Communication with your kids is key when dating after a divorce or seperation

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Divorce or separation can be difficult for both parents and children. Things can get even more complicated when the guardians decide to start dating again but research shows with caution, timely introduction and communication dating with kids need not ruin the parent-child relationship.

Introducing the kids to the new partner early can cause strain in the parent-child relationship and in turn affecting the new union.

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According to a study by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a father who had a divorce and after remarried or got another partner complicated the relationship with their children as they get into adult.

Children’s opinions on their parents may also change, with younger ones feeling insecure of having to share their parents, teenagers feel troubled and confused about their parents’ sexual life while some are protective when they have witnessed their parents’ bad marriages.

However, learning the best practices when dating with kids can provide a smooth transition and success of the relationship. For instance finding the most appropriate time to introduce your kids to your partner can help both adopt easily.

The most important part while bringing in a new partner after having taken your time is identifying the best location for the first meeting.

“I suggest doing an activity together – try go-karting, skating or just going for a walk. This way, your children won't have to focus entirely on the new person and they'll feel more relaxed in a play environment. This also gives you the opportunity to observe how your new partner interacts with your kids. Of course, this relationship will also change and develop over time,” said Dr Constance Ahrons, a sociologist and author.

“Unlike younger kids, adolescents may appear more accepting of your new partner, but they may still perceive that person as a threat to your relationship. Teenagers may also find open affection between their parent and a partner troubling – so go easy on physical contact in front of them. Do you want your teenager to model their behavior after you? If so, you owe it to yourself and your kids to build new relationships thoughtfully.”

In a study conducted by Dr Ahrons on Family ties after divorce: Long-term implications for children in the journal family process, children found their parents second relationships stressful.

“Over the course of 20 years, most of the children experienced the remarriage of one or both parents, and one third of this sample described the remarriage as more stressful than the divorce. Of those who experienced the remarriage of both of their parents, two thirds reported that their father’s remarriage was more stressful than their mother’s.”

With the challenge of being a single parent, finding a life partner and making your kids comfortable parents can manage to have a happy life by adopting such steps that will enable a smooth transition to another relationship while maintain a good one with their children.

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