Seriously, though, when is your child ready to date? "At this age, kids use dating labels but aren’t ready to have much direct one-on-one interaction beyond maybe sitting together at lunch or recess," says Dale Atkins, Ph D, a family therapist in New York."Most of the activity happens in a pack, and communication takes place between friend groups." By 8th grade, dating probably means talking on the phone and hanging out, usually in groups.Source: Shutterstock After sharing a guest-post on step-parenting from the step-child’s point of view, one commenter asked an interesting question: “Should a man with no kids be hesitant to date a woman with kids?” First, whether a man has children of his own or not, there is nothing wrong with preferring to date women without children.By high school, kids are more likely to develop serious romantic attachments.Notice what "dating" seems to mean to your child and then talk about it.
Contrary to popular belief — and Lifetime movies — not every woman with a child is looking for a second parent if the biological parent is actively involved in the child’s life and doing a good, low-drama job of co-parenting.While the age of the child plays a factor, if you’re not looking for anything serious, you shouldn’t play the “I’ll figure it out” game with a ready-made family.Further, if you’re not a kid person or don’t want kids, you should not date a woman with kids to see if you’ll change your mind.“But if he’s so uncomfortable that he gets angry or shuts down or otherwise just can’t continue the conversation, that’s a big sign that he’s not ready for this.” If so, assure your child that there’s no hurry to start dating.Instead, if they answer your questions or seem eager to date, you can steer the conversation toward reassuring them that these feelings are normal. Are they just trying to keep up with their friends?Pay attention to how they respond when you start a conversation about dating.“Of course it will probably be uncomfortable for both of you,” Anthony says.But when deciding to date a woman with a child, you should be clear about your expectations for the relationship upfront with yourself and her.In other words, if you’re still in the “dating just to date” phase of your life, involving a woman with a child is probably not the type of relationship you should engage in because your actions will more than likely impact the lives of two people — the woman and the child.Michelle Anthony, Ph D, a developmental psychologist and learning therapist in Denver, suggests an opening line like: “It sounds like a lot of kids are talking about dating now. ” If you can't tell what dating means to your kid, try discussing dating as shown on TV shows or in movies that are age-appropriate.For instance, Atkins suggests asking your child why they think someone acted the way they did, and whether they made a good or healthy choice. It's your job, as their parent, to figure out if your child is ready to handle the level of dating they have in mind.