Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Mom's Life > Marriage and Divorce > Dealing With Divorce > Mother Wants to Show Affection for New Beau
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Mother Wants to Show Affection for New Beau

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: At what point is it appropriate to be affectionate with my boyfriend in front of my children? I have been separated for over a year (there is a one-year separation requirement before divorcing in this state), and I've met someone I am serious about. My children, ages three and five-and-a-half, know about him and have met him once. He is reluctant to hold hands or kiss in front of them. Although I share his concern, I find it difficult to restrain my touchy-feely nature.

A: I think that your boyfriend is showing admirable and sensitive restraint by his reluctance to kiss you or hold hands with you in front of your children. You mention that they know about him, yet have only met him once. He has not become a visible, real factor in their lives.

At five and three, your kids have no doubt had difficulty understanding why you and their daddy have separated and will be divorced. They do not need to be further confused or frightened by your acting "touchy-feely" with another man in their presence.

I would introduce your boyfriend into their lives gradually, preferably while doing things with them outside your home. If they know you to be a physically affectionate person with the men and women in your life, then some level of physical affection between you and your boyfriend would not be inappropriate in their presence. However, at this point, that affection should be like the affection you show others whom they know.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Handwriting Headquarters
We've got handwriting practice worksheets, handwriting tips, and answers to your child's writing struggles, just in time for back to school. Brought to you by BIC.

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!