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tips for bringing man with no kids into family?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi there...

I am not in a blended family at the moment but could sure use some tips/ advice from those who are. I am planning on introducing my boyfriend to my kids some time this summer. We've been serious for about a year but I felt that my kids needed more time between their dad and meeting a new man.

However, although he is a wonderful man, he doesn't have kids of his own, and doesn't have the same perspective about kids. He understands their priority in my life, and knows that I co-sleep with my son still, and have no plans to stop until ds is ready, and that he only stopped nursing at about 3 1/2, recently. But I can't help think that the whole thing would be easier had I hooked up with a single dad who already *gets* the whole thing. But, I didn't! soo...

Is there any particular advice about introducing a man into the family who doesn't have really any previous experience with children, but who *really* wants to be eventually part of it?

I am slowly getting over the fact that he will not be the father (the dream of the unit, you know) but that he can be a wonderful influence, role model and addition. He is patient, kind, and very smart. I love him and know he's "the one", but I'm scared! Any tips?

Thanks! Nicole.
post #2 of 16
are the three of you planning on coslseeping? Is bio dad involved in the ds's life?

I have a lot of ideas...mostly they are run...OK Kidding!

My first suggestion is that he be required to read some child development books that simply tell the age and stage for what age your kids are (and keep reading them as your kids age) I like "your ___year old" by bates ames...I dont' agree with her parenting advice but thankfully the books are mostly just telling you what a three is doing not telling you how to parent a three, there is just moments of that

Then I would have him attend a parenting class for the parenting method you use or read a book and discuss it(like a book group)....

I suggest that becuase I think that those without kids need to get this kind of foundational info in order to know what is normal- if you have no kids it can feel like, as my dh's childless co worker said "a three year old knows right from wrong" when those of us with threes know that they do sometimes and sometimes they dont' remember what the word Chair means! And other times they can't help it!

do you plan on having kids with him?

Also for you I suggest you read some books on step families...there are tons of good ones. Read several...read them all. Read until you can't stand it. Step familes are nothing like nuclear families and it really helps to understand the issues your partner will be going through.

best of luck! I have some more advice based on your answers
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for your reply... I don't know anyone irl in this situation,and you all are the wisest mamas I know. sooo...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
are the three of you planning on coslseeping?

Well, I guess I didn't envision him spending the night for awhile, but, then, probalby, yes.

Is bio dad involved in the ds's life?

He sees the kids every other weekend and one evening a week, pretty typical. He is overall a good dad, but overemotional, and I think he tends to use my 10 yr old dd as a pillow to cry on, rather than be the parent.


I have a lot of ideas...mostly they are run...OK Kidding!

oh yikes... really?!?

My first suggestion is that he be required to read some child development books that simply tell the age and stage for what age your kids are (and keep reading them as your kids age) I like "your ___year old" by bates ames...I dont' agree with her parenting advice but thankfully the books are mostly just telling you what a three is doing not telling you how to parent a three, there is just moments of that

I *really* like this idea. yes, yes yes!

Then I would have him attend a parenting class for the parenting method you use or read a book and discuss it(like a book group)....

I dont' think there are any attachment parenting classes out there; but I did mention to him reading a Dr. Sears book.

I suggest that becuase I think that those without kids need to get this kind of foundational info in order to know what is normal- if you have no kids it can feel like, as my dh's childless co worker said "a three year old knows right from wrong" when those of us with threes know that they do sometimes and sometimes they dont' remember what the word Chair means! And other times they can't help it!

That's exactly what I mean when I say that those w/ kids just *get it* in a way that those without dont (won't ever?)

do you plan on having kids with him?

I have my three: dd 10, dd 6, ds 3 1/2. so , no probably not. I absolutely have baby lust and would *love* to have another if finances and time were free-er. Also, I'm a student right now, trying to get into nursing school, and so I want to get through school first. I keep thinking I should go into pediatric nursing to satisfy my baby lust though.

Also for you I suggest you read some books on step families...there are tons of good ones. Read several...read them all. Read until you can't stand it. Step familes are nothing like nuclear families and it really helps to understand the issues your partner will be going through.

good advice. Thank YOU so much!

best of luck! I have some more advice based on your answers
post #4 of 16
why I ask about co sleeping....

Now others will disagree I am sure but here goes:

I think that bio dad may have a real issue with a strange man sleeping with his child and not without reason. Courts are also unlikely to look kindly. It won't be seen the same as in intact home.

