“I’m really starting to fall for you, but I still don’t know an entire side of you – you as a dad. Your daughter is such a huge part of who you are, and I can’t truly know you until I know you as a father.”
A couple of months into our relationship, I got my wish. I met my then-boyfriend’s daughter. I was a ball of nerves, I wondered if I had made a mistake and rushed into this decision.
What if she didn’t like me? Would that mean the end of my relationship with this incredible guy? What if he didn’t parent in a way I agreed with (or chose not to parent, even worse!)? Would I change my mind about this whole thing if she was bratty? What if her mom didn’t like me or if she caused a lot of drama? What if she thought the activity I had planned was dumb (Am I out of touch with what’s cool?!)?
I proceeded to give myself a pep talk… and to call my mom. My stomach was in knots and I was a nervous wreck, but I put my brave face on and ended up thoroughly enjoying my first meeting with my now-stepdaughter. But that didn’t happen by chance. My boyfriend and I were very intentional about every part of our plan for that night.
Tips for Meeting Your Boyfriend’s Children for the First Time
Get the timing right.
Do not meet his children if you’ve only dated for a couple of weeks – that’s not appropriate. He can’t just introduce his children to someone he doesn’t know is in it for the long haul. Your relationship hasn’t been tested in the first month; you don’t truly know each other.
When dating a single father, you must think about his children first; meeting many women is not an option. Give it time, and then when you know it’s a relationship that has been tested and you’ve built trust, developed a strong foundation, and have gotten that first inkling of love, start planning.
General rule – give it at least 2 months of steady dating before you meet his children.
Make introductions as Daddy’s friend.
Heaven-forbid something happens and your relationship doesn’t last – don’t put that on the child. Friendships fade all of the time (unfortunately) so it wouldn’t be alarming to his child if Daddy’s friend stopped coming around as often. However, if Daddy has a girlfriend, there’s a lot more pressure for a relationship to form. It’s not as natural, and it is much higher on his child’s radar than a simple friendship.
An added bonus for the child and for Dad is that the child will be more willing to provide honest feedback on a friend than a girlfriend. When it’s something or someone we really care about, our kids are in tune with that and will tell us what we want to hear. If his child really doesn’t like you or feels uncomfortable, she should be empowered to say as much. It’s only fair to her.
Meet in a neutral environment.
Don’t meet at his home or yours. Meeting at his home he shares with his children can send a message of intimacy that is directly contradictory to the “friend” designation. While you want the child to feel at ease, she may feel protective of her home or hide behind the comfortable to avoid the unknown (you!).
You also don’t want to invite the child into your home – that can be really scary for children! If the place is completely foreign to the child but super familiar to you, then that puts the child in a power imposition. I realize that sounds a little silly when I’m talking about a child, but even if the child can’t put it in those words, she can feel the shift and can get really uncomfortable.
Choose to meet somewhere neutral instead and put everyone on an even playing field.
Try something fun or relaxing.
My boyfriend and I opted for a trampoline park for our first play date with his daughter. We were able to spend time getting to know each other’s personalities without the added pressure of keeping a conversation going.
While we were there, we ended up playing school, and she of course wanted to be the teacher. We had a great time just playing. I was able to ask her questions casually and get to know her better, but it enabled us to bond in a much more relaxed environment.
Keep it short and sweet.
It’s been said there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, but trust me, you’ll want to start out with short meetings and ultimately progress to spending more time with each other. It’s better for both you and his child.
There are a couple of different factors for this suggestion.
First, younger children can get a little too comfortable. Case in point, on our first play date, my boyfriend’s daughter requested my assistance wiping her bottom after using the restroom. That alone could be enough to send some women who aren’t actually ready for motherhood running for the hills.
Second, younger children may require naps, and you definitely don’t want to get between a child and her nap. Finally, it could be overwhelming to the child to hang out with someone new; limiting the experience to a couple of hours will help her digest the meeting better.
