Monday, 24 July 2017

When to introduce your children to a new partner?

Is there ever a ‘right’ time to introduce your children to your new partner? Each family is different and there are many factors to be taken into account particularly how the children will react.

Children may still be holding onto the hope that their parents will reconcile and to hear that one or both of their parents has a new partner can be an emotionally challenging and confusing time for them. Of course the age of your child will affect how and when you break the news to them.

As a rule of thumb it is important any new relationship is at a stage whereby it has a future, is a happy relationship and is stable. Some say this is anything from 6 months onwards. It can cause far more harm to your children to continually introduce them to a new partner only weeks later to be introducing them to another new partner.

And what about your new partner – how will they feel about being introduced to your children? They may not have children of their own and may themselves be nervous and unsure as to the road ahead. They themselves may have children and consideration not only needs to be given to the children meetings your new partner but also both sets of children meeting each other.

Here are some helpful tips to consider when introducing your children to your partner:
  • Talk to your children - explain you have a new partner and would like at some point to introduce them to him or her.
  • Keep the first meeting short – it helps to go somewhere neutral such as a café or park.
  • Don’t arrange an overnight stay straight away.
  • Give your children lots of reassurances – your new partner isn’t going to replace their mum or dad.
  • Consider how their mum or dad will feel about you introducing your new partner to your children.
It is likely to take your children some time to accept a new person in your life but with careful planning and support for your children you will be able to sensibly navigate you way through. 

Remember to consider the time since separation, the age of your children and the level of commitment to your new partner.

It is helpful to talk to your former partner and discuss how in the future you intend to both introduce new partners to your children. This can form part of the discussions within the collaborative process to ensure a smooth transition for your children with the support of both of their parents.

Contact Bayside Collaborative for more information

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