That aside, I would doubt that very many non related men will put up with sleeping with children ongoingly. In every situation like this I know of the step eventually calls for the ousting of the kid and then the kid has a legitimate gripe with the step- having litterally been kicked out of mom's bed for him. It creates a huge symbolic crisis that is very hard to get over.

My strong, rather strident suggestion is to end co sleeping before you bring another person into your bedroom. The emotional damage to their potential relationship if they are fighting for a place in your bed is devistating.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
yes, now that you put it that way... that does sound reasonable. I would have to think of how I would feel if another woman was cosleeping with my son; however, I think that I would want any gf of my ex to be loving towards my children... but that's not an issue yet. Like I said, I hadnt imagined B. sleeping over for quite a while, but, I guess it is inevitable. I think, rationally, the solution needs to be, just to wait until my son is a little older to even introduce him into our lives. It's so hard, because I feel kind of "parted out" when I have to have separate roles: either a girlfriend, a mom, a student, and I think that bringing him into our lives will help with that, make me feel more at ease going between these roles. But, as a mommy, it's not just about me! So... maybe ds and I will find a way to not cosleep in the next year and then B can be introduced into our lives. The last thing I want is there to be an issue of somebody taking mommy away. Do you think it might be harder because he is the "baby" and also a boy?

oh, one more question? I worry the most about my 10 yr old having a hard time. She is really daddy's girl, and he uses that to his advantage, kind of relying on her emotionally : . Is there anything special that I can do to facilitate this relationship? My 6 yo dd is just as easygoing as could be and I think she'll be happy to have someone else to play with and put on shows for!

thanks again for all your advice,

Nicole.
post #6 of 16
TBM - Welcome to MDC! Stick around and feel free to bounce between the blended families and the singles boards - there are a few of us who are sort of in between right now and we've been covering a lot of the transition issues & "when/how to introduce the kids" questions lately.

we had a thread over in the Singles forum a week ago about co-sleeping:
http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...d.php?t=462341

there was a lot of good advice and experiences about co-sleeping transitions that may be helpful. I totally understand what you mean about feeling "parted out" & it's tough to know the best way to bring a new person into your inner circle. I do think that balancing the mom-student-work-gf roles gets easier when everyone is out in the open. I just started school again this summer and it would be way tougher if I was trying to keep up with that and having seperate mom and romatic partner roles :

As for your guy - how does he feel about meeting the kids? I think that's a huge indicator of how you should procede. I'm sure you guys have talked about it... how does he seam to feel? Scared? Excited? Honored to be considered?
post #7 of 16
Niclole, I think you should be prepared for both your older and younger children to reject your partner as soon as they see him as a serious member of the family-despite how they treat him while dating.

I think you should also be prepared for them not to.

I think dad's emotional enmeshment is something your daghter will have to manage on her own...you can help her by talking about the issue (not ever about dad and the issue) but the issue alone when watching movies and such that show scenes of this kind of thing. Talk about ways to deal with it and so forth. Therapy may help her too. I grew up enmeshed with a parent and it continues to be a struggle for me but as a child I loved it, I felt powerful and able to help my parent and that is what all kids want to be able to do right? I would have resented someone telling me not to do it- I was asking my parent to rely on me because I wanted to help them! It actually on the plus side gave me a lot of confidance- the down side was that I grew up too soon. The good news here is that a girl who feels she lost her dad or was rejected by dad often has some real issues with sexuality (as in trying to find love by having sex early) that hopefully your daugher can avoid.
post #8 of 16
I don't have any advice for you, as the only time a relationship worked for me was when it was with a full time single father, who I'm now married to. I've found that men without children have a hard time adjusting, but that could have just been my experiences. Keep in mind that your children aren't his, and he's not likely to react like you'd want him to (love them, think they're cute, be as patient as you would be with typical kid things, etc)
post #9 of 16
im not so sure it woudl be easier to hook up with someone with no kids. dont get me wrong...its nice if you can relate to men with kids and can blend your families easily, but thats not my case. i have dated men without any children for long periods of time and it was much easier than it is with my dh having a dd who is basically in competition with my kids all the time (not b/c of her but b/c of dh's attitude).
i dont have any advice, other than to take it slowly, depending on your kid's attitudes, how they react, etc. but i would just like to offer the suggestion that it may actually be easier for you in the long run.
good luck
rach
post #10 of 16
also just wanted to comment on the step parent front re: cosleeping. my dh wants to kick out 5 month out of the bed, so its not just step dads..
but i can see how a sd doing it to an older child would give the child problems. i would strongly recommend no sleepovers unless the kids are with dad until the 2 of you are committed (as in living together or married). i know that sounds prudish of me (im not really a prude) but it can cause problems in the future if you guys break up (so does divorce, i know..but they've already been through that recently, right).

