Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dating as a Single Parent: How Much Is Too Much to Share

When you're a single parent, I truly believe that it's important to have somewhat of an open book relationship with your children. When you're a married couple, the same goes, but for single parents, even more so. It will help you develop good communication with your kids. You should be your children's best friend. They should be able to come to you and confide in you, so that you'll have a very honest and open book relationship with them. If you show your children that you trust them enough to share things about your own private life (on the most part), they will share things about their private life as well. This is why I believe that it's not only okay, but it's healthy and better when you let your children know that you're dating with marital intentions. 

You should let your children know that you're not dating someone to replace the other parent. But, you're dating someone so that you'll have companionship in your life, and you're not dating to mess around, but you're doing so to hopefully find someone special, and possibly get remarried one day. Many people want different things, when they come out of a divorce, and not all of them want to get remarried, and have more children, etc. Having said that, for me personally, being open book and honest with my children, being that I'm a divorced mother of two, has been the best thing that I can do, and has made my children become my best friends (in the whole, wide world). 

When it comes to sharing things with your kids about your romantic life, you shouldn't share too much. As well, you have to know your children enough to get a good idea how much is okay to share, how much they'll understand, and the most important thing to remember is to keep the conversation light. The last thing your children need is to share in every single emotion you're feeling when you're dating someone. Every child develops and comprehends things at a different level, so you have to use your best judgement when it comes to how much to share with your kids. As well, it depends on how old they are. Some children have a good understanding of relationships at a very young age. It just depends on the child. One thing to remember is that the conversations shouldn't be intense, but very casual and light.

If you read the previous article (see: "Dating as a Single Parent: When to Introduce Your Kids"), then you'll have a better idea of when it's appropriate to introduce your children. This article is more about the act of openly sharing things with your kids, and not keeping them in the dark. I don't believe that you should wait to tell your kids that you're dating someone seriously. I believe that your kids should have a say in the matter, and earlier on, as opposed to later. When you let your kids know earlier on what's happening in your life, they'll give you their opinion, and that's important. The last thing that you want is for it to end up being a big surprise later that you've found someone to settle down with. You should give your kids an idea of what's happening in your life, and ease them into the situation, by talking with them. If you choose to wait too long before talking with your kids about who you're dating, it could end up being very uncomfortable and intense, when they finally meet. Talking is different than meeting, and talking and sharing comes first.

My kids come to me all of the time and share things with me, that normally children might not share, and I'm so thankful for that. It's so imperative that your children feel safe and that they can tell you just about anything, and you won't judge them or punish them for it. I don't believe that parents should withhold information on who they're dating, because it's dishonest to your children. Despite the fact that you don't want to get your kids attached or too hopeful of the idea that things will definitely work out with the person that you're dating, you should still be honest with them about it. Let them know that there's a "possibility" that it won't work out with the person, and that you don't want them to get too attached, so they can't spend too much time with them. Having said that, there's nothing worse than getting your kids attached to someone that you don't end up with. 

I've become very selective when I date, and until I know in my mind that I'm truly into someone enough, I won't introduce my kids. However, when I feel like there's enough potential in a situation, I want my kids to feel comfortable with whom I'm considering for the long term. I definitely want their opinion, and I at least want them to briefly meet. My kids always have opinions on the things that I do, who I date, or don't date. My kids know that I only date with marital intentions and that I don't mess around. They know that I'm not a party mommy, and that I'm looking for something for the long-term that's meaningful. They also know that I won't date anyone that they don't approve of and that their opinion means the world to me. I even show them a picture once in awhile and ask them what they think. Having said that, they already have an understanding that some people are simply not photogenic, and that looks are definitely not everything. 

Some people believe that you shouldn't tell your kids anything when you're dating, so that they won't get attached to the person or the idea of you going forward with them. As well, many people believe that you shouldn't tell your kids too much information, so that they won't grow up too quickly. I believe that there are certain things that you shouldn't say to your kids when it comes to your dating life. In this case, as far as dating someone with marital intentions, my opinion is that you should share what you're doing with your children, and not keep them in the dark. Your children should know that they come first, and that they're your number one priority in life. They should know that their opinion matters, even though you'll be living your own life one day as you get older, and that you still care about what they think, and how they view the situation. 

Having said this, my kids are so loving, that they could love just about anyone if they knew that they were making their mommy happy. My kids truly want my happiness in life. They want me to get remarried and have more children. They wanted this since they were little, and they would always tell me. I love their little baby hearts and I'm so thankful and proud of them completely for always talking with me and being my best friend.