The right time to introduce the kids to dad’s new girlfriend.

There’s a saying that visitors who overstay their welcome start smelling like dead fish, in other words social calls come with an unspoken time limit and the guest’s job is to know when it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve also learned these are solid words to live by when introducing your new sweetie pie to the kids for the first time.

Getting kids and the new girlfriend’s family together can rack a nerve quicker than an IRS audit. Our minds get carried away leading up to the fateful gathering “What kind of kids does she have”? “Will our daughters get along?” “Will her son like me or even acknowledge that I’m there?”  And if that isn’t enough there is timing to think about, make it too early in the relationship and you might find yourself explaining what happened to the nice lady.

But meeting dad’s new girlfriend is just as stressful and way more awkward for the kids. Let’s face it, she ain’t mom and if they’re old enough to really understand what’s going on their emotional side usually overtakes their rational one putting them in a zombie-like state as they try to figure out how to deal with all of it.  Similar to anything else first impressions are the ones that last and I believe the first time the gang gets together a little planning will go a long way.

  • Short – keep it under an hour. That way you’re sure never to overkill the moment by dragging it out (remember the dead fish analogy).
  • Public – stay away from meeting at somebody’s home. Go with the park or maybe the mall, should things go sideways you’ve got distractions and if necessary escape routes. My kids met the Queen and her kids after church one Sunday morning and we walked to our cars together – it’s a really big parking lot.
  • Easy –  keep away from meals, movies, sporting events or other drawn out activities. Not only do most of these take you past the hour limit it opens up the group to choices and when kids have to make choices drama routinely follows.

First introductions should be little more than casual get-to-knows and putting names to faces, but you’ll discover it will make the next get-together much more relaxed and far more enjoyable.

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10 responses to The right time to introduce the kids to dad’s new girlfriend.

  1. Random Girl

    Good advice yet again. I haven’t had to deal with a situation of my princess meeting a new man and his kids. I am super protective and she has only casually met 1 man and that was after we were super serious. The Ex hubs has her around his gf and her kids all the time when he has her, which isn’t often but still leaves me unsettled. But the keep is casual and in public with lots of distractions and her girls are good to the princess so she seems ok with it. It’s tricky stuff though… I’m a little scared! 

  2. If only every guy in the world were reading this!!! 
    SERIOUSLY! I know so many guys that drag new girlfriends into the lives of their children is if she were a new housekeeper. It confuses and hurts, leaving marks that scar. 
    Great post! Get the awareness OUT THERE!

  3. Thanks Kimberly! I’m doing my best. I’m convinced that most people simply don’t care to learn another way of thinking. 

  4. all you can do is remain the consistent in her life. There is little you can or should do about the ex and his family situation as long as it doesn’t involve a physical or emotional danger to your little girl. 

  5. DivorcE

    I am in the process of divorcing a woman who cheated on me. It is a long and bitter divorce, and i have been dating someone for the past 5 months. We broke up today because she said I hadn’t introduced her to my 10 year old daughter. My daughter isn’t ready for that, and she has more hardship coming as the family house has to be sold. Hurting over the loss of my girlfriend, but so grateful for my little girl. Choosing to put her first.

  6. newgirlH

    Thank you! Without reading this my boyfriend introduced me to his son with those exact steps. Now, I just wish the mother could read this. There really is only so much to do about our relationship and there is definitely never any physical danger. However, the emotional danger I feel came from her. When she irrationally yelled at my boyfriend in front of their son. My boyfriend, remained very calm, only begging to have her walk away from their son to discuss this. The child is only four, and now has said he is sorry, and says he can just “fib to mommy” about me. How can we be sure to know that he understands he has done nothing wrong. I do not do any parenting rules to him, but try to be a good example of an adult around him. I am the only girlfriend he has ever been around and plan to be the last. Is there anything I can do or just pray she will not react this way anymore, at least in front of their son. I understand her feelings , I just feel that the yelling and name calling in front of the child caused more harm than me walking my dog while I meet them on a bike ride! Any advice is appreciated!

  7. Kyle Bradford – Author

    DivorcE, I admire you for making that tough decision. I have been there. Know now that there will betimes when you will likely second guess what you did. But stand firm in your decision and the benefit of your daughter. This is something I will soon be writing about, by you not making that introduction, it said to your ex girlfriend that you weren’t committed to her, that is how she interpreted it. She was using you bringing her into your daughter’s life as a litmus test for your your relationship.

    Thanks for your comment and all the best!

  8. Kyle Bradford – Author

    NewgirlH, his ex simply over reacted that you were brought into their son’s life. She feels threatened. There is nothing you nor he could have done about that or anticipated it. The child is four and he will in all likelihood remember none of what occurred. I wouldn’t over think that episode very much. As the years go along, the best thing that you and your boyfriend (his dad) can do is model for him what a proper and appropriate dating relationship should look like. One that you can use as the standard for him to follow when he is at the dating age.

    As a girlfriend, you are in a difficult position, with the knowledge that whatever you may do will likely be interpreted by his ex as you trying to replace her. Your boyfriend will have to manage that as best as possible. Often ex wife’s try to become the new girlfriend’s friend, I don;t encourage this as it will cause strife between you and your boyfriend (her ex husband).

    Instead, knowing your role and the part you play, that you are an adult who will or does love her child and has his/her best interest at all times is what is really important.

    That said, you should never feel responsible for someone else’s overreaction, and neither should the little boy.

    Thanks for writing in and your feedback and kind words.

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