Meeting the kids is a big step in a relationship for someone dating a single parent. I’ve been a single mom for 5 years as of 2021. I’ve dated and always told people that I like to wait about six months before they meet my kids. However, some have slipped through the cracks and met my kids when I wish they never did.
I love my kids more than anything and always want the best for them. And it’s hard sometimes to decipher if the person you’re dating is ready to take on the responsibility.
Luckily, recently, I met a guy that has changed the game. Regardless, if things don’t work out with us (Spoiler alert) he has set the standard of my expectations.
Meeting the Kids: Past Experiences – Red Flags
“Getting Rid” of the Kids
The first thing you need to look out for as a single mom dating with kids is making sure that your partner has a genuine and safe interest in your kids. When I had some people meet my kids, friends, or partners, they would try to send my kids away from me.
I understand that they wanted time with me, and I am perfectly fine telling my kids to go play so that we could talk. The problem arose when it was very apparent that they were annoyed the kids were even in the same room.
They cuddle up to me creating a space between me and my children, or when I try to get up and do something my ‘friend’ follows me and takes advantage of the two minutes I had alone.
Long story short, if this person is so annoyed with your kids being around, then they probably shouldn’t be friends or date someone with kids.
Buying their “like”
I’m sure my kids don’t mind because who doesn’t love money? And it may be my strong distaste for taking money from men. Or it’s just rude and careless.
Giving my kids money was just another ploy for these guys to not only get rid of my kids but also “buy” privacy with me.
“Hey, here’s a dollar, give us five minutes to ‘talk’” followed by immediate groping. (Which I always excused myself from).
Lack of Interest in the Kids
My daughter likes everyone. She’s friendly and sweet but she’s also 4 years old, so she’s IN YOUR FACE. My son on the other hand is the definition of “boys will be boys,” he’s loud and rambunctious, but also tends to be indifferent towards strangers.
Something my Mom always tells me is that the Oldest Child gets the brunt end of the stick when it comes to Step-Parents. So if someone mistreats my son or my son doesn’t like this person because they aren’t showing interest in him. I notice,
Trust me, as their mother, I know that not everything is as cool to you as my kids seem to think it is. But, they’re excited about the cool ninja kick they just learned. So just embrace it and move on.
Ultimately, If my potential partner is around and my kids want to show them something, I expect them to at least act very interested, give a high-five. Don’t break my kid’s heart because you didn’t want to give 5 seconds to say “Good job,” or “I really like your painting, it’s so cool.”
Being Visibly Annoyed at Their Existence
Trust me, I’m with my kids day in and day out. If my partner is visibly annoyed 5 minutes in, it is a huge red flag. Don’t date someone with kids, if you can’t handle the heat.
Kids throw fits and get angry just like adults. However, they don’t know how to manage their excitement, anger, or sadness, the same way that adults (sometimes) do.
I’m not going to demand that my kids sit still and be quiet just so my partner can tolerate them.
So, How Should My Partner Behave Around My Kids?
Genuine Interest in my kids…
I never expected what I saw the first few days watching my (now) ex with my kids. I had never seen this behavior. But, let me tell you this caused some serious googly eyes and butterflies.
But, he showed genuine interest in my kids and helped me a lot with them because as a single mom, I am a hot mess.
For instance, he came with me to my kids’ sports classes, and instead of distracting me, he kept his eyes on my children, Gave them water when they needed it, cheered for them when necessary, and helped us get ready when it was time to go.
One day I also overheard him helping my son with his homework while I was cooking dinner.
If he wanted to, he would.
Being Patient with their Tantrums
My son hates leaving the house and going anywhere. It can sometimes feel like I’m pulling a tooth.
I remember one day in particular when we all went to Home Depot. My son was complaining about being there and my (ex) partner was being patient with him. Something I have trouble with sometimes and never experienced anyone even try to handle. He used kind, encouraging words and assured him that we would go home soon. Of course, I stepped in, but just the fact that he tried was a refreshing breath of fresh air.
Respecting My Children and I
As I mentioned before, I had exes that were just constantly looking for an opportunity to get me away from my kids for their own benefit.
The perfect example is that my (ex) partner had no problem being in a separate room with my kids (i.e. in the living room while I was in the kitchen). He actively interacted with them, such as helping my (VERY STUBBORN, reading hating) son with his reading homework.
When it came to me, he didn’t grope me or kiss me in front of them. The most he did was hold my hand. I loved that he knew how to behave himself around my kids and show them how a man behaves.
A partner meeting your children should be a lot more than just your kids liking him (because he’s giving them money) and more than JUST how you feel about your partner. If you have kids, you also have to think about the long-term impact that this person could have on them. You can learn a lot just by watching your partners’ first interaction with your children.