Coping with parent dating relationships is rarely easy on kids. Once you've begun talking openly about your relationship, though, you can begin thinking about how you'd like to make the initial introductions. Peter Sheras, a clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia, and the author of I Can't Believe You Went Through My Stuff!: How to Give Your Teens the Privacy They Crave and the Guidance They Need, recommends that parents plan on introducing the kids "within a couple of months of declaring yourself in a serious relationship."
When it comes to making the actual introductions, you'll want to plan an informal outing or activity. Ideally, you wan to create a situation where everyone can be themselves, relax, and have a good time. A brief activity, such as going out for pizza or playing a quick round of miniature golf, gives everyone a chance to meet, but doesn't create a situation where lengthy conversation is needed.
When planning for the initial introductions:
- Plan something fun
- Be yourself
- Include your kids in an activity you can all do together
Accepting parent dating relationships may be a slow process for your kids. Ultimately, your top priority at this time is reassuring your children that you love them unconditionally and that you intend to always be with them. In time they will see that including another person in your life is not about splitting your affections; it's an opportunity to widen the circle of people you all choose to care about and welcome into your family.