for you and the person you’re dating. While it is a big deal, you should try your best not to stress about this situation either. Play it cool as much as possible. Be mindful that your children will pick up on your energy. Therefore, remain calm, easygoing, and don’t stress out about the meeting. Your boyfriend or girlfriend may need some time to open up to your children, and vice versa. To help you remain cool, I recommend bringing some card games or bringing up a trending topic that your children can talk to both of you about.
Pick A Fun Location
In this instance, location is everything. Instead of meeting at a restaurant or the movies for the first time, try going to a bowling alley, a nearby park, or even hiking. These environments naturally welcome conversations that aren’t forced. Also, friendly competition (at the bowling alley) and being amongst natural sunlight are both fun and relaxing. This is a win-win situation to set your children and dating partner up for success during your initial meeting with them.
In conclusion, your children might be hesitant to meet your new partner after your divorce. However, your approach, patience, and transparency could definitely influence them to meet the new person in your life, sooner than later. Just remember to not rush it, remain calm, and choose a family-friendly location for all of you to meet.
This article contains general information and opinions from Sheena Burke Williams and is not intended to be a source of legal advice for any purpose. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information included in this article without seeking legal advice of counsel. Sheena Burke Williams expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any content in this article.