You've met a guy who makes your heart swoon, gives you butterflies and all around makes you feel happy. Although you believe firmly in your relationship with your boyfriend, if he has children, you must also consider your relationship with them, too. Meeting your boyfriend's children for the first time can be worrisome, but with a positive mindset, you can approach them with the same love and respect that you have for their father.
Dating someone with children means that you need to accept and incorporate his children into your life, while also being respectful of the fact that his children may still be adjusting to the reality of their father being single. Before deciding to meet your boyfriend's children, have a serious discussion with him about the nature of your relationship, where it is going and what role he expects you to have in his children's lives.
The relationship that you share with your boyfriend did not form overnight, and the same is true for your relationship with his children. Chances are, the children have a relationship with their mother that may cause some initial mixed feelings about you. Introduce yourself to your boyfriend's children in small steps, such as casually meeting while running errands, then stepping up to small gatherings to allow them to time to get to know and accept you. Another factor to consider is that young children rely heavily on routines. A change to a child's routines may result in temper tantrums or other disruptive behavior. Remind yourself that they, too, are dealing with the new emotions of having you in their lives and may require time to fully open up to you.
The age of your boyfriend's children also should play a significant role in how you introduce yourself to them. If your boyfriend has teenage or adult children, you may connect with them on a more mature level than you would with young children. Meeting over lunch or at a small social outing may be a good way to break the ice to older children. Young children are often most comfortable in their own element, which may include their house, favorite park or a family-friendly restaurant. Young children can be intimidated by the sheer size of adults and may shy away from them until the adults have earned their trust. Getting down to eye-level with young children can alleviate this intimidation and enable them to lower their defenses when interacting with you.
Including yourself in the lives of your boyfriend's children should be a collaborative measure. Work together with your boyfriend to discuss when, where and how introducing yourself to his children might be most successful. After the initial meeting, remaining open and sensitive to the children's needs to move forward together.
- Education Resources Information Center: Evidence-Based Counseling Interventions with Children of Divorce: Implications for Elementary School Counselors
- Evergreen Public Schools: Temper Tantrums: Guidelines for Parents
- BBC Health: Introducing a New Partner
- Utah State University: What are the Possible Consequences of Divorce for Adults?
- NewsForParents.org: When Should a Single Mom Introduce Kids to Her New Boyfriend?
- YourSocialWorker.com: Introducing New Partner Too Fast, Too Soon
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