The decision to introduce your child to a new partner should not be taken lightly. However, if you believe that the time has come in your relationship for you to introduce your child to your new boyfriend, it is also very exciting because you now have the opportunity to share the most important person in your life with someone you care deeply about. The steps below will give you some ideas on how to make the introductions go smoothly for you, your child, and your boyfriend.
1. Before making any introductions, ensure that you and your partner have a stable and happy relationship with the potential for a future. Changing partners and introducing your child to every man you meet can be emotionally and psychologically damaging to the child. Children are prone to quickly forming bonds with others, and if your relationship is unstable and your partner leaves, your child will suffer as well. Before making any decisions, be certain of your relationship.
2. Before making any introductions, consider your child’s age. There is no harm in introducing your new boyfriend to your baby (less than a year old), because if the relationship ends, your baby’s chances of remembering or forming a bond are lower than those formed with an older child. However, if you are unsure how the relationship will develop, limit the amount of time your new boyfriend spends with the baby.
3. Think about name dropping and voice mails. Consider name dropping or voice calls before introducing the child to the new man in your life. Mentioning your partner in conversation (depending on your child’s age) will inform the child that you have a new friend with whom you spend time. Also, if your child has already begun talking, it may be a good idea to allow them to speak on the phone on occasion so that your child can get used to this new person, even if only on a vocal level at first.
4. Choose the location for the introduction with care. Keep the venue neutral and in an area where the child feels at ease and happy to make the introduction easier. For example, if your child is being difficult at mealtime, bedtime, or when you go to the store, it is best not to invite your new boyfriend over during these times. This is because, depending on the child’s age, they will associate meeting this new man with distressing events and may act out in the future when your new partner appears. However, if you take the child to a park or play area, he or she will feel more at ease because they will be in a social environment where meeting new people is somewhat normal, making the introduction something that is associated with fun.
5. Please introduce your boyfriend as a friend. When introducing the child to your partner, it’s probably best to start by introducing him as a friend. Most children, especially in their early years, do not understand relationships between consenting adults, so there is no need to complicate matters by explaining. Even if your child is older and understands adult-to-adult relationships, consider calling him a friend until your child becomes accustomed to his presence.
6. Make the transition as easy for your child as possible. Keep things as simple as possible, especially in the beginning. Keep physical contact between you and your boyfriend to a minimum around the child, and limit the number of nights he stays over. Remember that your child may have only known you and your child for as long as he or she can remember, and the new partner’s involvement in both of your lives can make the child feel insecure, especially if they believe their time with mommy or daddy is being jeopardised.
7. Help your boyfriend bond with your child by informing him ahead of time about what your child likes and dislikes. That way, he can get the conversation off to a great start by bringing up a topic that your child is interested in.
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