Given the power to vote on the relationship, the children cast "no" ballots and told their dad that, per his earlier declaration, Joanne couldn't move in until after they went away to school. Neuman is creator of a divorce therapy program for children mandated for use in family courts by many states.The story illustrates the confusion and anxiety children often feel when parents, eager for some measure of happiness and success in a new relationship, struggle over how much distance to place between their children and a newly developing romance."Seeing a parent date is an odd scenario for kids," says M. "It sometimes hammers home the message that our parents are never going to get back together."The power of the reunion fantasy is not to be underestimated, says Neuman, observing that some childrencling to the belief that their parents will get back together even after one parent has remarried. When asked what she wishes her mom would do differently while dating, Rachel, a smart young graduate student, replied, “I wish she would recognize her own impulsivity and emotional rollercoaster.She does and says things without recognizing that to some extent our whole family is dating this guy.It is rarely easy for children to witness their parents dating.
That's not an argument for or against divorce, for or against dating.
It's a process we go through to get to know a new partner in the hopes that over time, a long term, sustainable relationship will develop that rounds us out as a person and enhances our family life.
For single parents raising kids, it's all that plus integrating and balancing the responsibilities of parenthood and taking into consideration the attitudes and perceptions of the kids themselves.
The reasonis simple: A child's own identity is very much tied to that of his family.
When the family disintegrates, achild's sense of self is threatened, even if he maintains strong ties to both parents.