More Singles are seeking to learn how to date with kids. There are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC). Only 52 percent of American households are married couples; the rest are single, single-parent households or divorced, and if that’s the case, there’s a great chance that you’re a single parent or perhaps will date and marry a single parent with children. It is then in your best interest to consider the following:
Does your date even like kids?
Don’t simply go by what your date says; you must investigate. If he has children, find out how he has been a parent to them. If he does not have children, is he the favorite uncle in their family? How was he raised and disciplined? Has he demonstrated if he will have the capacity to parent should your relationship progress? Does he respond in anger to children or discipline them appropriately? Can you envision he parenting your children? As you know, parenting is a great responsibility and requires mature adults. Hence, it makes no sense to introduce your children to a “child.” If the person you are dating is not grown up and matured for a relationship or parenting, then you should not introduce your children to them. In fact, you should UN-introduce yourself to him. It’s irrational, meaningless, and absolutely absurd to introduce your children or remain in a relationship with someone that’s not going to be a part of your future. Refuse to date anyone that has not demonstrated that they can improve the lives of your children or be a good influence on them. You can read our latest post on this here.
Baby Mamma Drama
If you’re single and have an interest in someone that has children, you can observe their parenting skills by looking at how well-behaved their children are. Are the children respectful and polite or rude and talking back to their parent or does it seem as if every time you call your date it sounds like there’s a circus in the background? Does your date complain about how he had to go up to the school because Johnny is constantly fighting and getting kicked out of school or failing in grades? And how about relationship drama? If your date has a combative, terrorist-like relationship with the other parent then you probably want to reconsider other relational options until their issues are resolved; unless you want to be enlisted in the war.
Is it time?
How committed is this relationship? If you’ve only gone out on two dates, this is not the time to introduce them to John-John or lil’Nay Nay; you need time to observe your dating partner before you do that. Introducing them before you have determined that this will be a long-term relationship is, quite frankly, unfair to your children. Your children do not need to meet every person you date. Only consider introducing your children when you are in a serious, committed relationship. Not only should you shield yourself from serial dating, but also your children; you need to protect them from becoming emotionally attached to “temporary daddies” or mommies. They need to know that your door is not a revolving one. They also need to understand and establish a healthy mindset concerning the importance of relationships even in their early stages of development.
As you know, break-ups are not easy for adults, how much more for children? Please don’t risk emotional damage to your children because of the temporal pleasure of a short-lived relationship. You want to be especially careful if your children have already experienced divorce because you don’t want to induce any more pain upon them with your constant termination of relationships. Remember, they will be someone else’s wife or husband one day and you don’t want to distort or ruin someone else’s future spouse. Lay a strong foundation for your children about relationships and avoid sending messages that people and relationships are erratic and interchangeable. You want to ensure you are laying a healthy foundation about relationships. Your very own relationship is ultimately a foretelling of your child’s future relationships; it’s a template of what their future relationships will look like because we often mimic how our parents faired in relationships, so date smart.
Are your children ready?
Dating is not just about you. Your children need to know and understand that you are not splitting your affections but adding to the betterment, growth, and happiness of your family. Reaffirm your commitment to your children so that they feel secure and that your relationships will not cause them to feel abandoned. Your top priority is the stability of your children’s emotions and ensuring them of your unconditional love. If it’s anything that children need, it’s security, a stable environment and unconditional love.
If you are a single man that’s interested in a single mom, ensure that her family is economically and emotionally stable and that she is not simply dating you to meet the needs of her children or using you to alleviate her financial burdens. Some people are only interested in being rescued. But if you see that there is value in the relationship and a mutual benefit and you want to be a blessing to her family, by all means, be a gentleman and do so, as you are led by God.
Your children should not see gross levels of physical intimacy between you and your dating partner in the early stages of your relationship. They should see that you are “friends”, establishing a relationship to determine if you two are a fit. I shouldn’t have to say this to grown folk, but I do: ladies, don’t entertain Mr. Tony in your bedroom! Your child(ren) shouldn’t see you being devoured the person you’re dating. Your children should understand that sexual expression is exclusive for the institution of marriage only. Safeguard your child’s mindset of sexual purity.
