Making the children comfortable around your new boyfriend or girlfriend.
By Shanika Sealy for BounceBack.com
The divorce/relationship is over. A new charming guy/gal has brought back the smiles and happiness. The chemistry is excellent. He or she is adventurous, caring, and sweet. Everyday the relationship gets more exciting and creates room to take more steps towards a potential relationship but the children aren't feeling the same excitement.
Related: Divorce; Your Kids Are Hurting, Too
Children tend to have several reasons for hating their parent's new significant other. When conducting interviews to parents, most answers given were: the children did not like the idea of their parent having a new beau/gal, someday hoping their parents will reunite, and missing the parent spending all their time with them.
Some marriages/relationships have lasted for centuries whereas some have last for 72 days. During the marriages, children become attached to the commitment between their parents. Over the years, they remember how the parents communicated and exposed affections towards each other. Presently, the children have been viewing similar actions by their parent with a new face and not with their father or mother. The children can start to become slight jealous.
Solution : Don't smooch in front of the children until they feel comfortable around him/her.
Related: Bouncing Back With Kids
When couples decide to divorce or break up, children anticipate for their parents to tell each other sorry and get back together (some parents do reconcile). They would rather see their mother reunite with their father and their father reunite with their mother. Sadly, in some cases, it doesn't happen. Having a high expectation about reconciliation causes the children to become jealous. They will assume he/she is the cause of why the parents aren't reconciling.
Solution : If there is a civil relationship between the ex-husband/boyfriend, the solution can help. If the relationship is not civil at this time, disregard the solution and have a private talk with the children.
Set up a lunch or dinner date with the children and ex-husband/boyfriend. Parents should never want to hurt their children feelings, so think of the easiest way to help them understand. Be clear in explaining the love, friendship, and the willingness to always be there for protection. This sudden change in the family is not their fault. Make it very clear that the significant other will not replace their mom or dad. Most important of all, and hard as this can be for some, keep the relationship with your ex-husband/boyfriend as civil as possible in front of the children.
Before the new charming beau/gal came into the picture, weekdays and weekends were filled with soccer, Chuck-E-Cheese, movies, family games, etc. All personal time was spent with the children. The beau/gal comes around on weekends, family events and family dinners. Some children may miss that time spent with their parents and unfold resentment.
Solution : Always talk to the children and ask what they are feeling. Communication is the key to resolving problems and releasing emotions.
Related: Single Parents: Should You Be a Friend To Your Child?
The biological parent is the middle person so he/she must think of ways to bring each side together. Continue to enjoy the new relationship but divide the time between the children and beau/gal. Plan days for spending time with the children only. When the children are spending time with the ex-husband/boyfriend, take advantage of the free time for the new relationship.
When everyone is together, be more involved with the children and make them feel part of the relationship. Once the children start to feel important to the relationship, they will feel more confident and less resistant towards the new significant other.
Parents are humans that want to continue living their lives, which can include a new partner. Starting over is great and don't stop doing anything that will keep a smile on your face, but when children are involved, parents must acknowledge their feelings and opinions, too.
Parents should do two things before introducing their new guy/gal to their children:
1. Get to know the guy/gal fully before a direct intro.
2. Have a talk with the children about taking the next steps in the relationship before a direct intro.
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Don't Go Into Divorce Blind
SealyPat is an aspiring novelist, writer, and journalist. She is currently working on her first novel and attends Lehman College, Bronx, N.Y.