As a single parent, a lot of things become more challenging. One of these things is dating. Not only do you have the logistical challenges (babysitter, finances, being sleep deprived), but you also have a lot of additional questions about how to approach dating with your little guy or girl (or both) in mind. The biggest question that we hear that we want to address today is whether or not you should let your kids meet your dates.
Before we go any further, we want to make very clear that we are not child psychologist. If you want a truly medical answer on this question, you’re going to need to consult a doctor. What we can offer you is our personal thoughts from experience and from talking to single parents who have been in the dating scene. Sometimes a real world answer trumps the textbook jargon you get anyways.
So let’s dive into this…
In our opinion, the biggest question that decides this is where you are in the dating timeline with someone. If it’s your first date, you 100% should not be introducing your kids to your other date for several reasons. First of all, safety. You haven’t met this person before and if you have you barely know them. There is no reason that you should be putting your kids into potential harm’s way without knowing whether or not you can trust someone.
Second of all, your children are going to get confused if they see a carousel of men or women coming through the house. They’ll start to develop incorrect views about how dating and love are supposed to be. There’s a reason when you’re teaching your kids things you use repetition. This is to avoid confusing them or putting an incorrect message in their head. If they constantly see different guys and girls coming and going, they’ll start to get confused and it’s not healthy for them.
While your happiness is important, protecting your kids should be your number one priority.
When is the Right Time?
So, does that mean the second date is the time to introduce them? Nope. honestly, in our opinion, you shouldn’t be even thinking about introducing your kids to a new dating flame until you are in a committed relationship with that person. Even then, you may want to wait some time just to make sure that things are going to continue.
Imagine if you introduce your kids to someone and they really start to bond with them and then you break up with them. Now your kids are going to be sad because they won’t get to see this person ever again. Are they going to understand why? Probably not. You need to wait until you are sure that this person is going to be around for a while and potentially forever. Remember, your kids are your top priority here no matter what.
What if They Have Kids Too?
One thing we do see is that people will follow these suggestions to a T…unless both parties have kids. In those situations, they think that it’s totally ok to set up play dates immediately and not worry about any of this. While this might seem logical to you, it doesn’t make the situation any different. If anything, it makes the situation more complex.
If you are both single parents, that’s great. You can talk about this as much as you want, but it doesn’t mean that this person is any safer to be around or that you have any better odds of working out, outside of the small bump you get from understanding each other a bit more. In reality, this bump is negligible and you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to bypass the above recommendations.
The Bottom Line
Your kids should come first no matter what. You need to realize that this whole process is going to be difficult on them and will affect them differently depending on what age range they are. Don’t rush things here and focus on building your relationship with this new person first. Don’t start the carousel parade of men or women in front of your children. It’s only going to confuse them and create problems in the long run for them.