Do your children like your date?
If you have already introduced your dating partner to your children, getting their thoughts on how they feel about your current relationship is important. Children have a good feel for people, and if little Madison says, ‘I don’t like Mr. Johnny,’ you might want to look into it and not shrug it off. Determine if it’s not the source of rebellion but your child’s inner security system protecting you from what you don’t see.
Can you divide your time?
Though having a significant other is your desire, it does not necessarily warrant that now is the time that you should have one. Relationships require your time. It’s not as if you get any extra hours in a day when you get into a relationship. You get the same 24 hours but now your time has to be divided; you have to let something go or alter your schedule. Ask yourself, “Where will this time come from and what will I have to cut and sacrifice? Do I have time to balance parenting, career and entertain a relationship now?” Time must be factored into deciding whether you should entertain a relationship or not, because something is going to have to be divided or sacrificed. Ask yourself, what will it be? Your children should not feel the blunt of that division or feel neglected now that you have a new interest in your life. A relationship should be an added benefit to your life. Key word: added; it should add to it, not divide it.
On the same page
Introducing your children to someone is not a light matter and should be taken seriously. Discuss what this means with your significant other. Clarify that both of you are on the same page and in the same paragraph; ensuring that you both feel that this is the right time and that your relationship has matured and warrants an introduction to your most precious commodity. What does this mean for us? How will introducing the children affect, alter, or improve our relationship?
Your significant other should know that your children are most important to you and that meeting your children is not trivial or any light matter for you. And the purpose for even introducing your children is because you plan on having a future together and understanding that meeting the children is a part of accomplishing that goal.
I look at my family essentially like it’s a multi-million dollar company and my daughter has a high stake in it. Before merging “companies” with anyone, you need to sit down with the board members. I asked my daughter, Heaven, what she would like to see in a father for her and a husband for me. Children are not the final say in the decision-making. As the president, I have the final say, but the board does have an inclusion. Children will be more accepting of your new relationship when they feel they have not been left out. It will eliminate shock value once you finally introduce someone new to your child(ren), because the future plans of the “company” have already been discussed. You reduce the chances of your merger going “belly up” or bankrupt when your children feel that they’ve been a part of a corporate decision for the advancement of your “company.” In addition, I include my other board of directors, which are my close mentors and counselors. I strongly encourage couples to seek counsel or therapist to help you navigate, assess, and offer guidance in making wise choices in your relationship.
Your initial introduction and the next few dates will be the key to establishing a healthy foundation for merging your intimate life with your parenting life. Both facets of your life are both important but require wisdom and skill in intermingling them. The first few dates should be low key and without any pressure. Attempting to railroad your children into liking your date can backfire on you. Start off with simple, fun dates. They should not feel like they are being introduced to their “new daddy” but rather ‘Mr. Johnson’ who has an interest and care for mommy. Share your genuine enthusiasm for your date but don’t be over zealous in having an immediate connection or bond between your children and your dating partner. A gradual process will allow your children and your mate time to develop a positive relationship. If you establish a proper foundation in the beginning you will eliminate and avoid unnecessary hardships later on.
Your children should view relationships and love as fun, purpose-filled and healthy. They should see that this relationship has improved your life and your smile, and that God approves of it. My prayer is that you would make wise and sound choices that will be a blessing for both you and your children.I am often blending smoothies at home in my blender and watching strawberries, kiwi, kale, pineapples, mangos, and bananas blend together is something magical but it took a sharp spinning blade to get them to come together smoothly. Blending a family often presents challenges and when a “sharp spinning blade” begins to turn to bring a family together it will cause some uncomfortable blending. That is why I strongly believe that “Blending Family Counseling” is not an option. Seeking help to assist you in managing your merger is the best thing for you and your children.
Excerpt from The Dating Bible
Ty Adams, #GirlsGoneGod president