Save the handholding and pet names for later.
Remember, you and your significant other are “just friends”. No holding hands or calling each other “Babe,” “Baby,” or “Lovebug.” Don’t do anything on the play date that could cause his child to feel uncomfortable!
This part was really hard for me. My boyfriend and I held hands all the time, had our arms around each other when we stood, and kissed… a lot. But none of that could happen when we were around his daughter!
At least not until she and I had built a really strong relationship (and his brother accidentally called me his girlfriend and spilled the beans… but that’s a story for another day!).
Why I Care So Much About the First Meeting: Horror Stories
I care so much about making the first meeting perfect because it matters. I’ve heard countless stories of women dating a man with kids and referring to feelings of love, futures that will last forever, and intense butterflies… that ended after the first meeting with his children.
It’s certainly true that some women just aren’t ready for stepmotherhood. It’s difficult, I get it. But I have noticed that many of the stories of these first meetings made many of the mistakes I warned against in this list. They lasted too long, and the child got fussy – something a single woman that hasn’t been around children isn’t prepared for! Or there was the play date the family tried to host at Dad’s house, and his daughter hid in her room the entire time.
But I want you to know, there’s no need to stress yourself out. Plan the first meeting as a relaxing, fun play date, and enjoy yourself! Get excited that you’re meeting your boyfriend’s children for the first time – don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s going to be okay!
The fairy tale stories where you have a great first play date and then subsequently better dates each time after do exist – I’m living proof!
I believe in you,
P.S. Are you ready to meet the ex-wife for the first time?
27 thoughts on “Meeting Your Boyfriend’s Children for the First Time”
Thank you so much for this article! I will be meeting my boyfriends daughter this coming weekend and this is uncharted territory for both of us! We have no idea what to expect. It is definitely hard not to over think the meeting but your article has given me great pointers and a bit more of a realization of what to expect and do. Thank you again!
But how’d it Go!!!!!!!!!!!???? Inquiring minds must know!
Thank you so much. I needed this. My boyfriend has met my girls and he was super nervous. I told him no worries. It went very well. Now that it is my turn, I am going crazy and know exactly how it felt. He gives me this ‘I told you so’ look. Only 6 days to go. I’m excited and tossing and turning in my sleep at the same time. I believe in myself that I could love them as much as I love him. I just hope it goes the other way around also.
Thank you for your article and I am looking forward to read more!
My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little under 3 months, and has 3 kids of his own and 2 steps kids, I have no kids but have 9 nephews and nieces. I have met 3 of his kids and was introduced as a friend. I am really looking forward to what’s next, meeting the youngest and oldest and later being introduced as his girlfriend but I am terrified at the same time. So reading this has helped me put things into perspective and get away from being lost in emotions. Also taking things slow for the kids is a good idea.
Yes, exactly! So happy it has gone well thus far, and I know it will continue to!
hey how are u? I been dating this guy for 7 months and he met my kids but for his kids I haven’t met them then to find out he was still trying to work things out with his daughter mom that was crazy but me and him haven’t spoke for 3months in then we got a phone call after that he want have a serious relationship with me so what I do on meeting the his kids
You are welcome to take things as SLOWLY as you want. Meet them when you’re ready, when you know you’re serious this time around. The ball is completely in YOUR court, mama.
I’ve rarely seen postings on that topic as though there is a stigma on being with a partner who has kids from the previous marriage. Great points! Gaining the respect of your boyfriend’s children is absolutely vital.
I’ll be meeting my boyfriend’s kids (12 & 14) next week after he meets my parents. It’s so much earlier than I anticipated but they’re the ones who wanted to meet me so soon! I’m terribly nervous and excited at the same time. I have nieces and nephew around the same ages so I’m comfortable around kids already. I’m just worried they won’t like me and that’ll be the end of the relationship.
Girl, I had the SAME fear! But it will be so much better than you have it worked up in your mind, I promise!
