Calling all single parents: How do I date someone with children?

For as long as I can remember I have always said I would never, under any circumstances, date a guy with children.

Then I met him. He has two beautiful daughters (5 and 9), and though I haven't met them, as I grow to love their dad, I already love them as an extension of him. I don't have any clue what's come over me, but now I find myself needing advice on how to best not fuck this up.

His love for his kids and his willingness to openly put them before me completely unashamed has made me like him even more, and has made me grow to respect him as a man who has his priorities straight. It's looking like soon (ish) it will be serious enough for me to meet them. So how do I deal with this? What can I do, what shouldn't I do, what can I expect from them as far as resentment, and what kind of protectiveness can I expect from their mom out of fear of me stepping on her toes?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Don't discipline them directly for doing generally bad thongs, let him do that, but don't be a pushover. If they do anything directly to you that you don't like, simply voice that: you have as much right to stop them from messing with you as anyone.
    That being said, the most important thing you can show them is patience. They are kids: as mean and pigheaded as they can be, they are just trying to learn how to be a person. Sometimes, they will step on your toes, both literally and figuratively. Don't get angry, just try to direct them in the right way.
    Realize that if the relationship is to become something more permanent, you may become family. They might be your new daughters, and you their new mom. Don't be afraid though: being their mom will be an awesome and fulfilling experience. Begin showing care and affection for them right now: you are auditioning for their love just as much as you are auditioning for his. Buy them presents on their special ocassions, be involved in what they are doing, and put their needs before yours.
    As for him, doing all of these things for his daughters will make you a thousand times more attractive. Just as they will start to see you as their mom, so too will he start to see you as his woman, his wife: soneone who will help him as a parent, a partner in all he does. The most important thing, however, is that you can't treat him like a dad. He is your man, and as much as both of your relationships with your kids will make you parents, you have to remember that at his core he will want you above all else. Be that woman he craves, and make him feel like a man.

    Source: I am marrying a single parent myself.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • I think you should act like a friend rather than a parental figure. They have both parents and don't need another one.

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    • Thanks. I agree, their mom sounds like a wonderful mother, I would never want to step on her toes.

What Guys Said 12

  • All you can do is be yourself. If you like kids then just enjoy your time with them. You know him well so you can joke about him with the kids to show your fun side. He will appreciate you bringing him into the picture.

    About their mother, best you can do is let her make the decisions about her kids, show respect and realize sometimes you have to bite your lip, unless he actually asks your opinion. Don't offer it readily, as this can become an issue with him and her.

    Kids are fun and awesome, so revert back to your childhood and remember what you enjoyed about your family and share similar fun times with them. The kids and their dad will grow to love you more each day.

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  • Just be yourself around his kids and treat his kids how you would treat kids in your family like neices and nephews etc. That is great you found a great guy.

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  • Been there, on both sides. I don't know how long you have been dating, but I think it's a mistake for single parents to introduce their children trto their romantic interest until there is a decent chance it could be permanent. Act like you would be wiadth a girlfriend's children. Leave all the parenting to him. Basically treat them as you would any person you have just met. Children are people too, they are just naive and a bit more emotional than most adults.

    There's no telling what to expect from their mom. She may love you for being nice to her children. Or she may be insanely jealous. There's nothing you can do about that except avoid her and just keep on being your lovely self.

    You may get some jealousy from the children because you are getting attention from their father. That will probably pass pretty quickly since they are so young. Good luck! You sound like a sweetheart. He's lucky to have someone so considerate.

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  • Remember, your not just dating the person, your also dating their kid, so to speak. For example, its like when dating a woman, you have to also win over her best friend and parents. Its a package deal, they also may not be able to find time to date at certain times, or may be to exhausted to do anything. Its just like dating anyone else, except there's a bonus or 3, the kids. Their top priority will be their kids, well a good parents would. So if they can't find a baby sitter or do something the three or more of you can do, depending on how many kids, them chamces are they can't go out. If you do somwthing at their place, remember they may be tired from the kids. Also to be interupted a lot by the kid asking questions or wanting attention too or a friend to play with. Its hard work at first but soon you'll get the hang of it and you'll find its well worth it and fun. Cause i mean come on, you now have a good plausible excuse to act like a kid again and go on rides or play with toys or use your imagination

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  • Just take the initiative and be friendly with the kids. If they like you their real mom really can't say mean stuff to you. Kids of one of the partners can seal the deal when it comes to relationships.

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  • Jesus crisp. Those two kid are people. How you meet and make friend are the same seeing them. Those kid are his family members, so imagine if they were his little sister, how would you react. If the guy you dating don't bring drama to your life then you should be fine.

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  • At your age, I wouldn't do it. You'll always be #2 at best. His kids may grow to resent you and his ex will always be an obstacle. You're grown, but I wouldn't do it. Too much drama, compromises and work.

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  • Make sure the kids like you.

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  • I dont date women with kids anymore. It was a complete and total nightmare when i did. Was almost forced into a father role after a month.

