Friday, December 16

Dating Again After Divorce

Okay, so you're ready to start dating again. But as if that road wasn't already filled with potholes waiting for you to fall into, now you've also got to think about how your children will react.

Some single parents find that their dating seems to disturb their parent-child relationship. Your child may resent your special friend, or at the opposite extreme, treat each date as a potential stepparent. Some single parents resort to dishonesty and sneaking out. Others just do not talk about it and try to minimize the child's awareness that the parent is dating. Still other seek the child's approval before dating. None of these approaches is particularly healthy.

Try explaining to your child that people can be loyal to several relationships at the same time. Children need to become aware of multiple roles. child, sibling, friend, cousin, grandchild, neighbor, teammate, student, etc. Talk about adult roles: parent, friend, adult child, employee, etc. Stress the importance of the relationship that you and your child have, explaining that children and parents should not give up their own relationships with others. Relationships help both children and adults grow and enjoy each other. Here are some specific techniques that help children understand their parent's social life:

1. Be honest. Children usually find out anyway.

2. Choose dates that are right for you, not your child.

3. Minimize opportunities for conflict between your dates and your child. Do not force them to spend lots of time together early in the relationship.

4. Be discrete. Children may have trouble understanding parental dating behavior.

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