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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Jennifer's Gems > Single Parent Dating Tips

by Jennifer Brown Banks

Single Parent Dating Tips

With the high divorce rate, reproductive options, and changing norms, single parenting has become a very relevant dynamic on today's dating scene.

Not only is this a role relegated to an increasing number of women, but numerous men have assumed primary custody of their children, and factor in as well.

Though this lifestyle status presents its share of challenges, it can be very successful if managed properly.

Things to consider as you chart your course include: your dating goals, the age of your children, whether or not your ex is still active in your kids' lives and has decision making input, and your personal preferences and romantic personality.
 If you're one of the millions of singles parenting without a partner, here are a few things to consider as you navigate the current dating scene.

Single Parent Dating Tips
Dos and Don'ts

  • Tread carefully.  Never compromise your standards or date with desperation.

  • Men (and women) will come and go.  Always be certain to put your child's well being and safety first.

  • Never lie about your status.  If a potential mate is not able to accept your child(ren) as part of the “total” package, he/she is not the right one for you.

  • As with all things in life, timing is important. Don't needlessly expose your kids to daters with whom you have not yet established a serious relationship. Why? Because you don't want them to be privy to revolving door relationships, nor is it wise for them to become emotionally attached to fly-by-nighters!

  • Seek proper balance.  Know that you deserve to have a social life as a single parent. It helps to minimize stress and enables you to become more well rounded. Additionally, the happier you become, the better your kids' environment becomes.

  • Expect there to be a little jealousy from your kids in the beginning; it's perfectly normal.

  • Create a climate of respect both for the individuals you date and your children.

  • Pray for discernment and direction. Sometimes people don't reveal dysfunctional or dangerous traits until many months after dating, and sometimes when it's much too late altogether. Prayer can provide protection.

  • Pace yourself. “In the words of Elvis Presley, “Only fools rush in.”

  • Seek a support system to help you and keep you sane.  (On a side note...the other day while doing yard work in my back yard, I overheard a young mother screaming and berating her little one for having wet herself the night before, as she escorted her to school. “Dummy”, she called the little girl and kept shouting at her until they had walked out of my sight.  This young woman was clearly overwhelmed and under supported.  The likely result? The child will grow up with esteem issues and some emotional scars along the way.) Don't be like her. You're better than that.

  • Trust your gut.  Whether it's “woman's intuition”, or just an uneasy feeling---heed it

Here are a few tips if you don't have kids, but are dating someone who is a single parent.

  • Don't make the person you are dating feel guilty about having to tend to the needs of a child.  Sometimes a date may have to be broken or delayed due to sitter problems, an unexpected fever, or an upset stomach of a little one. Understand it and adjust.

  • When the situation dictates or permits, plan activities that include the kids. It will score big brownie points with them as well as the person you're dating.

  • Never bad mouth the kids' non-custodial parent in the kids' presence.  It shows a lack of respect and makes you a kid too! 

  • Recognize that a woman or man that is a good parent often times makes a good partner.  Typically, (though not always), they are more mature, nurturing, and able to juggle more, due to experience.  Don't always view it as a “deficit”. Rather than see them as having “extra baggage”, consider them as being “equipped better.”

  • Never attempt to give the kids orders or take the role of the missing parent, unless you are living with them and helping to pay the bills of the household.  Allow discipline to come from the parents.

Keep these tips in mind to have a more meaningful experience as you embark upon single parent dating.

...And Happy Father's Day to all the single dads who are making a difference! I applaud you.


Jennifer's Gems
is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday.
Click here to read her welcome letter.

Related Articles:
> Warning Issued to Single Parents
> Single Parent with Disabled Child
> Online Dating for the Single Parent

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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