Uncomfortable situations: How to tell your kids you've got a hot date

Mar 12, 2012, 6 a.m.

When you find yourself on your own after divorce or the death of a spouse, every aspect of the dating scene can seem intimidating. However, there is one area that many parents especially dread: explaining to their kids that they are dating again. You can balance family and relationships with a bit of strategy and tact, however. Follow our dating advice below to help make your kids more comfortable with the prospect of you seeing someone who is not their mom or dad.

First off, be honest about the fact that you are going on a date. If you lie to your son or daughter through either words or omission, any negative reaction he or she might have had is going to be increased. Being truthful helps build trust.

By the same token, do not make too big a deal of the news about your date. For one thing, if it's just a first date, there is no way to know for sure if you and your date will click. The relationship may not go anywhere. Additionally, making a big deal of the date might make your kid feel uncomfortable. Just be very matter of fact. Tell your child a bit about the person you are going to see.

Make sure that your son or daughter knows that your prospective beau is not a replacement for your former spouse. The person you want to date is an individual with their own merits, and someone who you would like to spend some time with. If your child is unhappy that you are going on a date, be patient and understanding. Seeing a parent move on and begin dating again can sometimes be hard even for adult children. It will take some time to adjust.

If necessary, remind your child that you are an adult who has a right to adult relationships and the chance to be happy. By being matter of fact and not trying to force the reaction you want, you can help your child become comfortable with the prospect of you rejoining the dating scene and meeting someone new.

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