What are the qualities that a single parent should look for in someone they
are deciding to date?
Playful, light and fun with kids. (Kids have an innate instinct about
people. Watch how your child interacts with him/her.)
Doesn't try to make the kids like activities they "should" like. Will accept
a child's declining to participate in an activity that he/she likes. Open to
learning about your child's activities and interests.
Doesn't try to discipline kids. Setting rules, boundaries and giving
consequences needs to be done by the biological parent.
Not jealous if you need to put the children first or when they need your
attention. Childhood goes by very quickly. Give you children the attention
they need. Help with homework, the chance to talk about their day, etc.
Willing to be introduced into the lives of the kids slowly.
Will accept your boundaries about how much affection you are comfortable
with expressing in front of your kids, and at what pace. Progress slowly in
the relationship, at least in front of your children.
Speaks to children respectfully but not patronizingly. Speaks to them in
age-appropriate ways about topics of interest to kids not just to him/her.
Never uses degrading or belittling language. Never calls anyone derogatory
Doesn't want to exclusively do activities with children or only activities
in which kids are excluded. A healthy relationship has a mix of adult-only and
Doesn't scold, lecture or "should" you about how you interact with the
children's other parent.
Is patient when children express jealous and interfering behaviors.
Sees you as a competent adult and a devoted parent.
Understands all kids are different. Doesn't compare your kids with his/her
kids (or kids seen on TV!).
Able to be flexible with the unexpected and roll with the unplanned events
that always seem to arise in a household with children.
Is there to hold you when you are missing your kids. Doesn't try to talk you
out of how you feel or rationalize away your sadness.
Understands that kids do grow up and that life-partners are together long
after the kids have left home.
Willing to model respect and adoration for you in front of your children. It
is good for kids to see their parent treated well by another adult.
Able to have open and non-defensive conversations about how you feel and
what you want about your relationship and your children.
Willing to participate in family established rituals such as birthdays,
Does not use alcohol to excess or drugs.
Able to apologize and model asking for forgiveness when he/she makes a
mistake. Able to easily and quickly forgive when asked for forgiveness.
Joint or sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and other factors that include 1) the preference of the child, 2) the desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving relationship between the child and the other parent, 3) the child's health, safety and welfare, the nature and contact with both parents and 4) the history of alcohol and drug use. Marital misconduct may be considered.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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