Divorce is hard on adults, but it is perhaps even harder on young children who are not mature or experienced enough to understand why parents get divorced. Children are often trapped in the immediate consequences of their parents’ divorce without foresight about what will come next or whether things will get better.
As a result, children are often blindsided when either parent begins dating a new partner. Even older children, who could reasonably be expected to anticipate their parents dating again, can have negative emotions about a new partner and may treat the partner with suspicion or even hostility. While all of this is natural, here are some tips from experts about how to help your children get along with a new partner after your Illinois divorce.
Do Not Talk to Your Kids About a New Partner Until Things Are Established
Adults frequently date many partners after divorce and it can take some time to meet someone you feel good about. Children should not be introduced to a new partner until you are fairly certain that this partner is likely to be around for the long term. Introducing multiple partners can cause children to feel a sense of anxiety around whether the adults in their lives are likely to stay or leave, especially if a child develops an attachment to a particular partner.
Say Good Things About Your Partner Before the Introduction
Let your kids know what you like about this person, what you have in common with them, and how much you enjoy being with them. Only share appropriate information and try not to paint this new partner as perfect or better than your children’s other parent.
Make the First Meeting Low-Pressure
Allow your children to meet your partner in a laid-back environment, like a park or a family dinner where children have the option to come and go from the event depending on how comfortable they are. Avoid places like amusement parks or movies where children may need to spend a lot of time in close proximity with someone they do not know well. Keep the event relatively short and avoid close physical touch with your partner.
Give Your Kids Time
You can expect your children to have mixed feelings about your new partner; they may even be unsure of how they feel. Talk to your children if they seem open to conversation and try not to convince them or pressure them to say good things about your partner. Allow the relationship between your children and your new partner to develop naturally and make sure you still spend plenty of time with your children.
Meet with a Wheaton, IL Parenting Plan Lawyer
Whatever your post-divorce parenting challenges, the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys with Andrew Cores Family Law Group can offer you the support and experience you need as you navigate complex situations involving your children. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with us today by calling our offices at 630-871-1002.