Meeting the Kids of Your Date

If the person you are dating has children, meeting them is an important step in the relationship. However, because the children have another parent in their lives, the situation can be stressful and awkward. To help make meeting the kids easier, you need to go into it with the right mindset.

The meeting should be kept short: You don't want to go away with them on vacation or stay the night. Really, this first meeting is chance to get to know one another, and it should be brief.

Think about having a meal or participating in an activity. A timed event takes some of the pressure off. You won't feel as if you have to play parent, and the kids won't feel as if they have to accept you immediately.

Go into the meeting with an open mind. It may take the children some time to warm up to you, and this is normal. They may feel awkward or as if you are trying to take the place of their parent. Also see the situation from the perspective of your date. Dating for single parents is difficult, and you want to be as sympathetic to their situation as possible. Don't make them feel as if they are caught in the middle.

Bringing a gift to the meeting can help defuse the situation, but be sure to check with your date about what to bring. You don't want to bring something forbidden if the children aren't allowed to eat certain foods, and you don't want to make it look as if you are trying to bribe them.

No matter how the children act, keep a polite, level demeanor. If you get to know the kids in slow increments and allow them to process their emotions and get to know you, you can build a strong base for a relationship. Do not expect them to be your best friends or love-dovey at first. It will take them time to trust you.

Don't talk down to the children, and show them that you respect them. Additionally, be wary of physical contact, even high-fives or a pat on the shoulder. Follow the children's lead. Also, do not discipline the children: This is an initial meeting, and you should let your date handle parenting duties.

Remember that people process and deal with new situations differently. If you leave the house in a peaceful state, then the meeting is a success.

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