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interraciallife.com article

DATING AS A SINGLE PARENT www.interraciallife.com Interracial Dating Site

Post date: 2007-01-25

Whether or not you have children of your own, getting to know your new partners children can be a potential minefield. They may well still be missing having both parents around full time and will undoubtedly view a new partner coming into the family with some suspicion. If this is the first relationship for your partner since their split from the other parent, their children may see you as an obstacle to their parents getting back together. If this happens, remember their hostility is not really directed at you, however it may seem, it is entirely due to their sense of loss of the family unit theyíre used to as well as possibly their family home.

However, getting to know your partners children can enrich both your life and theirs. A happy step-family in which everyone feels secure and loved can be a great place to be for all of you. The key to achieving this is getting it right at the start. If the introductions are done well, you have a great basis on which to build a positive, constructive relationship with your partnerís kids. This can only enhance your relationship with your partner!

If you both have children, it is probably better to meet each others kids separately before you get them together. If you have had a chance to get to know your partnerís kids a little first, you stand some chance of knowing how the two families might interact with each other. It will also give you a chance to give your attention to your partnerís children without having to deal with the inevitable trials and tribulations of your own Ė particularly if the green eyed monster rears its ugly head! Take a look at introducing a new partner for advice on how to handle the situation when itís your turn.

"Donít be offended if you have been described
as a friend rather than partner..."

Check with your partner beforehand what their children think the relationship between you both is. Donít be offended if you have been described as a friend rather than partner, or even ďsomeone I just metĒ or an equally vague description. Keeping it low key can make the introduction so much less of an issue for the kids and that will make things easier for all of you. Just remember to play the role! Constant kissing and cuddling might just give the game away if youíre just meant to be passing acquaintances.

Once the initial introduction is over, try to keep the meeting on a casual level. Involve the kids in conversation where they want to join in but donít interview them about their lives and interests - let them set the pace. Shared interests can be a great way to develop a conversation but kids will see straight through you if you feign a love of dinosaurs or aeroplanes when actually youíd be hard pressed to tell the difference!

Your partner will almost certainly be feeling a little tense about how the first meeting goes and kids inevitably pick up on the atmosphere. If they behave appallingly towards you, it may be a sign that they are completely out of control but itís more likely that they are reacting to the situation. Donít attempt to discipline them or comment on any bad behaviour, except maybe where life and limb is in genuine peril. Your partner has managed without you up until this point and no one will appreciate intervention however well meant. Shared disciplining comes a lot later in the relationship and at a slow, pre agreed pace!

"...it takes time and patience to gain
childrens trust ..."

However worried you may feel about this first meeting, it is unlikely to be anywhere near as bad as you may fear and there is normally no reason for it not to be a positive experience for everyone. However, it takes time and patience to gain their trust and really build an understanding with them so donít expect too much too soon.

As time moves on, spend time with you partners kids by helping them with something they are having trouble with, whether itís maths homework (if youíre up to it) or a puzzle with an elusive piece! Do activities with them that they enjoy as well. A bike ride, trip to a swimming pool, or playing Star Wars on their Playstation will give you time together without it being too intense or contrived. Itís the normal day to day things that help kids feel relaxed and comfortable and will help you to get to know each other better.

Establish with your partner early on what your role in the family is and make sure you all know where you stand. If the kids have two actively involved parents, they are unlikely to need another. However, if they are living with you or staying with you on a regular basis, you are entitled to be involved in some of the rule making in the home and in any case should expect to be treated with a degree of respect. However, donít forget that his has to be a two way process. You canít expect children to be polite and well mannered towards you unless you treat them with consideration and respect also.

As the relationship grows and you find more common ground, there will be those special moments when you first share a joke, or an upset child turns to you for comfort and you realise your partners kids have become an integral part of your life as well, and you can no longer imagine life without them.
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