After a little less than two years together I think I may finally be meeting my boyfriends kids. He is a full time 100% custody of his two daughters dad. They know Im his GF and Im picking him and them up from the airport and bringing them to their friends house and we have plans in SF for two days after that. Then we’re coming back and have a few different things planned to do with them. I was wondering is it a good idea to have some sort of cute gift for them, like a book, or candy? They’re 12 and 13 the same age as my two siblings so their age group isn’t anything new to me. I’m so nervous!
Aw how exciting!! Don’t be nervous – it’s going to be great!!
I personally didn’t do a gift, but as long as it’s a genuine gift from the heart, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Good luck!! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!
as a new father i even appreciated this, it gave me a good time frame for my daughter who only knew my ex that i have been with since a few months after she was born.
My S.O. has met my son (5yrs old) but I’m yet to meet his 15 yr old son (on account of the timing) and I am super nervous about it. Thank you for this.
You’ve got this!!! Try not to be nervous. It’s going to go great!
This is a great article, sadly I don’t think things will go that easily for me. I’d met my boyfriend 6 to7 years ago and I’ve still not met his daughter… unfortunately I’m terrified now especially after her mother calls me the absolute vicious names and with other matters my boyfriend and I have a 6 month old son together. In the very beginning when we met he never once brought the fact up he had a child It was 4 months of dating I found out after his daughters mother contacted me saying her and him were still very intimate which i got very upset with and dealt with a lot of problems but after I was told she wont bother me anymore and everything she told me was a lie we got back in our relationship and I thought I was going to meet his daughter after a couple years since I was feeling nervously ready to meet her it never happened and now I and my son are practically a side family of my boyfriends
And his daughters mother is much worse than before and I don’t know what to do
What a tricky situation, Tiffany! I hope you feel empowered to set boundaries for you and your son. If you’re in search of individualized support, I highly recommend our stepmom coaching program: https://stepmomming.com/stepmom-support-coaching/
I am 18 and my partner is 21. We are planning for me to meet his child soon, who is 3. I am absolutely terrified. Your article has definitely helped but i am still just so nervous, i don’t know how to cope.
You’ve got this!!! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!
So I have been with my boyfriend for 5 months now, but he has only just told his ex wife that he is dating someone else. They have a son, who my boyfriend is very keen for me to meet, however the ex is very manipulative and is causing hassle for my SO. Is it a good idea for me to meet their child if shes being funny about me being around him?
Hey, Sophie! I strongly believe we shouldn’t live our lives in response to the ex. Do what makes the most sense for you and your partner, and if it causes drama from your co-parent, then you can manage it when the time comes.
Tomorrow I am meeting my boyfriends 2 daughters for the 1st time. We have been dating for 5 months and it has been very important to both of us to take it slow when it comes to the girls. They are 9 and 13 years old. I’m really excited but also a little nervous when it comes to the 13 year old cause we all know how hard being a young teenager can be. I’ve heard several horror stories of how my friends treated people their parents dated and praying all goes well. WISH ME LUCK!
Sending so much love your way! You’ve got this!!
Hi l have been dating my boyfriend for a year, we agreed to introduce our kids after 6 months of dating, l have introduced him to my son, but yet to meet his kids, he keeps telling me that the kids are not ready to meet me, l can’t even call or message him when he is with his kids. This makes me sad because he says he loves and wants to have a future with me. Should l leave him.
Hi, Ada! Only you can decide what timing is best for you and your son. If you feel uncomfortable with the delay and are worried your partner may be wasting your time, you should have a serious conversation with him. I respect wanting to protect the children, but they don’t get to make the decisions for your adult relationship.
Thank you for this article! I’m meeting my boyfriend’s 6 year old tomorrow and I’m super nervous. As a 30 year old who has never been around kids, this is uncharted territory! You’ve given some great tips I will be using ?
So glad you found it helpful!! I hope the meeting went well!