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Ask The Good Enough Guy: When Should He Meet My Kids?


 

Hi Will: 

I’m a single mother of two children, a ten-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. I don’t date much, in part because I haven’t yet found “the one”. Part of what I would like in a man is a good father for my children and I want them to love him as much as I do. The problem I’m having though, is deciding when is a good time to introduce my children to my new man. I don’t want to get serious with anyone who doesn’t fit well with my kids and I don’t want them to become attached to someone who isn’t going to stay.

Recently I have had my friends tell me that I can’t keep introducing my male companions to my children because it’s eventually going to hurt them. Is that true? How many dates do you think I should go on, how long should I wait before I introduce my guy to the special people in my life?

Rachel

 

Hey Rachel,

Wow. How’d THIS question get in my bag? I usually do toilet seats and beer bellies; the tough stuff is supposed to go on to Good Enough Mother. Well, you asked a simple guy, so I can only assume you wanted a simple answer, and that’s what I’ve got. I say if you really want to know when is the best time to introduce your new man to your kids, how about asking them? See, it goes like this:

KIDS SEE EVERYTHING: From the time our children are born, they are learning their parents. They know when we’re angry, when we’re happy, when something is wrong with us, and when is the right time to tell us about that note the algebra teacher sent home with them. So, they know your cell phone has been ringing more than usual. They see the way your face lights up when you see who’s calling. They see that your new dresses are a tad shorter and the heels are a tad higher. They smell the new perfume. They see the new bounce in your step. And even if the ten-year-old hadn’t completely figured it out, the 15-year-old has, by now, filled in the blanks for him. What they don’t know is what it means for them. That’s where you come in.

WHAT AND HOW MUCH DO THEY NEED TO KNOW? Family meeting time. Sit down with the kids and ask them what they think about mommy dating (at this point, the name of the possible “Mr. Right” isn’t necessary). Talk to them frankly. Ask them when and if they think you should introduce them to someone you’re dating. Tell them to be honest and then let them. Some of their answers might be pleasantly surprising; others, not so much. Remember: you’re the parent. You make the final call, but good decision-making involves gathering as much information as possible. Our children are great resources that are, oftentimes, overlooked.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK:  

So who is this guy?

What exactly are your intentions?

How long have you been dating him?

Is it serious?

Do you think you’ll end up marrying him?

If so, when?

Where did you meet him?

What are we supposed to call him?

Does he have kids?

Does he even like kids?

Does he want more kids?

Yeah, that’s a lot of questions and those may only be scratching the surface. Be ready to answer, even if it’s, “That’s a little too grown-up for you” or even “I can’t really answer that yet, because I don’t know”. Kids appreciate honesty as much as adults; they’ll also appreciate being included in your decisions. Remember to use discretion if the questioning gets to deep. The goal is to make them more comfortable with your dating, not less.

BUT WHEN IS REALLY THE BEST TIME? You love your kids. You know them better than anybody else in the world. And you want what’s best for them. Some of your friends may say to introduce the new guy right away. Others will say wait until he puts a ring on your finger. I say shoot for some middle ground that’s solid enough for you to stand on without sinking. In the end, you have to decide when it’s right. Will you time it perfectly? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you talk to your children, really listen to them and think about what’s best for them and yourself, your timing will be good enough. And the reality is, that’s the best you can hope for. I hope everything works out for you all!

 

William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter @goodenoughguy1.

12 Comments

  1. Cody Williams

    January 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Waiting until the guy puts a ring on your finger is way too late to introduce him to your kids. What if for some reason their personalities don’t jell at all. That just sets everyone up for a big letdown and very difficult situation. In my opinion.

    It’s hard enough to merge two personalities in to one. And you’re talking about merging four of them.

    This is an age old question. I’ve been a single dad going on eight years now and I still don’t know the right answer. There are a lot of depends here. Depends on what you want to teach your children. Depends on your children’s personalities. Depends on your children’s relationship (or lack of) with their biological father.

    My kids bristle at the thought of me dating. They always have. They still hold out hope that one day their mom and me will get back together. At age seven my daughter empathically pronounced, “I don’t want another mother. I already have one.”

    With her very strong personality my bringing someone new in the picture was going to be very difficult. She was two at the time of the divorce. Even then, almost instinctively, when I went out on a date she would cry and act out emotionally. Yes she has out grown that. But told me recently that I could “do a lot better” than a very attractive woman I dated recently. I asked her who would be better and of course she said, “mommy.”

    Dating is one thing. Bringing someone else in their life is totally different. I think it’s important for both you and them for you to have a healthy life socially. But if you are not sure that any particular date is good for you, you surely can’t know if that person is good for your children.

