Children can react in many ways when a parent gets a new partner. They may find it difficult to adjust, even if you’ve been separated for some time. You need to be prepared for many possible reactions.

Introducing a new partner

You can help support your children by thinking carefully about how you introduce your new partner to them. You may find the following tips useful:

Planning the first meeting with your new partner

Plan how a meeting between your new partner and children may happen. Make choices on the following;

Once you’ve got some ideas on the points above you may wish to share these with your new partner and older children to help everyone involved to know what to expect.

My children met my ex's new partner

You may find it hard to think kindly towards your ex’s new partner. It’s very common for their new relationship to spark in you old feelings of past hurt.

Nevertheless, when your ex introduces their new partner to your children, it’s important to try and approach things in as positive a light as you can. At the very least, you need to be neutral. Your children need to make up their own minds.

Coping tips

You may find the following tips helpful:

Practice being neutral

This is not an easy skill, especially if past hurts from your separation still feel very real. Write a few sentences about the following topics:

  • How you feel about your ex’s relationship with his new partner
  • How you feel specifically about your ex’s new partner

Look at your words in terms of what you’ve written. Could you change the words into something neutral that your children could hear? For example,

‘I hate how much money they throw about’ could be turned into ‘I’m glad my children benefit from the money they spend.

If responding neutrally when your children speak about your ex and their new partner feels too difficult it may be about practicing not commenting at all. Write down three statements that you could say at times like these. For example, ‘Sounds like you all had a great time’ or I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.

Content originally produced for What Next? The Parent’s Guide to Separation © Copyright DWP 2015