Thoughts

Introducing the new boyfriend or girlfriend to your kids – Interview with Amy Siock Paynton

Amy Siock Paynton

Watch this great conversation about how and when to introduce a new romantic partner to your kids with Amy Siock Paynton, executive director at the Alpha Resource Center and Barbara Mainhart, Outreach Coordinator with transcript below.

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BARBARA: I know when we talked about doing a discussion on INTRODUCING THE NEW BOYFRIEND OR GIRLFRIEND TO THE KIDS, you mentioned what a pivotal topic it is, yet a very challenging one to address. WHY???

AMY: Great question, Barbara, and an Opportunity to bring up my DISCLAIMER: It is CHALLENGING because we are dealing with mini humans, each one different! This is NOT a black and white topic! We are dealing with various ages of the divorced children, are they prone to anxiety or inherently more laid back kids, how close what was family before, did the other parent 100% leave? POINT IS, make sure you PRIORITIZE your child’s emotional wellness in this! Get them an individual Counselor if needed to process all the INDIVIDUALIZED changes. I AM HERE WITH GOOD REFERRALS FOR THEM IF YOU NEED!

BARBARA: ANY OTHER REASONS DATING AND KIDS IS SUCH A HOT TOPIC WITH SUCH HEARTFELT, EMOTIONAL INTENSITY?

AMY: Yes, YOU ARE DEALING WITH TWO VERY POWERFUL FORCES!!!

ONE: Do you Remember, Barbara, being 16 and in LOVE?? Do you also remember Science class then and the neuroscience behind the FEELGOOD CHEMICALS dating naturally produces? Take these and entice a newly divorced parent… who can be more emotionally/financially stressed, more stressed with extra single parenting duties, longing for anything positive, thinking a night out on town over a Friday night completing legal paperwork….PLUS

b) Your innocent kids brought into the possible divorce mess and you are LONGING to be a happier parent to them, get some of their “Normal” Mom or Dad back.

VERSUS

TWO: YOUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN’S REALITY! = Overwhelming sense of LOSS! THEIR WORLD WAS JUST ROCKED! Keep in mind they just lost a parent in their own home. Their every wake-up and bedtime might be different. Even if they still have 2 loving parents, YOUR time may be divided… Their stay-at-home-mom may now need to work. They may be little , but they may have BIG emotions; their sadness masked in teenage Bravado, The fact is, kids don’t really want to meet all those NEW, PLENTY OF FISH dating site partners (even if they say they do to please more depressed than usual you)! THEY HAVE PLENTY OF CHANGE TO DEAL WITH! 😊 YOU may be Dreaming of frolicking with your new partner and their kids… To them, it is another child competing for their more tired parents’ attention.

BARBARA: I KNOW YOU MENTIONED A POIGNANT STORY ABOUT THE OLD DISNEY MOVIE, PARENT TRAP, KIDS LONGING FOR PARENTS TO BE TOGETHER INSTINCT? YES! Thanks for bringing up. I am remembering a little boy. Probably around 7. Parents apart 4 years. Mom asking his opinion on new partner after them being friends for a while and son seeing new partner being a Helper to mom. Child was surprisingly hesitant with answer, No answer then Mom ..”Wait, do you want mom and dad together?” “YES!!!!” and sobbed like a baby in Mom’s arms for first time ever post-divorce.

BARBARA: OKAY, THOSE ARE SOME REALLY GOOD THEORIES BEHIND WHY YOU NEED TO TREAD LIGHTLY INTO THE DATING WORLD. WHAT ABOUT PRACTICAL TIPS FOR PARENTS?

  • OLD FASHIONED DATE!!! Make sure YOU like each other first. Has the person done his or her work? Have YOU? Talk to them about your kids and the personalities as you get closer. Do you really SEE them as good for your particular kids?
  • Wait instead until the relationship is getting serious. That seems to be the best time to share what’s happening.
  • Ask more mature teen kids or adult children of divorce. Are you ready to meet Joe or Judy??
  • Meet them OUT for first time ..in public. Limit time. Casual lunch? Picnic at park? Not a “Family Dinner”! Really a stranger to them. Do not assume your child thinks it’s great there is a new addition “Family Vacation”. Talk with kids after… one-on-one. LISTEN. Let them Process. Not a “Family Dinner”! Really a stranger to them. Do not assume your child thinks it’s great there is a new addition “Family Vacation”.
  • Telling kids about a new romantic partner doesn’t guarantee that kids aren’t going to be resentful either. Being dumped with a babysitter rather than snuggling up to watch Friday night movies with mom can make kids blame the new love interest for robbing them of their parent’s attention.
  • Think before you date, especially is a close knit town! Do you really have to date another parent in your child’s class?. Answer may be yes, but think about pressure on your and their kids, social media.
  • Yes, divorce can be expensive and moving in to reduce house chores, get bigger space for your kids can sound Enticing! The “Brady Bunch” was a tv show. Are you READY for the Reality??
  • LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST! We found that there was research by heavy-sociological-hitters supporting the notion that what children need most is a stable environment and to know they are loved!!! Children don’t necessarily need their parents to be married if not healthy, BUT THEY DO NEED YOUR ROUTINE AND LOVE. SET DATES WITH YOUR CHILDREN! ONE-ON-ONE TIME IS PRICELESS, ESPECIALLY NOW! It does not need to be expensive! Talk with them on the taxi activity rides. Share a donut dare. Rent a RED BOX DOLLAR MOVIE. NO phone . 20 minute tuck in, etc..
  • For more information about this topic, read our blog Are Your Children Ready to Meet Your New Partner?

    To contact Amy, call 1-800-310-9085 or email to aspaynton@alpharesourcecenter.com

    ©Alpha Resource Center

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