Seeing a marriage end is never easy. For some people, moving on can mean beginning to date again. Dating with kids after divorce can be challenging, however, as some children may not respond positively to meeting a new partner. The process can go more smoothly if handled the right way. In this article, we will discuss some tips for dating after a divorce. If you have questions related to the divorce process, you can learn more by contacting the experienced Colorado divorce lawyers of the Colorado Divorce Law Group at (720) 593-6442.
According to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, not all children respond the same way to divorce. Divorce is almost always difficult for both the parents and the children, regardless of the children’s age. However, divorce affects children of different age groups in different ways.
There is a common misconception that divorce is easiest for children when they are extremely young because they do not start forming memories until age 3. This is false, however, as research has shown that memory likely begins at an even younger age. In a 2011 study by the Society for Research in Child Development, researchers found that 4-year-olds had memories from early in their lives, but the youngest children in the study did not retain these memories. Instead, they could only remember things from a few months prior.
This means that a 3-year-old might remember parental fights from when they were 2 years old and may even become upset when these memories occur. But as they grow older, they will forget such memories. While this may seem to suggest that a divorce would be easier on toddlers, they can still be impacted by memories surrounding such circumstances. Parents can help their young children better cope with divorce by sticking to the same routines in both households and working to create a supportive environment for them.
Preschool-age children begin to better understand abstract concepts, ask more questions, and learn how they fit into the world around them. Fights between parents may be very stressful for them, especially if the home was previously stable. They may respond by crying and may feel scared, and many children in this age group may blame themselves.
Completing the divorce can provide relief for the child, especially if the parents can work together in a civil manner and create a new sense of stability. For some families, mediation-based co-parenting can help achieve this goal. You can learn more about child custody mediation and matters related to dating with kids after divorce by contacting the Colorado Divorce Law Group.
According to the website Healthline, children in elementary school may have the toughest time dealing with a divorce. They may remember when the marriage was happy and the family was together, and they are capable of understanding complex emotions. Children in this age group may make the divorce about them and blame themselves. Just as with the younger age groups, developing a stable co-parenting strategy can help make the transition easier for children in elementary school.
Teenagers are the most capable of understanding the feelings that can lead their parents to divorce. If the marriage was rocky towards the end, they may see the divorce as a relief. Compared with younger children, teenagers are much less likely to blame themselves and may not question whether their parents love them. At this age, parents can talk with their kids openly and honestly about the divorce. If a teenager is struggling with the divorce, it may be worth hiring a counselor to help them deal with it.
Most children need some time to adjust to a divorce before they feel comfortable with their parents seeing new people. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, waiting six months after separation may provide enough time for children to process a divorce and feel comfortable with their parents moving on. Parents should talk with their children about their new partners and listen to the children’s feelings and opinions on the matter.
Children do not need to meet every person a parent dates; introducing them only to those who become serious partners is best. Introducing a new partner too soon may put a child at risk of becoming attached to the person, which could result in a difficult situation if the relationship were to end. A recently divorced parent should also have conversations with a new partner about when the partner would feel comfortable meeting their children and should prepare the partner for such a meeting.
Patience is important when bringing a new romantic partner into your child’s life. Many children may initially be anxious and may take some time to warm up to the new partner. Initial meetings should move at a slow pace — you should not expect your new partner and child to like each other immediately. It is important that your new partner and child develop a relationship, but this relationship will likely develop slowly over time. If your child has negative feelings about your new partner, listen and help the child work through those feelings.
If you are struggling with dating with kids after divorce, you are not alone — this is one of the most difficult adjustments for parents to make after a divorce. Although it may be challenging, handling the situation in the right way can make the transition easier for you, your child, and the person you are dating. At the Colorado Divorce Law Group, our team of dedicated Colorado divorce lawyers helps our clients with a variety of divorce-related matters, including dating after divorce. We also provide guidance in the form of mediation-based child custody agreements. Learn more by contacting our compassionate and dedicated Colorado divorce attorneys today at (720) 593-6442.