When is a good time for my significant other to introduce me to his/her children? How can we prepare the children for this?
There is no specific time that is right for everyone. Experts usually recommend waiting until the relationship is serious and committed (in that the significant other is expected to be a regular and stable part of your life). Some tips based on research and therapists’ clinical experience with stepfamilies are:
- Give the children opportunities to know the significant other and develop a friendship before announcing an engagement or a decision to live together.
- The new partner should take time getting to know the children and form a friendship before acting in more of a parental role.
- It may be easier for children if the couple does not show a lot of physical affection in front of them.
- Try to have the initial meetings occur outside of the home and involve doing a fun, casual activity (such as going to a sporting event, museum, playground, etc).
- Be aware that it can take a long time for the children to accept the new person.
For more information, see:
Kim Leon, Ph.D., Former Assistant Professor and State Specialist, Human Development & Family Studies, Human Environmental Sciences Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia
Alison Levitch, Human Development & Family Studies Graduate Student, Human Environmental Sciences Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Wednesday, May 13, 2009