Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys
Food For Thought
When Parents Date
Sooner or later, after your parents divorce, they will start dating other people. Because I know you want your parents to be happy, and not be alone, there are some things to think about that might make watching your parents date easier for you.
1. Accepting the divorce. Its important to remember that your parents are not going to get back together, even if you have them watch the movie "Parent Trap" with you. Usually parents do not re-marry once they have gotten divorced, even if it seems that they are getting along better. They might get along better because they do not live together any more.
2. The first time that you meet the person they are dating at least give them a chance. They might just surprise you. Take it slow and get to know him or her.
3. Even if your parent decides to get married, their new spouse is not your mom or dad. You do not have to call the new partner mom or dad unless you want to. After all, you already have one mom and dad.
4. It's okay to like the new boyfriend or girlfriend. It's also okay not to like them. There is not rule that you have to love them. Only you know how you feel.
5. If you don't like it when your mom or dad kisses the new boyfriend or girlfriend, talk to them about it when you are alone. This is a big change for you and its important to tell your parent how you feel.
6. Sometimes parents want the new boyfriend or girlfriend to babysit you. It if bothers you, let your parent know. The new partner is not your parent and they should really not be disciplining you...your parents should do that. However, you should be respectful and polite. Also if you are doing something dangerous the new boyfriend or girlfriend should say something to you to keep you safe.
7. Sometimes parents can date someone who has kids of their own. This is hard. Remember that things might work out if you give it time. See how you feel about these new kids and decide if you like them.
The parent dating thing is new and may be uncomfortable. Give it time. Discuss how you feel when you are alone with your parent. It will get better easier.
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
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