Single parents or divorced parents can sometimes find it difficult to balance responsibility for their children with responsibility for their own emotional development and wellbeing. It is important to acknowledge these challenges and the opportunities they offer us to grow emotionally, do the right thing, and feel proud.
Parents who separate or divorce need to spend lots of time with their children and adjust to the new routine together. Often this means living somewhere new, possibly the child going to a new school, and not having immediate daily access to the other parent. For adults and for children this new situation can give rise to feelings of anger and loss. These feelings and reactions are all normal and, if handled correctly, they will pass. This means time and space, and lots of talking together.
Learning to adapt is an intense time, and parents and children often find they become closer as a result. This is a strong basis on which to go forward when a parent decides they are ready for a new relationship.
Building a new relationship
Children are still growing emotionally and need to be spared unnecessary detail about adult relationships. For a parent the focus of any decisions must be the welfare of their child, and this gives parents the opportunity to explore new relationships at their own pace.
Many single and divorced or separated parents find internet dating on websites such as http://www.eharmony.co.uk to be convenient because it allows them the time and privacy to build a new relationship online without ever having to hire a babysitter. Internet dating can be done from the comfort of your own home, inexpensively and after the children are tucked up in bed. It’s easy to find other single parents by searching online profiles, too.
Meeting the children
Eventually, you may find a new partner who you wish to date. Wait until you are absolutely sure this is a serious relationship with a future before you decide to introduce your children to a new partner. When you do decide to go ahead, make sure:
- If your ex is involved with parenting, you tell them first so they can help support your child emotionally
- The introduction is low key and appropriate – a quiet walk in the park rather than a loud family wedding
From London to Bradford singles all over the UK are connecting and sharing advice and stories on internet chat rooms about being a single or divorced parent. The general consensus seems to be: ensure your child has plenty of opportunities to talk to you privately, listen to what they say, and act on it appropriately. Their reactions could include jealousy and protectiveness towards you, but they may also have fears about the future, so be patient with them and don’t push them into anything. Keep the welfare of your child as top priority and follow your gut.