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18-Jun-2017 11:58

When do you introduce your kids to your new love interest? How should you talk to their kids about your boyfriend or girlfriend?

Michael Harris, a child psychologist at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, hears from lots of divorced parents in his practice who want advice on how to deal with dating when they’ve got kids. Take time to cool off before entering the dating scene. People aren’t thinking clearly after their marriage breaks up, making them especially vulnerable to making bad choices, he said. How long does it take for someone to get in a better place with a death? It doesn’t happen in a few weeks.” Wait at least 3 to 6 months before introducing your kids to your love interest. He gives this advice to parents he sees in his practice, and while they understand waiting is important, many go ahead and introduce their new girlfriend or boyfriend too soon anyway.

Regardless of how old your children are, take your cues from them and answer their questions openly, with age-appropriate language, Blackwell said.

And err on the side of less, rather than too much, information.

She advises against having a new boyfriend or girlfriend spend the night when older children are present.

For children of all ages, it’s important for parents to provide them with the opportunity to “grieve the loss of the family,” Blackwell said.

So how do you know when you are ready for a new romantic relationship?

“When you’re no longer angry, when you begin to accept and recognize your responsibility for the (previous) relationship falling apart,” said Blackwell.

Tweens and teens are more of a challenge because they’re coping with puberty: “They don't want to think about their parents’ sexuality,” Blackwell said.

We asked Angie Blackwell, a certified Stepfamily Foundation coach in Mc Minnville, for her advice.

When it comes to starting relationships, she said, “my very first piece of advice is, know when you’re ready.

Once you’ve met that special someone, knowing when and how to talk to your kids about him or her is really important, Blackwell said.

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While you should be open and honest with your kids about your dating, it’s not necessary to involve the children in your dating life, Blackwell said.Seeing a parent date represents a major change for a child; expect them to have strong emotions about it.



Meet Nikky, she has a lovely date tonight with the young boy Jake. She needs to go to the spa, put on some nice make-up and try out some clothes. After a long day of school, this teen couple wants to go on a romantic date at the mall.… continue reading »


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