Breaking the Ice: Introducing the Kids to Your New Flame

By Contel Bradford

Note: This is Part 1 of two-part series on tips for introducing your new partner to your children. Click here to read Part 2.

Breaking up is never easy. Especially when that breakup involves emotion, divorce and children.  I’ve dealt with my own “macho man” complex, but all it took was four words to leave me balling in the corner like a baby: I want a divorce.

It can be a rough ride, but finding love again is very possible. If things are going well, the time will come when you teeter with the idea of introducing your new flame to the kids. Piece of cake?  Far from it. Making her feel accepted and your kids feel comfortable is no easy feat. However, you must put forth a valiant effort because the way you handle the introduction will impact all parties involved. It’s enough to bring on the little gray hairs far too early.

Of course nothing is etched in stone, but here are a few practical guidelines that will help you pull off a smooth introduction.

Is It Time?

Before introducing the kids to your new lady, you should first determine if the time is right.  You’re one lucky guy if you went out and got a keeper on the first try. Most guys need a few laps through the dating cycle and encounter a number of potential mates. It may be tempting if you run across someone you like a lot, but the last thing you want to do is introduce your children to every other hot date that comes along.

Preferably, you want to be in a relationship where both you and your new flame are committed to one another. This way, both of you are more likely to be on the same page and ready to make the move. Timing is crucial because if you blow it here you may end up confusing your children and make a difficult situation that more straining.

 

Prep Your Partner

A good woman will want to leave a great first impression on your children. Keep in mind, though, that at this point she’s probably more nervous than you. The anxiety is understandable because there is a lot riding on the line here. I have experienced firsthand how an introduction can go terribly wrong and permanently damage relationships between partners and kids.

Problems may arise when your new girl either leans too far this way or too far that way, under a tremendous amount of pressure to be super friendly and engaging. Sure, she might have good intentions, but overdoing it is a quick way to leave the wrong kind of impression. The best thing you can do is tell her to relax and be herself.  Remember, this is only the first meeting. There is no need for either of you to put so much into it.

 

The Meeting Place   

Figuring out the location to host the introduction can be tricky. I certainly wouldn’t recommend a movie and popcorn in the TV room. All the silence between munching could open the window to unsettling discomfort. You also may want to avoid any place where they will be left alone together for long periods of time. The ideal meeting place would be somewhere in a more casual, social environment that helps eliminate as much as stress as possible. Maybe a park or your child’s favorite restaurant.

Perhaps the best advice is to simply ask your kids. Let them know you are arranging the date and would like their opinion on the meeting spot. Most kids know what they like and what will make them the most comfortable. It’s definitely worth a shot.

 

Note: This is Part 1 of two-part series on tips for introducing your new partner to your children. Click here to read Part 2.

 

Contel Bradford is a professional freelance writer, journalist, and published author of multiple books. He specializes in many areas, including legal, divorce, and family-related topics. You can learn more about his services by visiting www.contelbradford.com.

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