Seven Ways to Ease Kids` Anxiety When You Date

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When their parents date, it creates anxiety in children and teens. The changes and losses they have gone through often cause them to feel jealous and insecure

When their parents
date, it creates anxiety in children and teens. The changes and losses they
have gone through often cause them to feel jealous and insecure.  They may bec

ome uncooperative, withdrawn, and rebellious
or over attached to you.  Each child,
depending on age and personality, will react differently.  But it is important to understand that they are
struggling with two main feelings.

First, children hold a fantasy that their
parents will be reunited so they do not want their other parent replaced  Second,
children fear losing your love
and attention and believe they
will bec

ome less important. 

These strong
feelings are seld

om expressed openly.   Therefore it bec
omes critical to be prepared and act in a way
that helps them adjust to your dating and share their feelings.  Here are five ways to help ease their
concerns and anxiety.

  1. Give your children reassurance that
    they are loved and your relationship with them will not change.  A child who feels secure is less likely
    to feel frightened.  Now is the time
    to set aside special time with each child, even if it is only 15 minutes
    day.  Quality time tells the child
    you are paying attention and they are important.  This time if for them, do not burden
    your children with adult issues, or adult feelings.  Do not use them as surrogate partners,
    friends, or little therapist.  

  1. Allow your children to express all of
    their feelings about your dating, positive or negative.  Listen and show concern, and do not be
    reactive by yelling, judging or criticizing.   They can better adjust to the situation
    if they feel their needs and sensitivities are being recognized.   Helping them to express their anger or
    frustration without doing damage is the goal.    Once they are allowed to express their
    feelings they are more likely not to act out inappropriately. 

  1. Avoid introducing your children to
    your casual dating relationships.   Children can get attached easily and suffer more loss. Introducing
    a series of casual dates to your children will only cause them more
    anxiety and ambivalence. Immediately following a divorce or break-up it is
    wise to limit your dating or be discreet to avoid confusing and burdening
    your children.

  1. When it is time to make introductions,
    do not force children to accept your date.  Go slowly.  Talk to your
    children ahead of time as to how you expect them to behave.  It is important always to teach your
    children to respect others and to be kind.   They do not have to like s

    omeone to be respectful.

  1. Be mindful of your sexual morals, and
    remember you are always a role model.  Children do what you do more than what you say.  Keep in mind that teens are struggling
    with their own emerging sexuality and have trouble dealing with a parent`s
    sexuality.    These are individual
    choices made according to your children`s needs. 

  1. Do not let your date exert authority
    over your children. Your children will respond to you better than your
    significant other until there is sufficient time for integration into the
    family.   Always set appropriate
    boundaries with your children, disciplining in front of your significant
    date is appropriate.   

  1. Consider counseling to integrate
    families.  Or if you have a
    significant partner that you are spending considerable time with.  Blending families are challenging
    especially when children are carrying around unresolved grief associate
    with loss of a parent.  Counseling
    gives everyone an opportunity to be seen and heard, and facilitates the
    adjustment phase of families c

    oming together.  Sooner than later is better. 


Being single with
has it own set of challenges can be demanding and exhausting.   And as a single parent you can be confused
as to how to parent and date at the same time.  Keep in mind that c

ommunication is always the goal.  We want to let go of blaming, angry outburst,
silence withdrawal or acting out, all of which can occur in families, either by
you or your children. Being sensitive to one another, respectful of your needs
as well as your children`s needs is what will bring families together.  Healthy talk is the way to get there.      

author of The
Jill Principle: A Woman`s Guide to Healing Your Spirit after Divorce or Breakup
has a master`s degree in social work


and is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker and Marriage Family
Therapist in

.  She is a Certified Bioenergetic Analyst, offering an
approach that resolves the emotional pain remaining in the body,
increasing the individuals well being and capacity for pleasure. She conducts
workshops and seminars on a variety of mental health topics and life changing
issues.  She has appeared on radio, cable
television and in print media, and has lectured aboard major cruise lines such
as the

and Royal Caribbean. For more information and to sign up for her free
newsletter visit

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