What happens when your children don’t like who you are dating? Or specifically, they don’t your new man? Don’t sweat it too much. You do need to know that there IS a difference.
Many moms are conflicted when they start dating again. On the one hand, you don’t want to bring a string of men into the house, or into the lives of your kids. On the other hand, you want to know if the kids and your boy friend get along. He needs to pass the “kid test” if he is going to be part of your life.
What is the “Kid Test?”
Contrary to what it sounds like, the “kid test” should not mean that the man has to pass some obscure test, for the sake of the kids. What it should mean is that your man makes the effort to be friendly and engaging with your children, understands your commitments and passes the MOM test. Anything above that is a bonus!
Whether the kids respond in kind to him, is up to them. They can’t be forced to be warm and wonderful on command. You know they can be, but sometimes it takes time for everyone to get to know each other. A good boyfriend cares about whether your kids like him and will make the effort to talk to them on their level and will be open and friendly. In the best case scenario, every one likes each other and you are once big happy family (or sort of).
Depending on their ages, kids react differently to their mom dating. THAT’S THE REASON THE KID TEST IS NOT BASED ON THE KID’S CRITERIA. If your children are small, they might just go with the flow. Small things make them happy and they may not have the anger or strong emotional reaction to your dating that older childern do. If you make grown up decisions based on the kids, you may well end up dating the guy who buys yor kids the most stuff. That’s great for them, but where does that leave you?
When my marriage broke up, it took a long while for my girls (who were 12 and 13 at the time) to accept the fact that I might find another man attractive. I distinctly remember an evening hanging out with friends and we were discussing our celebrity crushes, past and present. I said that back in the day, I thought Kevin Costner was pretty hot. My daughter responded with a loud, “Eeew. ” NOT because of Kevin Costner, but because I wasn’t allowed to appreciate other men. It was funny, and a good example of what was to come as I began dating.
For a few months after that, when I would show them pictures of potential dates, only to be told that they looked like pedopiles. That truly wasn’t fair and quite untrue! Clearly, they were still adjusting to the idea my dating.
Alternative Plans: Moms are sneaky
I have known several moms with elementary school aged children who managed to introduce their new beau as a social contact, not necessarily as a new boyfriend. For example, they would “run into” their new male interest at a social function. Whether it was a school event, or friend’s barbecue, they managed to be at the same place without the threat of him being her date. Eventually, they would do things together, without the group. It was a very natural transition for the kids and a very successful strategy.
Worst Case Scenario: You Know What to Do
If your boyfriend and kids don’t mix well, it’s better to cut your losses before YOU are too involved. You KNOW what it’s like to be in a relationship that won’t work out. You want to be happy. You want your kids to be happy. AND we are not getting any younger. Life’s too short to waste on men who aren’t a good fit for you!
Two must follow tips:
- Don’t waste your time with someone who won’t engage with your kids.
- If after a reasonable period of time, they don’t mix well – ditch the BF, keep the kids!
Don’t forget the Dog Test too! You know you won’t be dating him if your dog doesn’t like him!
At least I know I won’t!