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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dating with Children, Part 1: Putting the Children First

By now if you are following my blogs you will notice I say dating is challenging a lot. Well, the concrete jungle of dating is even more difficult if there are children in the mix. An ingredient that is very important within this dating mix is the consideration of the children’s minds and hearts. 

If you are dating and not looking to get serious; you are just in it to have a good time, the children don’t fully understand this. They are using what they see as a blueprint for the navigation of their own lives. They are using your guide to mould their values, so they need to feel safe with your actions. Your self-conduct while dating is powerful, the models you create shape their behaviour in love and life, from a very young age. 

It is  not a good idea to mix your life as a parent with dating life until the relationship you are in is established, and adequate preparation was done to introduce the new partner to the children. 
At the point of introduction, this new partner should be the only one in the picture. No other potential contenders. Children get easily attached, so their hearts are deeply broken when a partner suddenly leaves and they get confused if someone moves in again too quickly. They are in the dating game with you, plus their experience with the changes could be more devastating than yours. The child is forming new experiences, all your actions and what you introduce them to has an impact, the bad and good. So your unrestrained frog kissing hurts them greatly. As such, I believe the parent and ex-partner should explain age appropriately why they will no longer be together. Maybe the blow to the child could be softened if they understand that the relationship is not working because they are not happy together.

Every single parent would agree that their children must take first priority. However, living up to this is challenging when “love chemicals,” is in play. But, remember your child’s welfare must remain your focus. I am not suggesting giving up dating until the children are fully grown. I am saying happy, healthy children are nurtured by parents who make decisions that are wise.