Parenting after a divorce is difficult sometimes. One situation that can make things more tense than normal is when you meet someone with whom you want to start a new life. When this happens and children are involved, you have to think of the kids.
There are many different ways that children might handle a new adult being brought into the family. In many cases, there will be some resistance. You have to consider what might be going through the child's mind when this situation occurs. Here are some important points for you to remember if you are starting a new relationship:
Review the child custody papers
The terms of a child custody order might dictate how your new relationship proceeds. There are sometimes clauses that stipulate neither parent can have overnight adult guests while the children are in the home. These constraints won't matter when the children are spending time with your ex, so you might want to plan your dates and outings with the custody schedule in mind.
Talk to your children
A new relationship isn't something that you should spring on the kids when you are about to walk down the aisle. It also isn't something about which they might need to know if you aren't serious with that person. When things do get serious and you are ready to take the next step, talk to your children. Let them know what's going on and how life might change. Listen for the children's concerns and take the time to try to reassure them.
Keep communication open
Even though you might have a new significant other, you still need to keep the lines of communication open with your ex. Your children are still a common factor that can't be forgotten. Including your ex when important decisions have to be made must happen. You should also take the time to discuss how joint activities, such as school graduations and birthday parties, might be handled. Ideally, nothing will change except a new person will be around to celebrate your child's events.
Watch what you say
Eventually, there is a chance that both you and your ex will be involved with new people. Everyone needs to be careful about what they say around the children, as well as what is said about each other. Mutual respect is necessary in these cases so that the children don't have to experience the adults bickering and name-calling.