Dating With Children After Divorce: Advice for single parents

Dating with ChildrenDr. Jim shares his dating advice for those who are divorced with children.


Dear Jim: DO YOU HAVE ANY DATING ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE CHILDREN?

Children’s emotions also go through emotional turbulence during and after a divorce. When the parent(s) begin to date, this can significantly cause a lot of stress and pain in the family. I am the child of a divorce as well as have counselled many with children. Here are some considerations as relates to the children of a divorce:

Spend time with your children

Spend time with your child (children) to bring as much stability to their lives as you can. Show them how you are depending upon God and allow their faith to be built along with yours. Do activities and give affirmations to your children that demonstrate your loyalty to them during this upsetting time.

Help your children build confidence in God

Do not allow the relationship with a child to in ANY WAY be an attempt to replace the missing spouse OR the desire for a new one. Allow the child to be a child and develop in as normal a manner as they can.

You can give your child no greater gift than to help them build confidence in God and themselves during this time. Find a ‘healthy’ children’s/youth ministry in a local church. You may have to check several out before you find a fit for your children, but this can be a great asset for you.

Seek out classes/books relating to single parenting from a Christian perspective. Focus on the Family has a web site that can be a great resource to you.

Get ’emotionally healthy’ before dating

Get as healthy as you can emotionally before you consider dating!!!

Avoid the parade of dates in front of your children

When the parent is ready to begin dating again (highly recommended to not do this for a year OR more after the divorce), they should not begin by bringing ‘dates’ to the home for the children to see a parade of men/women.

Children will either want the parents to get back together and set out to sabotage the new relationship OR try to make the new relationship the ‘rescue’ for them as well as for their parent. Either course is very unhealthy for all parties. Children have to work through their emotional scars left over from the divorce too. Bringing ‘dates’ to the home can bring about more scarring.

When the parent is ready to return to social interaction, they should go to events and meet people at church, parties, movies, dinners, etc. but not bring them to their home.

Be aware of ‘the rescue’

A parent is more likely to be motivated to find someone to ‘rescue’ them if they have children at home. Being a single parent is a challenge for anyone, and this ‘force’ at work is to be reckoned with when opening up your social world.

Set out to make friends – not date

Do not ‘date’ initially, but set out to make friends. Be sure to develop friendships with your own gender first, even to the point of building an accountability group with one or more people of your own gender. Let them be a resource to you when you being relating to the opposite sex.

Communicate with your kids

Do keep the communication open with your children and let them know what you are doing socially (in a general sense). You do not need to share every detail, but keep them informed enough to keep their comfort zone.

This will allow them to progress with you through this social development. You may still have a reaction when you begin to ‘date’, but it should be lessened when you approach it this way.

Are they emotionally/spiritually/financially sound?

As you consider becoming serious about someone else, be sure that they are emotionally, spiritually and financially sound before proceeding. This should apply to all relationships, but is especially significant when children are involved.

Pray!

Above all, pray – pray – pray. Ask God to guide you as you relate to the particular personality of your child (children). Do not hesitate to seek the services of a good Christian counselor for your children as well as for yourself. There are surely many more considerations as relates to dating and single parents, but I am hopeful that the above points will serve you as you seek other input.

May God bless you AND your children!

Jim


What are your thoughts on being divorced with children and dating again? Let us know in comments below!

Related Articles:

Share this article:

6 comments on “Dating With Children After Divorce: Advice for single parentsAdd yours →

  1. Great advice!

    Being a package deal makes this process so much harder. Being aware that your children are as much a part of this process as you are is key. Protecting them inicially from getting attached is huge. We have to trust God to do all things in His timing, then it will be the b est possible situation and experience. Can’t wait for that special someone!!!

  2. so i need help my mom and my step dad have been married for ten years but seperated for 5, they just got a divorce two weeks ago and shes already dating this is making me emotional and very angry, she keeps telling me that she dim being unreasonable because i dont want her to date yet and that she doesnt want to be alone by herself for ever. am i wrong just wanting her to be single for a couple of months or am i wrong for wanting this

  3. Single parents have no business dating at all. It’s a reason why you are still single, focus on your kids and leave the dating to people who have no kids. If it was meant for you to be in a relationship or married, then you wouldn’t have gotten a divorce in the first place, or waited for marriage before having kids.

    1. Danielle,

      It’s very disappointing to see such a post on a Christian blog. As Christians we are to show compassion and love. Not everyone divorces in sin and the bible explains that there are times when divorce may be necessary. It seems that you are suggesting that if someone were to divorce due to infidelity or domestic violence, that they have no right to a loving, Godly partner. Maybe for some God does want them to be single, but for others He may have another plan. I think that God should be the judge of that. It’s not what we’ve been called to judge.

    2. DANELLE-
      Your reasoning is circular: one is single because they are no longer married—-which is what occurs when a person gets a divorce. A divorce does not render an individual from seeking companionship. You direct single parents to “leave the dating to people who have no kids.” But perhaps potential spouses are not seeking serial daters but substantial relationships. Your post is unrealistic for the majority of single people over age 25. Are you worried about competition from single parents? Could explain why you administer such flimsy advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *