These days, with the divorce rate hovering close to 50%, the likelihood of dating a man with children is pretty high. As I discuss in Dating the Divorced Man, dating a divorced dad has many unique challenges that you won’t face with childless men. However, don’t be too quick to toss out that cute dad’s phone number, as each divorced dad is different and you may find one you really connect with. If you meet a guy you like and he has kids, here are some things to consider:
Number and age of kids. If you’ve ever babysat, you know one kid is easier than three or four. More kids = more to keep track of. Also, older kids are easier than younger ones. They’re more independent, which means Dad has more time to spend with you. A divorced dad with 2-year old twins has a lot more on his plate than one with a kid in college. On the other hand, there are some benefits to younger kids: if your relationship turns into marriage, you can bond more with younger children and play a stronger parental role in their lives. And, if Dad is wealthy, young children are less likely to worry that a new woman will threaten their inheritance.
The kids’ behavior. Once you meet a divorced dad’s kids, pay attention to their behavior. Poorly behaved kids are a sign of trouble. Some kids will be slow to warm up to you, and even the sweetest kids have bad days and can be bratty or cranky at times, but beware of children who disrespect you or their father, or who show consistent behavioral problems. Bad behavior often reflects ineffective parenting and other problems, and these problems will have a destructive effect on your relationship.
Parenting style. Every parent has a different parenting style. Some are strict, others more permissive. Ideally, his parenting style will mesh with your beliefs about how children should be raised. Otherwise, expect conflicts in the future.
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