Introducing your children to your date can be tricky. Hear are some questions to consider to make the meeting a positive experience for everyone.
In my experience, every single dad has a few questions to answer and a couple of rules to follow before they activate their social life around their kids. Most importantly, make sure you know what type of introduction you are making. Many single dads have both male and female friends that are involved in their family activities. These platonic introductions are easy and healthy, because it is easy for children to see the relationship between family friends and their Dad. However, this article is about introducing the woman in your life to your kids. This can be a much more complicated and tricky meeting. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before mixing your family and love life.
Time and Frequency
Ask yourself how much time are you spending with the new interest in your life? Once, twice, three times a week? Is this taking “prime time” away from your kids? Are there too many calls, text, or e-mails interrupting your time with them? Do a quick check up on this and try to be respectful to all parties involved. We typically don’t see this as a problem until it becomes a problem. This is important data to have before making the introduction. If you spend too much time with your love interested, there could be resentment building with your children.
Do your kids know you are dating? If so, to what extent? I don’t see a problem with asking them what they think. LISTEN to what they have to say (that’s right, don’t defend or deflect). Be aware of the level of communication you have with your children. Having a healthy, respectful and open dialog with your children while you are dating is a good thing. I caution any single dad who is still in the process of choosing a steady girlfriend. Multiple girlfriends and multiple introductions are not good for the long term health of your family.
Activity and Environment
Keep the first interactions light and social. Daytime activities can keep the mood light. Plan an activity that interests everyone. If you can’t agree, take a few suggestions, put them in a hat and randomly chose. To avoid fights, save the other suggestions and let the kids know that the other activities will be chosen for future outings. Going to a museum, park, play group or other associated activities takes the seriousness out of the introduction. Also make sure your expectations realistic. I don’t know how many times my friends share their stories with me and I find it fascinating how much they stressed out over the smallest things that happened on the first date. Go easy on yourself and relax. Your kids will take their cues from your actions and body language. If you stay relaxed and positive, the introduction will have a more positive outcome.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do plan outdoor activities that your kids can agree on.
- Don’t make such a big deal about the introduction that you make your kids and girlfriend nervous.
- Do Keep it light and make things fun.
- Don’t plan a night or indoor activities like the movies. They are too confining and they limit the social interaction.
- Don’t plan an all day activity.
- Do keep it short. A few hours are fine.
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Don’t overdo the PDAs. Be respectful to your kids and don’t make the uncomfortable by overt displays of affection.
- Do keep realistic expectations.
- Do stay relaxed and have fun
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”