    Remember, watching you they learn how to move through life. Do you want them to make the right choices when it comes to dating? Do you want them to be reckless and carefree? Do you want them to take dangerous chances with love?

    I say live your life and have fun. But, don’t let your mistakes become a life time of regrets for your children. There are guys out there who you may think are great at the start but turn out to be someone who will use and abuse you. That same guy could use and abuse your children. I’ve seen women try and curry favor with my children with an ultimate aim to getting to me.

    I’ve had women push children at me hoping that will endure me to her.

    Just remember your children have a right to not be harmed by heartaches that may have your name on them.

  2. Cody Williams

    January 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Sorry about that. I didn’t realize I wrote so much.

  3. Rene Syler

    January 14, 2012 at 11:34 am

    @Cody, LOL no worries.. very,VERY good points. I wonder where your daughter got her strong will????? 🙂

  4. Cody Williams

    January 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

    ^^endear^^

  5. Rene Syler

    January 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

    @Cody: I think “endure” works too ha!

  6. Cody Williams

    January 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

    🙂

  7. m.e. johnson

    January 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Rachel, you want someone to be a father? That bothers me. They have one… somewhere. And if he comes in correcting, laying down laws, ordering, changing things, it ain’t gonna work. If in time a close relationship develops, well that’s like icing on the cake.

    I learned that up until a certain age (11, 12) children still have that certain something that can spot a ring-tailed baboon in a second. Your young one may still have it. Once a man came to my house and brought my children a bag of Delicious apples, which they loved. They wouldn’t touch those apples. At all. They couldnt (wouldn’t?) tell me why, they just said, “We don’t want ’em.” Never saw dude again. Found out later I did the right thing, they were right.

    I’d say let them meet him on first date but no familiarity ~ forcing ‘family’ stuff on anyone. Then there may or may not be a 2nd date.

  8. Hope

    January 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    m.e johnson… Wise statement I must say!!! They have a radar that way when it comes to someone their parent is dating. I think you should go on a few dates and talk to him or her first about when he or she would feel comfortable meeting your kids and go from there. I also think your kids should not be the last to know you are dating someone if you have been on more that 2 dates that way they can adjust to you spending time with someone and not feel pushed to the side. Nothing wrong with kids meeting your FRIEND until you know if it gonna turn into something more… Keep it friendly!!!!

  9. Will Jones

    January 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

    So much good advice, and yet so many different approaches! LOL. Kind of tricky, isn’t it?

    I totally agree with Cody… Being careful with our children is a must, but we also have to be careful not to be overly cautious to the point of being fearful. Anytime you ever let anyone in, you open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt; there’s no way around it. Even if you take every precaution and date them for years before you let them enter a relationship with your children, this does not gaurantee that they will jell, or that personalities that jell today will continue to do so in the future. There are no guarantees. Love your kids. Teach them to be cautious, but also teach them to trust and not to be afraid of love. And the best way to teach them is by showing them. It’s always good to hear your comments, Bruh.

    M.E. – So good tyo hear from you! Sadly, these days, it’s possible these kids have a father somewhere, but it’s just as possible that they only have same man who got there mother pregnant. There’s a big difference. I think most men at least try to be a dad, even if things don’t work out with the mom, but a lot of men don’t. Without a real male role model in the home, most of the burden falls on mom’s shoulders. I think what she meant by a “father” is a man who’ll HELP care for, protect, provide for, and raise her children. It’s asking a lot, but there are some good, strong, positive, men out there that are up to the challenge of a ready-made family.

    Hope – I poersonally don’t think the person you’re dating should have any sayso as to when they meet your children. As Cody said, most men know full well that kissing up to your children and trying to win their favor gives them a better chance with the mother. I say get to know them, find out who they really are first before. I may be old fashionedm but I think him meeeting the children is on the same level as him meeting your parents… the relationship should be heading somewhere first. I see nothing wrong with a woman dating different men while she’s looking for Mr. Right, but I don’t think she should be introducing several “friends” to her children. At 10 and 15, I think that sends the wrong message. But, again, everyone seems to have a different opinion on how this is done, and I do like the idea of keeping it friendly and not making some formal grand gesture. Thank you for commenting.

  10. m.e. johnson

    January 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    For the umpteenth time, Will, I love you.

  11. Will Jones

    January 17, 2012 at 7:54 am

    LOL@M.E. !

    …..and for the umpteenth time, 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. someone

    August 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    The best time to introduce them is maybe 8 years from now. Your kids don’t even need to be at your wedding when they are at least 18 and 23. They don’t really need to meet, and yes a revolving door of men can hurt them.

    The biggest problem is that you’re looking for a father for your children. But they already have one. Where is he? Why not only go on dates when the kids are with the father?

    And nobody wants to meet a 15-yer-old daughter. Teenage girls are the worst!

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