For those of you planning to introduce a new partner to your family, well, it can be nerve-wracking. How do you avoid those awkward moments? Linda reveals tips on Introducing a New Partner to Your Family.
Keep It As Brief As Possible
If you can, try to keep the first meeting short and sweet. Limit it to an hour, or a couple of hours, at most. A short meeting will take some of the pressure off, not to mention saving yourselves the awkwardness of a long visit, or stressful sit down dinner. Try a coffee meet up or just pop in to say hi. Once everyone is more comfortable, you can start planning those dinners and holidays together. But first, start small.
Brief Your Partner on the Family Dynamics
Please, please don’t let your partner go into this meeting feeling clueless. If you can foresee a misunderstanding, then give your partner a heads up and brief them about your family’s dynamics. You don’t need to air the dirty laundry but a broad overview of important or sensitive issues can really help. You don’t want to scare your partner. You just want them to be prepared so they can “roll with the punches” if needed.
Keep It Positive
Remember to avoid sharing too much baggage and limit the negative references about your family as much as possible, especially if it’s early on in the relationship. You want your partner to look forward to the meeting, not scare them so they end up not wanting to meet your family. The intention is to keep them informed, not to cause them to have negative expectations about meeting your family.
Introducing Your Partner to the Kids? Read This.
When introducing your new partner to your kids, it’s best to ease them into it. Remember parents…their needs come first, so take things slow. A new relationship may be a relief to you, but your kids aren’t likely to share the same sentiments. You know your kids best, so take your cues on their reaction, tolerance, and adaptability to change. Practice patience when breaking the news to them and allow time for them to absorb and adjust. Perhaps start by telling them you started seeing someone and take it from there. Give them a chance to talk about their feelings about the situation. Should there be concerns, practice listening, validating, and understanding. Let them know that it’s normal to feel unsettled about the whole thing. Validate their feelings and never reprimand. They may feel like this new person is coming in to replace their other parent or take you away from them. The most appropriate thing for you to do in this case is to reassure them that nothing is going to change – you will always be their parent, you will always make time for them, and they will always come first.
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