i think dads without kids get a bad rap sometimes. i often dont feel like my dh understands the level of maturity and age appropriateness behavior of my 8 year old or my 5 month old but he is a father to a 14 yo. just b/c he had one kid doesnt make him an expert on my kids, kwim?
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
My first suggestion is that he be required to read some child development books that simply tell the age and stage for what age your kids are (and keep reading them as your kids age)

Then I would have him attend a parenting class for the parenting method you use or read a book and discuss it(like a book group)....



Ummmm is it just me or does this sound alot like school? Require him to take a class and read some books? You are not his teacher!

although i agree that it is important for him to know the foundation of your mothering, I would do that through casual discussions between the two of you. Just make sure he knows where you are comming from and is on the same page. You will learn very quickly if you think he will be good with your kids. hth.

kristen
post #12 of 16
My advice is that your partner does not discipline the children. That will cut off alot of contention.
post #13 of 16
oh momma.. i had four kids when i left my husband. FOUR!.. i figured leaving was a sure fire given i would be alone till death.
happily I met a partner -after dating a few losers- who was a miracle.

He had never wanted kids what can i say?..

but what I can tell you that he shared with me.. was that he took the time to get to know each of us seperate..
he never wanted it to be that he was 'with me' and the kids came along for the ride.. he wanted to decide with each of us that he would spend the rest of his life with us as individuals..and make a comitment to us all.. not as a group but each of us individually.

we have a baby now.. so in a very short period of time.. he got five babies.. and is a wonderful wonderful poppa!
post #14 of 16
You have gotten some good advice here. All I can add is: introduce him with some fun stuff too. We (my 2 dds and I) all went out on playdates with dh, he learned about the girls and they learned about him in a non-stress environment. We went to places like the kids museum (and regular museums), the library, the aquarium, playgrounds, birthday parties, family parties, out to eat, etc - all before he became a daily fixture in our lives. By observing the kids in many situations dh got a good idea on what behavior to reasonably expect from them in lots of situations and avoided many potential conflicts.

We have now been together for almost 4 years and have a 9 mo old, dh has only recently started to discipline in earnest. He worked up to it and usually he asks for input if he finds himself in a "gray area"

Bio dad is only an intermitten presence in the girls' lives. He has a strong connection and resemblace to dd2, she misses him. I, and now we, have been very careful to not rag on their dad in front of them ever. I find myself sounding strangely optimistic when they ask about him and why he isn't around, though I know that isn't the case the girls need to figure out who he is - I can't do that nor would I want to form their opinion of their bio-dad for them.

Good luck and have fun, it's a tricky balance but well worth it!
post #15 of 16
I have two sons that I had from a previous marriage. When Bryan and I got engaged my boys were 11 months and just a little over 3yrs old. He didn't have kids of his own either but I was very open about how I parented my children and that it was something I chose and was firm about and that if it wasn't accepted that he was not the right guy for our family. That who ever I was going to remarry would support it and nothing would change. He was very interested in learning about it and I shared links, websites, articles, what ever I could find with him as well as including him in daily things that I did with the kids to teach him. We are married now and expecting our first together and nothing has been a problem. He's very into AP and goes aroudn telling everyone about it. He was never bothered by the co sleeping or anything. He's in AIT right now and says that he misses the kids kicking him lmao

Their dad left when I was pregnant with our 2nd son. He didn't start doing visitations with them till about a month before I got engaged. They know who their dad is, very close with him but they are very close with their step dad as well and love them both so much but know their place. My new husband treats the boys as if they were his own. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference!
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~AttachedAtTheHip~
I was very open about how I parented my children and that it was something I chose and was firm about and that if it wasn't accepted that he was not the right guy for our family. That who ever I was going to remarry would support it and nothing would change. He was very interested in learning about it
I think this : is HUGE - whether your guy has kids or not, if he's not accepting of the way you parent your kids, then move on. No one is born being a parent, everyone has to learn as they go, so I don't think it matters too much if he has prior experience being a parent, but he's got to be willing to blend into your family.
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