Introducing a new partner to your children

Introducing a new partner to your children can feel like a daunting task.  What if your children don’t like them?  What if they get upset?  What if they feel you are trying to replace their other parent?

We understand it can feel like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place and we have put a guide together to help you overcome this adjustment period.

Make sure it’s going to last

One of the most important things you can do is make sure that your new relationship is on a solid ground before introducing your children.  If your relationship is new, then it is best to enjoy the relationship privately.

The reason for this is that you do not want your children to build a relationship with your new partner only for it to fall away in a short period of time.  This can lead to your children’s feelings being hurt and them then being uncertain of future partners.  It is therefore best to make sure they are going to stick around before any introductions.

Communication

If possible, speak to your children’s other parent about your new partner.  Perhaps even arrange for them to meet.  Ultimately, both of your priorities are your children and it may put them at ease having met your new partner before the children do.  It is important to put yourself in the shoes of the other parent.  How would you feel if your children were introduced to their new partner and you had not been told?

You should also talk to your children about your new partner.  Do not just spring them on your children.  Children need time to adjust and get used to the idea of a new person before meeting them.

Neutral ground

When your new partner first meets your children make sure it is on neutral ground.  Your home is a personal space for the children where they feel safe.  It is very much their territory.  A neutral “child focused” place will allow your children to relax and be open to building a relationship with someone new.

Ground rules

What are your expectations for your new partner and your children?  How much of a role do you want them to have in your children’s life?  Are you or they expecting to be involved in disciplining your children?  Are they looking to be a friend to your children?  It is worth making sure you are on the same page.

Ultimately, introducing your new partner to your children is a very personal thing to do.  You will need to be mindful of your children’s ages and personalities and expect there to be a bit of backlash.  Your children have got used to being the centre of attention and may not be keen to share you with anyone else initially.

My ex wants to introduce their new partner

We understand that being on the other side of the fence can be very difficult.  A new partner being introduced to your children by your ex can be an anxious time.  There are a few things you can do to make this an easier transition for your children though:

  • Do not speak negatively about your ex or their new partner. Whilst this can be very difficult when emotions run high, it is important to not try and cloud your children’s views.
  • Do not interrogate your children about the new partner.
  • Speak positively about your children’s experiences when they are not with you.
  • Remind them that they can always talk to you about anything that is worrying them, making them sad, or happy memories that they want to share with you.

If you are having problems with regard to contact or communication with your children, we are here to help.  To speak to one of our friendly solicitors for a confidential chat give us a call today on 01423 594680.

Carol Jessop is an experienced family lawyer specialising in finding practical solutions to resolve complex financial arrangements, protecting assets and obtaining emergency orders to provide personal protection or prevent the removal of children.

Carol has over 30 years’ experience in family law and is recognised by her clients and peers as highly knowledgeable and compassionate.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing enquiries@harrogatefamilylaw.co.uk.