She taped a note to my lunchbox,
“I love you, Be a Good Little Girl”.
Day after day, year after year, always the same.
But he isn’t listening again.
She shakes her head but does not move her lips.
Listen closely, this is when she is saying the most.
It is when she keeps quiet
instead of telling him what she means
that I learn what she really meant
to “Be a Good Little Girl”.
Welcome back to the second and final installment of answering your single parent dating questions! I’d like to thank Dating Dad and Define Relationship so much for being a part of this and helping out fellow single parent daters!
What’s the best way to introduce your children to your SO? (from Single Mom Strong Traveler)
DD: For this one I’d definitely spend some time building up to it. The kids need to know that this person is serious, and that they make you happy. If you’re happy then they are more likely to be too, so positive association is key. I plan on doing this in a neutral place so there’s no sense of home or space invasion; it’s corny, but something like a funfair would be perfect. Lots to distract and occupy, and without any need to force conversation for very long. Wherever it was done, it would need to be treated very carefully and with the kids at the heart of it all. Softly, softly would be the order of the day, with not too much overt smushy stuff between the two of you in order to reinforce that the new SO is never going to come between parents and kids.
DR: For the first meet I invited him round to my house and both kids were there. I had told them he was a good friend and we saw each other a lot. I let them ask me questions after they had met him and I answered them honestly.
Would you be okay with your SO getting involved in parenting discussions with ex and yourself? (from Single Parent Network )
DD: Ooh, now this is a tough one. It’s tough to say for sure, but ultimately yes, as they are going to be (to a greater or lesser extent) co-parenting the kids 50% of the time so shouldn’t feel like a tacked on extra. They might or might not have as much experience of parenting as I do, but they will have their own methods and ideas which will need to be part of the whole discussion and approach as, in my opinion, the key to parenting is consistency. If they’re getting one thing from one parent and something totally different from a step-parent then only trouble can come of it.
To make it more personal regarding my own situation, this is very tricky for me as not only is my ex-wife’s boyfriend the person she had an affair with (thus ending the marriage), but he is also 16 years her junior, making him only 7 years older than my eldest daughter. I appreciate that I have a natural aversion to him, but in my opinion not only is he not a good role model for them but, at 21 years old, there is no way on earth he is capable of or has the life experience to help raise them when he is barely out of his teens himself. Whilst I would expect my new SO to be able to engage with my ex, and while I would ultimately like to be on professional parenting terms with any new (grown-up) partner she meets, I just can’t ever see myself having any form of parenting discussion with her current boyfriend.
DR: Absolutely not. Ever.
I would let him sort his own kids out with the mother of his children. I would not get involved. I would keep my nose out as it is up to them two. My philosophy is that too much input would confuse everything and could end up in drama if I disagreed with what she said and vice versa.
I’ve been asking quite a few questions about dating as a single parent and I’d like to offer advice for readers in the same position. Unfortunately my lack of knowledge and personal experience made me feel that I wasn’t the right person for the job. So I’ve enlisted some blogger friends with first hand knowledge to answer your questions! Our male perspective is Dating Dad and Define Relationship is our woman’s perspective!
When do you introduce suitor to kids (before or after official ) (from Single Parent Network)
DD: It’s a tough one, as I’ve not actually done it yet! I’ve always told my kids that they are number one in my life, and that if there’s a serious problem between them and whomever I’m seeing that nothing will come between me and them. This puts tonnes of reassurance out there for my kids (which is useful as my ex is doing the opposite), but also puts a fair amount of pressure on those first few meetings!
I don’t plan on introducing anyone until I’m sure that the relationship has legs and I’m sure that who I’m seeing both understands the importance of meeting my kids as well as actually wants to meet them. I put less of a timeframe on it than others as there are so many variables, but we would have to be super solid first and ready to kick on to the next level. And I’m not talking about being willing to change our Facebook status to “in a relationship”.
I’ve got four kids, ranging in age from 5-13, and they all know I’m dating. We spoke about it early on – in fact, they actively encouraged it as they wanted me to find someone to help make me happy. My 13 year old has even bumped into me on the way to dates as she’s been on her way home from friend’s houses to her mothers.
That being said, I don’t really talk about it with them as I don’t want them to invest too much into anything. Until I’m in a relationship which I want to lead somewhere and think will lead somewhere I won’t even mention people’s names, simply that I went out somewhere nice or spoke to someone interesting.
DR: Depends on how comfortable I feel and if it’s going to last. I was with a guy for four months then introduced him to both my kids. We were official then but I would not if we were just dating. Although I was official with a guy for a year and never introduced him to them.
Should you tell your kids about every date – that you’re dating at all? (from Life in the USA)
DD: For this one I’d definitely spend some time building up to it. The kids need to know that this person is serious, and that they make you happy. If you’re happy then they are more likely to be too, so positive association is key.
I plan on doing this in a neutral place so there’s no sense of home or space invasion; it’s corny, but something like a funfair would be perfect. Lots to distract and occupy, and without any need to force conversation for very long.
Wherever it was done, it would need to be treated very carefully and with the kids at the heart of it all. Softly, softly would be the order of the day, with not too much overt smushy stuff between the two of you in order to reinforce that the new SO is never going to come between parents and kids.
DR: I don’t tell my children about every date I’m going on. I tell them where I am going and what time I will be back and I am out with a ‘friend.’