So you’re in a new relationship and it’s going well—well enough to consider moving a step forward. It’s time to see if your new guy fits into your daily life and has a good vibe within your family. He’s got to pass muster with the kids, but how do you know when and how to introduce your boyfriend to your children?
IS IT TIME?
If you feel this relationship is more than casual, and that this man could potentially be a lifelong partner, then it’s time for a meeting. But be sure you are truly interested in this man and considering a serious relationship, and also that the feeling is mutual. Do not rush into anything if you have doubts, and be sure you’re not pushing too hard to make him a part of your family life. Keep your adult life private from your kids until you and your boyfriend are both in agreement and ready to take your relationship a step further.
TIPS FOR A COOL INTRODUCTION
Kids are not easy to please and they may well be jealous or suspicious of the new man in your life. Be aware that introducing a new boyfriend to a teenager is not the same as introducing him to a toddler. So follow these tips to make your meeting as stress-free as possible:
- You can start by slowly mentioning your new guy in conversation a couple weeks prior to the meeting day (depending on how old your kids are—the older they are, the more time you need to put between your first mention of your boyfriend and the actual meeting). Use a casual tone and drop him into the conversation several times a day. Introduce his name, his activities; let your children know you have a wonderful new friend and then let his presence slowly evolve in your children’s reality.
- Tell your boyfriend about all the little tips you know will help him feel welcomed by the children. There are probably some DOs and DON’Ts in reference to your children that he will find extremely useful. For example: Do ask them about their school and friends; Don’t ask about their grades.
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- When you feel there’s a reasonable curiosity from the kids about your boyfriend, ask them if they would like to meet him. It’s important that they feel they’re ready to meet him and not that you are forcing a meeting. Children love to be heard and considered and if they think it’s their idea to meet your man, they’re more likely to feel excited and happy about it.
- Tell your man to be relaxed (though he will most likely not be) and to enjoy the kids and have fun. You will be by his side and he’s not being cross-examined; he is, however, meeting the most important people in your life.
- If your kids misbehave during the meeting, don’t be too hard on them. Just try to ignore their behavior and talk to them later, never during the first encounter. This is not about you and your man, but about your man and your kids. Give them their space to get to know one another.
Children are very receptive and will eventually accept your boyfriend, especially if they feel he’s treating you well and not taking you away from them but instead becoming a cool new member of the family. Good luck—this is the first step to a whole new family project!