    Never again.

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  • Don't do it most step moms and dads aren't good people.

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  • For now, act like an older cousin or their aunt. Does that help?

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  • Just try to see them as a friend. Like you would with a friends kids. Like little nieces or nephew or little cousins. Maybe learn what they like from the father first and get them some small gift for when you first meet to give a good impression. Don't try to act like a mother to them unless they start treating you and seeing you as a mother assuming it becomes that serious.

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    • They're primarily with their mom so I don't think they'll ever "need" that mother figure from me, thankfully. Thank you.

What Girls Said 9

  • My boyfriend have 3 kids aged from 7-10. I love kids personally. I remember when I first met his kids, we all went to an ice skating rink. I met them on the second date when I first met my boyfriend which was fast since we both looking into something serious in the very beginning. So when I first met his kids, I just simply be myself, and I treated them like my friends. Saying hello and asked for their names. Apparently my boyfriend did a great job to introduce who I am before he brought his kids to meet me up so the kids already who am I with their dad. So the kids held my hand in the ice skating rink and we all had good time and we all get along. Very well. You should just relax and be whoever you are, kids usually like it when you just be friendly to them. You shouldn't be controlling like asking what the kids should do in the beginning, just let them listen to their dad and not adding any opinions onto how to do parenting , even when something came up that you can't agree on, since you just met them and your role is their dad's girlfriend, and kids don't understand things too complicated and they just stick with their dad at this moment. Every kid is different, I got luck and my boyfriend did a good job on education so they all like me. however when something unfortunate may happen, just take some time to show them you are a decent person and you make their dad happy. Good luck.

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  • I'm a single mom, but my daughter is much younger than those kids. I believe I read the rule of thumb is that they absolutely won't see you as a parent at all until you have been in their life for half of the age they are. So in 2.5 years for the 5 year old and 4.5 years for the 9 year old. Until then you are Def a friend/fav aunt/big sister.

    I get it that dad is about your age, but the concept is to prevent yourself from stepping into the parental role too soon. And if dad doesn't have them much, they might not ever see you as a parent figure (especially the older one).

    As for handling things with the mom and dad, I would say remember that they are the parents. Even if you've been together 10 years, decisions for the kids are always up to them. I'm sure they may appreciate the occasional observation, but the decisions are theirs. So I would say, maybe just make sure you keep that in perspective as you go forward if there is something you don't agree with. And aside from that just go with the flow. Some mom's are more ok with things than others, etc.

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  • I think in any situation like this, you just need to hope for the best. There is no way to predict what their behaviour will be. The best thing to do is to not act like a parent to them. Just try to be positive in your interactions. Let him be the parent, at least for now. Your role may change as your relationship develops, but for now just be positive.

    When it comes to their mom, the best thing to do is stay out of the parental decisions. It's their choice how they are going to raise their daughters. If you are invited to have an opinion, that is fine. But for the most part try to stay out of it. There is no way to know beforehand what kind of reaction you are going to get from the mother. Some may be resentful while others may not even care. She could have moved on herself and will be happy he has done the same.

    Good luck!

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  • Great question, but very difficult to answer. Every situation is completely different. I would say given their age and yours, you should aim to act more like a big sister to them. Let him set the pace, even have a talk with him about what HE thinks is appropriate and what HE would like you to be with his kids. Because you also don't want to act a certain way and have him turned off by it because he didn't agree with it. From the kids' perspective, don't off the bat act like a parent. That takes time getting used to. Some kids are more open minded, some will be more resentful. You'll have no idea until you meet them (or talk to him) but you're gonna have to feel out the situation. Protectiveness from the mother will also depend on how involved she is in their lives. Again, something you should ask him in terms of how to navigate that relationship.

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    • Thank you. Good advice and just for the record. He had children very young he's not an older man or anything. I'm 24 and he's 25 so I don't know how I feel about the sister vibe :P

    • Ahh haha okay. Well still more cool friend than stern mommy lol

    • Yeah I'm definitely not looking to mother them, they have a mother who is doing a great job of that lol

  • Do not never start antagonizing with his kids, some women do that and is wrong. Be nice and kind to them but dont try to be their mum ( that would upset their actual mum) . Have patience, kids are all cute and lovable especially when you know them only from a photo but can also be annoying at times even if they are yours so yes be patient. As for resentment the kids won't have any, just be nice to them

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  • Not a single parent, but an experienced veteran of dating guys with kids, myself. The best advice that any person could offer is to respect the way he handles them and to love them as if they were your own. And, don't discipline them, unless he ever gives you the okay.

    Other than that, you have a great, healthy relationship and you should enjoy it as much as you can. :)

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  • You simply don't!

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  • You don't
    It doesn't seem worth the potential baby mama drama. The only way I would date a single dad is if the mom is dead or if he has full custody

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  • Be kind and defer to him on decisions. Also make sure that, aside from very occasional instances, he's there to parent and doesn't just leave you to take care of kids you have no authority over.

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