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With the US divorce rate still lingering around 50% for first marriages, many children have experienced their parents’ divorce by the time they are eighteen.

Don’t assume that kids will understand the need for a “crazy phase” of dating.

They are dealing with their own issues of loss, betrayal, adjustment, trust- just to name a few.

Balancing the emotions of your children with the excitement of a new, positive, relationship will help smooth the transition into single-parent dating.

More Online Resources: Click here to read a great article from the Boston Globe that includes a list of guidelines surrounding dating after divorce Tips, Resources, and Warning Signs for Divorced Parents: The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) presents a great article on divorce and your children A Family Education article featuring individuals experiences with post-divorce dating and their children A great review of dating, remarriage and children based Constance Ahron’s longitudinal study from Missouri Research: Anderson, E, et al (2004).

Klungness recommends that any new relationship should be exclusive for several months (that is, a serious relationship and not a casual affair) before they are introduced to the children.

Similar research also supports this idea: a gradual approach allows children time to adjust to their parents’ dating (and the new dating partner) at a pace that allows for successful parenting.

Parents need to make sure before things get tricky that children understand their continued importance to them, the freedom for the child(ren) to continue a close loving relationship with the ex-spouse (despite any personal misgivings) and the possibility of new people in the parent’s life.

Your attitudes and behaviors on dating will be a model for your children.

My previous blog ("Should You Date Your Ex-Spouse," dated 1/17/11) made the audacious proposal for considering dating an ex-spouse, since the likelihood of strong positive feelings when getting married could create a positive basis for a renewed relationship, if both parties have matured and stopped blaming each other.