Introducing your new partner to your kids – the when, where and hows
Introducing your new partner to your children is an important decision which can potentially have an impact on the dynamics for everyone involved, including your children, your new partner and your ex partner. The following are some tips that can help you through this process in a way that is child focused and respectful for all.
- Make sure you are in a lasting and long-term relationship. It can be a lovely stage of a relationship – the new part – and sharing that excitement with those close to you is part of what makes it special. But your children don’t need to meet each of the people you may date, so be selective in who you introduce them to and ‘test run’ your new relationship on your adult friends and family, until you are sure.
- Inform the child’s other parent about your decision yourself, so that they don’t end up learning about it from your child or from social media.
- Where appropriate to your circumstances, and particularly where your child is young, offer a meeting between the other parent and your new partner. This generally helps to maintain trust and transparency, for everyone’s benefit.
- Depending on your child’s age, introduce the new partner simply as a friend and keep it casual. Consider introducing the child to the new partner in a casual, child friendly environment such as the park. Keep the pressure off your child having to do, be or say something or anything until the child has become more familiar and comfortable with your new partner.
- It’s natural for you to want your partner and your child to be close with each other. But don’t rush or force that relationship. By allowing time and space for your child to warm up to your new partner will create a more successful bond between them.
- Give your child the opportunity, and permission, to express their thoughts or emotions about your new relationship, without your new partner being present. Doing this ensures your child knows you’re still putting their feelings first.
Remember to go slow and give it time. Adding someone into the family dynamic means adjustments for everyone. Keeping the lines of communication open between your child, your new partner and your co-parent can go a long way to smoothing the transition.
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