- Dating as a Single Parent
by Lois V. Nightingale, Ph.D.
What are the qualities that a
single parent should look for in someone they are deciding to
1. Playful, light and fun with kids. (Kids have
an innate instinct about people. Watch
2. 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.
3. Doesn't try to discipline kids. Setting rules,
boundaries and giving consequences needs to be done by the biological
4. 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.
5. Willing to be introduced into the lives of the
6. 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.
7. 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 names.
8. 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
9. Doesn't scold, lecture or
"should" you about how you interact with the children's
10. Is patient when children
express jealous and interfering behaviors.
11. Sees you as a competent adult
and a devoted parent.
12. Understands all kids are
different. Doesn't compare your kids with his/her kids (or kids
seen on TV!).
13. Able to be flexible with
the unexpected and roll with the unplanned events that always
seem to arise in a household with children.
14. 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.
15. Understands that kids do
grow up and that life-partners are together long after the kids
have left home.
16. 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.
17. Able to have open and non-defensive
conversations about how you feel and what you want about your
relationship and your children.
18. Willing to participate in
family established rituals such as birthdays, holidays, etc.
19. Does not use alcohol to excess
20. Able to apologize and model
asking for forgiveness when he/she makes a mistake. Able to easily
and quickly forgive when asked for forgiveness.