Dating and the Single Parent by Ron L. Deal

Dating and the Single Parent by Ron L. Deal

Author:Ron L. Deal
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: REL012030, FAM034010, Single parents—Social life and customs, Dating (Social customs)—Religious aspects—Christianity, Children of single parents—Psychology, Parent and child—Religious aspects—Christianity, Remarriage—Religious aspects—Christianity
ISBN: 9781441271013
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group


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Meaghan tried to communicate her nonnegotiables and expectations to her boyfriend, but every time she asked a “What if?” question regarding the children, he shut her down and said, “Let’s not talk about the ‘What ifs’ until they become a reality.” Less than a year into the marriage, the couple was in crisis and had filed for divorce. Don’t ignore the “What if?” conversations.

* * *

If you are dating a parent, take note of their parenting as well as their children’s behavior and attitudes. I’ve often said that an oppositional child is a yellow caution light (sometimes a red stoplight) to dating the parent. I’m not blaming the parent for everything the child does, but it is an indicator that you should pay attention to. If nothing else, know that merging your life and kids with a conflictual or chaotic family situation over which you will have very little influence or control will bring anger and stress to your family life.

In addition, our daily lifestyle and how we go about living together under the same roof are primarily determined by parenting expectations. If your children are expected to clean up after themselves and contribute to household chores, but your dating partner’s kids don’t feel comfortable at home unless there are piles of clothes on the floor, you should take note of it. Don’t minimize this dynamic. I know clothes on the floor are not a big deal, but multiply this dynamic by a hundred similar scenarios, and it will be—fast! Your kids will scream “not fair” and the stepkids will holler “foul” and you and your new spouse will find yourselves defending your kids and your preferences, only to end up on opposites sides of the issue—and your marriage. You have to consider the entire package when dating, not just the couple dynamic.

In my experience, people without children who are dating single parents are tempted to repeatedly minimize the parenting deficits of their dating partner. It’s just too easy to think it’s not significant. Please don’t fall into this trap. Once married, you’re going to be powerless to change what the kids’ parent is unwilling to change, and you’ll get tired of having to accommodate their irresponsibility really fast. I’ll talk more about this caution light in chapter 7, but for now, make sure your silhouette includes dating a competent, healthy parent.



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