Looking For Love: Don’t Forget The Kids

Tony G asks: “me cyan date nobody wid no pickney, because mi nuh want gyal come gimme no jacket!?”

When dating someone who is a parent, never forget about the kids – but don’t make into an issue about tailoring.

That’s one lesson that’s in my top ten things I was taught when it comes to the dating game. Single parents need love too, just like everyone else. They too deserve to find happiness, especially if it’s just them and the kids with the ex “neither here nor there”. Still, sometimes the kids can get lost in the dating shuffle too, especially if the parent is looking for companionship or a long-term commitment.

It’s easier for that to happen than you may think. No matter the age of the child, there will always been some adjustment to this new person that their parent is seeing. Some parents are so caught up in the romance that they cast the feelings of the kids to the side. I’ve seen such effects first hand:

A friend dated an older woman I knew for a few months who had two pre teens. During their relationship, one of her daughters was about to graduate middle school. So clearly they had seen Mommy talking and texting and giggling on the phone at home with someone and were curious. One day over lunch they talked bout her kids and how they were reacting to the relationship. At the end of lunch she asked my friend to accompany her to her daughter’s graduation. To her initial surprise, he politely declined her offer. While he stated being flattered she wanted him to attend, he saw some baggage in the situation he just didn’t like. Eventually she saw where he was coming from, and even thanked him down the line.

I’ve seen people get together and it’s two parents and the kids just clash, or the parents deciding to put the needs of their relationship before the needs of their kids. While I make no claims to understand being a parent, I do know that it’s not fair to the kids if the parent decides that this is the one aspect of their lives that the kids will not be involved in. Even though the kids are not in the relationship, their presence should not be ignored.

Does it mean that they go the other way and try to be too accommodating to the kids? Of course not, as it becomes a sacrifice in an area that can be unhealthy. If people go down that road it has the potential of messing with everyone involved if the relationship falls bad.

People are often scared off with dating parents based on either the “baby mamma drama” or “getting a jacket” (being told by a woman that her child is their offspring when that’s not the case). While it’s unfair to write any dating parent off because of the presence of kids, the kids shouldn’t be “pushed aside because they’re kids” in the pursuit of love and happiness.

Still, at the end of the day kids aren’t dating the person – the parent is. They just have to be smart about doing what’s best for meeting their needs, like with everything else.

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