Five Reasons Kids Should Wait to Meet Their Parents' Significant Others

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It may be a good idea to wait for a kid to meet his or her parent's significant other. Learn about five reasons kids should wait to meet their parents' significant other with help from a licensed marriage and family therapist in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Relationship & Friendship Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Dr. Robert Marowitz, a Florida Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and CEO of The Digital Academy, Home of Sane Games, computer games for children and their families. Today I'm talking about five reasons kids should wait to meet their parents' significant others. This is a very hot topic. There are a lot of people who are interested in this and what the need is for an adult can be very different than what the need is for a child, in particular, your child because I'm assuming that that's why you're asking. You may also be the person who is dating someone who has children and you want to push the issue and you want to meet their family. Parents are typically pretty protective of their children and if they're not, it's something for them to take a look at because we need to protect our kids. They are not the ones who get to control what goes on in the family. So, I want you watching out for them. Adults are usually much more interested in pushing the envelop to have their children meet whoever it is that they are seeing and is significant in their life but significant means different things to different people. So if you are seeing someone who is really pushing you to meet your children earlier than you are comfortable with, then you really need to have that conversation with them. Everything has to really be in the best interest of the children because children are very easily placed in situations that make them feel pretty bad. You don't want a revolving door of new people in your childrens' lives and so if you are not ready to really be settling down with someone, having someone new meet your children, um is something you really want to take some time to think about. The time table really does vary from parent to parent and from relationship to relationship but only if you expect that someone is not just significant to you but someone who plans to be around for a long period of time, do you really want to broach how soon you want your children to meet them and I would say that soon is going to be very relative. What soon is for you is not necessarily soon for your children. So here's the deal, when you're going out with someone as soon as they meet your children, you will automatically end up doing more family activities. So you have to make sure that the relationship that you have with the individual is really something that is solid, that you've spent enough time with them one on one to make sure that this is a relationship that is really going to work because ultimately when they meet your children, they may not all get along and they certainly might not get along in the beginning. That can cause distress for everyone and it brings a lot of new issues to the table so it's something to pay attention to. If you are not on the same page with the person who is significant to you, if you're not monogamous, if you're not planning on living together, if you're not planning on making sure that the children are a part of your relationship, then you really need to take a step back and make sure that you're doing the best thing for your children. So, ultimately you're waiting until you're really serious about each other and that the relationship is significant enough to hold a great deal of importance. So maybe you're not such a good match if you are not on the same page with this. Children need to feel like they are a priority to you, that's what they really want. They want to know that you are more important than someone who just happens to have walked into their lives. So perhaps the parent is focusing more on a new mate then they are focusing on their children and their children are getting insecure about that and when they feel insecure, when they finally do meet this person who is significant, there might be a fair amount of hostility. Kids can feel pretty jealous about who you are spending time with because they want you. Does it mean that they should get you all the time? No, it doesn't mean that they should get you all the time but it does mean that they still have to have their needs met and as a parent you need to figure out what it is that they need and how it is that you can make sure that they get enough of you. So, they may or may not be so interested in sharing you with someone else and some of this is timing. Sometimes an ex can put kids in the middle and so they are asking questions about who your significant other is. Sometimes you don't want them to know who your significant other is because you don't want the kids to be in the middle of that. So you might wait a little bit longer until the kids feel way more comfortable to not have to worry about being placed in the middle of this. It doesn't mean that you need to be hard and fast about this. It means you need to think about it. You need to figure out what's at stake, what's at stake for you, what's at stake for your kids, the person who is significant in your life will understand if they see the reason, if they get it. If both of you have children and they're more ready to have you meet their children then you are with them, sometimes that happens. It doesn't mean you both have to do it at the same time. It doesn't mean you have to get both families together. Just make it work. Be kind.


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