Updated: Apr 19
by Kimberly Delarosa
As American culture progresses, so do family dynamics.
Today in the U.S. alone, over 13 million Americans are single parents. And according to the census, over 80% of them are single mothers. Unlike the fifties, where family and marriage were greatly emphasized, present-day single mothers entering the dating world is natural. It allows women to find the partner they deserve. As women, we’re going back and forth, wondering if we are making the right decision in our lives. For the most part, we wing it. However, when it comes to our offspring, there’s a primal instinct that requires you to be certain about every decision. This is why when the time comes for you to introduce your boyfriend to your kid, you might panic. Or you might feel a storm of anxiety swoops right in.
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Introducing your kid to your boyfriend is, without any doubt, a massive step forward towards your relationship. You’re willingly inviting someone further into your life, and you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing. So, when do you know if it’s time for the big introduction?
Here are a few things to consider when introducing your kid to your boyfriend:
You’ve spent enough time with him.
“Wait six to eight months,” says Lorie Anderson, the founder of MomInformed.com – a parenting consulting website. Anderson stresses the importance of this timeframe because it “gives you enough time to get to know them and get an idea if they’re trustworthy enough to have around your children.” As a parent, you must protect your child at all costs. This means never introducing them to someone you’re not serious about. Depending on the age, children have a natural tendency to become easily attached.
While you’re dating your boyfriend, look out for any signs or acts of patience and compassion. See if they have a sense of maturity and independence in their life. Kids require a lot of understanding, and not everyone can be a parental figure.
When your kid feels comfortable meeting them.
Sometimes instead of guessing whether it’s the right time, your best bet is to ask them. Remember that this is as much of a transition for them as it is for you. Keeping the line of communication open is vital in making sure they are aware of your partner even before they meet. “Prep your kids by letting them know about him,” says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a psychologist specializing in marriage counseling in Boulder, CO. “Make sure you are open to their questions. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns about meeting him.”
If you have smaller children, you can have the first meeting be in a family setting where you and your kiddos are in a safe space. If you have a teen on your hands, give them the option to decide on the place and time. Consider your child in the decision-making process. It allows them to understand that their perceptions of your boyfriend are important to you. Make sure you honor their thoughts and moods.
When you can see this is for the long haul.
You know when it’s time if you can see yourself being with this person for the long haul. “Some good signs include you feeling optimistic about your future together because he comes from a stable background and has earned your trust through repeated actions of dependability, sensitivity, and warmth,” states Fisher. If you cannot see yourself being with this person for the long run, save yourself the effort and don’t make the introduction. Presenting someone new to your family is an open invitation to one day having them be a part of your family. Therefore it’s best to know that the person you are introducing to your family is someone who will fit in well.
So, when is it okay for your first love (your kid) to meet this potential new love? It’s really up to you and what’s best for your family. You’re a packaged deal, and whomever you decided to date must understand that. When push comes to shove, your kiddo will be there by your side at the end of the day. And if things work out, so will your new boo.