Divorce can be an emotionally taxing and stressful ordeal for those involved, but it can be particularly difficult for children. As such, it is important for divorced Maryland parents to exercise care when introducing their children to a new romantic interest. It can be hard to predict how your child will react to meeting a parent’s new partner, making it necessary to consider a number of factors in order to determine whether he or she is ready for such a potentially life-changing experience.

According to one study, children of divorce between the ages of 5 and 10 are more likely to feel possessive of their mothers than older children, meaning that a child in this range could feel resentful or threatened when asked to share their mother’s time with a stranger. Likewise, the study found that young children also tend to become upset when their fathers begin dating. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is safe to introduce an older child to a new partner, as the 20-year study also revealed that most children of divorce are prone to confusion when their parents begin seeing new people. As such, you should carefully consider whether your child possesses the maturity necessary to handle the potential stress caused by such a situation.

You should also consider whether you and your new significant other are ready to introduce children into your relationship. Your child will become attached to your new boyfriend or girlfriend, only to suffer devastation when your relationship unexpectedly ends. For a child who is already dealing with the stress of divorce, this can be especially damaging. Many experts recommend that divorced parents only introduce their children to a partner when they have begun a long-term, committed relationship.

Furthermore, you should ensure that enough time has passed since your divorce before you let your child meet your partner. Failing to do so can cause your child to feel that your partner is replacing his mother or father and lash out in fear or resentment.

Source: Huffington Post, “Dating After Divorce: When To Introduce The Children,” Kimberly Seltzer, Oct. 31, 2012