Talking with your kids about dating
We sat down with noted parenting consultant and e Harmony Parenting contributor Dr.Tina Payne Bryson to discuss strategies to help single parents successfully navigate getting back into the dating world.
Single parents often have an additional burden, especially if the child doesn’t spend much time with both parents.This also needs to be part of your first conversation on the subject. I want you to know that no matter what new friends I make you’re the most important person to me." Ask if they have questions and leave the door open to talk about it again whenever they like.How do I handle tantrums and instances when my child really acts out? Bryson: When a child is acting out about your decision to date, it can help to see things through their eyes.Sometimes we make inaccurate assumptions about the reasons for their frustration.I’ll set up something fun for you to do." The level of detail will need to be determined by the age of the children.Problems begin when there is a change in you and your routine and nothing’s said.
When you don’t talk to your child they begin to draw conclusions on their own without any input from you.
Most negative reaction comes from a child’s fears that he/she may be falling as a priority in your life. I’m doing it because it’s good for me, and I can be a better dad when I’m taking care of myself.
The custodial parent may feel like they have to overcompensate—to somehow make up for the missing parent.
When you feel that, and you are responsible for both sides of parenting, your whole world becomes your child.
And anything you do for yourself feels like it takes away from their world. If we don’t give ourselves experiences that refuel us, adult activities that make us happy, it will be much harder to do the good work of parenting.
What effect do outside activities like dating actually have on children in Single Parent homes? Bryson: When you add up all of the factors that determine whether your child is going to be happy and mentally healthy as an adult, the most important question to ask is, "Have they had a secure attachment with a loving caregiver who perceives and meets their needs a majority of the time? The concern that most parents should have is, "Am I taking care of myself enough to respond to those needs in a positive way? Ironically, we probably SHOULD feel guilty when we stop tending to our own needs. What if your children express a negative reaction to your interest and participation in meeting new people? Bryson: The first thing is to authentically and honestly talk with your child, and you can even do this with very young children in an age-appropriate way. "Mom’s going to spend time with friends, because it’s good for me.