Meeting the kids for the first time

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Meeting the kids for the first time
3
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 7:10am
Wasn't sure the best place to post this but I'll try here. I've been dating someone w/ 3 girls ages 12 and up. He is in the process of a D and it is not final. I haven't met his kids yet but he believes they will like me. I'm in my mid thirties never been married and no children. He's in his early 40's. We were discussing when the time is right, the best way to introduce me to his kids. I was thinking of just telling them I am a friend and do something casual with them. I would love some advice from people who have BTDT. We are holding off meeting them as long as possible. Their mother is dating but they haven't met him but know about it. They do not know their Dad is dating. The M was dead for a couple of years before he left but I think they hid it from the kids. Thanks. P.S- I know it's dangerous to date someone who is not D'ed yet but that is not my concern here. We have a very open, honest relationship and communicate our concerns all the time. I just would like information on meeting the children.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 1:22pm
First off - kids aren't stupid, and once they meet a new female "friend" of dad's it won't take them long to figure out how close a friend you are, particularly teenagers. So you might as well be honest about your relationship from the start. They don't need details - but they should be told that you are important to their dad.

When I met my husband's kids we went to a drive-in movie together, and then the four of us played putt-putt together on another occasion. It's less stressful to do casual things socially than to have a big family dinner on "their" turf. It was really hard for me at first because I felt like an outsider, but I eventually realized that I had to make an effort to get to know them, not just expect them to make all the effort on my behalf. (I'm kind of spoiled that way!) But teenagers are typically self-centered and expect the adults to do the work, so things improved once I started acting like the adult instead of the spoiled child.

You need to realize and accept that these things take time - sometimes a long time. You're not going to meet them and live happily ever after. But it doesn't have to be a horror story, either - just keep an open mind and remember that even if they are teenagers - they are still kids at heart, and probably Daddy's girls. I have to make sure I allow my SDs private time with their father, because sometimes they just need that. I'm discovering that teenaged girls are a breed unto themselves! Even though I was one once myself, I do not have any idea what is like to deal with divorced parents, so I try to give my SDs a little latitude. (But not too much or they will take it and RUN!)

(BTW - I do have my own kids, and sometimes it really doesn't help in dealing with them - they are younger, and both boys, and so different from my SDs.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 1:01pm
First of all I want to say good luck. Teenage girls are difficult enough under so called normal circumstances. I met my step dad when I was about 16. The best thing that he did for my brothers and I was give us space. He didn't try to push his way in or buy our affection. We never felt like he was trying to replace our dad. Don't stand back too far or they may get the impression that you think you are too good for them. Ask questions and show an interest in their hobbies etc, even if you don't have any idea about what they are talking about. My fiance has used this same approach with my kids (ds 12 & dd 7). So far it has worked out great. The kids go to him with questions, concerns, news about school etc as much as they do to me. It didn't happen over night. It has taken us a year to get to this point. It was difficult in the beginning but well worth the effort. I'm sure it will work out great for you. You have already shown that you care about these kids just by asking for advice.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 4:34pm
First, I want to say that it is great the way you are thinking this through. You seem like the kind of person who will handle this gracefully.

My boyfriend and I both have daughters so I've been on both sides. I met his daughter at his house one evening - we played board games, then she went up to her room and we watched a movie. This way, she understood that there was more to our relationship than friendship, without being blunt about it. I wasn't uncomfortable being on "their" turf, but that's just me. Maybe you could find a way to let his daughters know about your relationship without stating it. In addition, he met my daughter at my house and we carved pumpkins.

I feel meeting at their home made each girl more comfortable. They were also able to show off their bedrooms and anything they were proud of (swim trophies, artwork, etc.). Speaking of that, DO ask questions about their extracurricular activities. They may roll their eyes, but you will be showing an interest that will not be forgotten!

I wish you the best of luck.

Tammy