Co-Parenting and Dating: Boyfriends and “BabyMamas”

written by Anti-Racist Parenting columnist Deesha Philyaw; crossposted from Co-Parenting 101

Earlier this year, we posted an article that has generated a response far and above any other on this site.  “My Boyfriend, His Kids, and His Ex” clearly struck a chord with those who are trying to navigate relationships with co-parents.  While that article touches on some basics about co-parents and dating, there’s much more to be said about the topic.  So, we will be presenting a series of articles, “Co-Parenting and Dating: Boyfriends and ‘BabyMamas’”, and we’d like your input!

Below are some of the topics we intend to cover in this series based on queries we’ve received from readers:

“Why He Won’t Introduce You to His Kids”: Timing is everything when it comes to introducing the kids to Someone New.  What are some of the considerations a parent must make?  How do you know when the time is right?  What’s the difference between dating and step-dating?

“Balancing Act”: As a new significant other, what expectations do you have of your partner who is also a parent?  Are your expectations reasonable?  Conversely, as a parent, how do you balance your kids’s needs and wants with your partner’s?

“Why You Should Meet the Ex…Before You Meet the Kids”

“You May Not Want to Meet the New Boy/Girlfriend…But Do It Anyway”

“The First Meeting”: How, where, and when you introduce your children to Someone New can make all the difference.

“Rules and Roles”: Once a new partner has met the kids, what are the “rules of engagement”?  What role will s/he play in the children’s lives?  What boundaries need to be set and respected?  Is the new couple prepared to consider the other parent in setting these boundaries?  If you are the “other parent”, are you prepared to be reasonable and mature in your expectations?

“BabyMama Drama”: Fantasia’s anthem for single moms notwithstanding, the term “BabyMama” has a negative connotation to it in most circles.  Does it matter how we refer to our children’s mothers?  Or fathers (”BabyDaddy”)?  Are new significant others inclined to show their partner’s ex less respect if the couple never married?  How can you break the cycle of “drama” in your relationships?  How does this negativity impact your kids?   How do kids benefit when all the adults involved play nice?

“Daddy Dilemma”:  If you are a dad, how did you feel the first time you saw your kids interacting with their mother’s new partner?  If you are a guy dating someone with kids, what are your thoughts on your partner’s co-parenting relationship?  (While the new significant others who have contacted us via this site are women dating men with children from a previous relationship (hence the title of this series), we know that new boyfriends have questions and concerns related to co-parenting as well.   Send them in!)

Break Ups…How to Help the Kids Cope”

Again, these topics are based on reader input thus far, but we’d like to hear your dating stories and questions as well.  Simply leave a comment or email us at info@coparenting101.orgWe will not share any real names or other identifying details.

If you would like to be considered as a guest-blogger for this series, let us know!

Also in the works is a Co-Parenting 101 podcast on dating and other co-parenting topics.  Let us know if you would like to be considered as a featured guest!

We hope this series will be helpful to co-parents, to their new partners and ultimately, to the children!  Stay tuned…

Related articles:

“My Boyfriend, His Kids, and His Ex”

What is Step-Dating?

“Congrats on Your Engagement…What Did Your Ex Say???”

“It’s All About the Kids”

“I’m Just the Sideline Girlfriend”

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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