Dating after divorce with small children
Most importantly, parents need to empathize and understand that it may take a while for a child to understand, said Aman.“There is also a grieving period where there are tons of tears and kids are in need of tons of cuddles and attention,” said Aman.
Give them this time before introducing a new person into their lives.
Tell them ‘I’ll still come to all your soccer games, you can still have playmates at our house, I’ll still tuck you in at night, but some nights there will be a babysitter for you to hang out with',” said Chansky.
Verbalize Feelings For young children, provide examples about dating that relate to their personal experiences.
Chansky recommends phrases such as, “You know how happy you are when you play over at your friend’s house, and sometimes you get grumpy if you haven’t had friends over in a while. Mom needs to spend time with friends just like you.”When talking with teens, be open ended and respectful of their feelings.
When a divorced parent begins dating, it can be an anxious time for children and parents alike.
Children often question if they will be forgotten or if the parent will not have enough time for them while parents are struggling with a balance of taking care of their children’s needs and their own need to move on.“For children, parents' dating is a concrete and clear sign that their parents are not going to get back together.
and it’s an adjustment realizing that they have to share their parent with another person,” said Dr.
Tamar Chansky, a leading anxiety psychologist and author of “Freeing Yourself from Anxiety and Freeing Your Child From Anxiety.”Though as with any change there may be growing pains along the way, leave room for the possibility that this could be a good thing for all, said Chansky.
Empathize Depending on how long ago you and your ex-spouse divorced, children often struggle with a feeling of disloyalty when approached with a new person or partner in their parents’ lives.
“It helps younger kids (5 to 10) to understand the concept of divorce before their parents’ date,” said Jodi Lobozzo Aman, a New York-based psychotherapist.
“They don’t understand how people can love each other and then not any more.”Aman recommends explaining the concept of divorce in general terms versus focusing on the specific problems in the marriage.
Discuss the need to establish new traditions, routines and even new friendships.