When is the best time for a single mom to introduce her new partner to her kids?
Many Solo Moms ask how long they should wait before introducing their kids to a new significant other. Experts agree there is no perfect amount of time that dating parents should wait before introducing a new potential partner into their children’s lives. It often depends on the relationship between the parents and children, and the maturity of the children. However, it is widely held that the longer you can wait, the better.
New York–based family therapist and divorced mom Emma Howell, LCSW, says she errs on the conservative side and usually gives clients a timeline where she has the children learn about the significant other’s existence after the parent and significant other have been dating for at least six months. She often suggests introducing the significant other to kids honestly after nine months to a year.
Howell says, “I feel the extra time gives a bit more security to a relationship that will inevitably be impacted by the introduction of children to the mix. For children as old as 7 and 9, it is important to present the person honestly. Although it is tempting to say the person is ‘Mama’s new friend,’ children are very savvy and will see through this immediately. The last thing you want is children who feel like they are being tricked or their parent is sneaking something by them. It is essential they feel their parent is being honest so they can feel safe and secure in their place in their parent’s heart when it may, at times, feel they now have to share her.”
Howell also suggests that Solo Moms keep displays of affection toward the significant other subdued and overnights with that person at bay for some time after the meeting with the children takes place.
Annette Powers is a Solo Mom who lives in Brooklyn, New York. A communications professional, she writes about divorce, coparenting, and culture in her spare time. You can follow her on Twitter @annettepowers
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.