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“Single Agains” –
Part IVA: Single, Social, and a Parent

You might want to read the previous articles in this series:

“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part I: The Purity Challenge
“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part II:Transitioning To Singleness Due to Divorce – Dating
“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part IIIA: Your Purity Threat Assessment

“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part IIIB: Your Purity Threat Assessment
“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part IIIC: Your Purity Threat Assessment

After becoming “single again” and healing up there is a strong chance that you will begin dating.  Even if you don’t have kids, getting back into the dating arena has its difficulties.  If you DO have kids, it is that much more complex.  Since you are not just impacting your life, but also the lives of your kids, it is important that you take a considered approach. Let’s look at some issues to consider for all children and some also based upon the ages of children.

SAFETY CHECK!

When you start dating you are bringing someone new into your family’s life.  Even if it is only the first date, there are connections being made.  The first thing you have to consider is your family’s security.

There are a lot of people that could be a threat to your family.  These threats are not just men, but also women. Before going out with someone, even someone you have known for years, it is good to do some basic “due diligence”.  Now, I am not one to recommend a full background check on the poor guy/gal!  That takes some of the mystery away and seriously reduces the small talk on dates!

However, isn’t it prudent to make sure you are not bringing a sex offender into your family’s sphere of contacts?  The sounds harsh, but it is a reality in today’s world.  A quick search on a prospective date’s name at the National Sex Offender Registry might save a lot of pain.  You can access the various databases that feed the Registry at the Department of Justice’s Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Web Site. This site will help you get to the data you want by connecting you to each state’s/tribe’s/territory’s database.

Another option is that you can use one of the many portals that provide combined access to all the databases without you and, frequently, easier-to-use features such as neighborhood maps.  One of my favorites is familywatchdog.us.  It provides “one-stop shopping”, as it were.  Check out the picture to the right.

Unless there are special considerations (such as your being a public figure/celebrity) then that’s as much sleuthing as you probably need to do, but that’s just me!

LOGISTICS!

If your kids are too young, or too many, to leave at home by themselves then you need to line up MULTIPLE BABYSITTERS, including an adult friend or two who can handle emergencies (for those spur-of-the-moment dates).  One great source for this is your Youth Pastor…or his WIFE! You’ve had sitters in the past so I won’t cover the basics, but you need to know the following about your sitters when preparing for dating:

  • Availability:  What nights/days/hours can they baby-sit?
  • Lead Times: How much notice do they usually have to have?  How long does it take to get them there (for short-notice dates)?
  • Long-Lead Availability:  Look at the calendar and find out who is available for upcoming 3-day weekends, school breaks, youth events (D-NOW, etc.).
  • Are they available to go WITH you on an outing if you want help on a family outing (say, a “family date” to Six Flags)?

NOTE GUYS!  You don’t have kids?  You still need a (small) chart like this, too!  A true gentleman is always prepared to help a lady in distress, and that includes having sitter options in case the lady you are taking out can’t get a sitter!  If you are kid-less, just ask some of the moms at your church!  And, think about what this tells the lady about your ability to plan ahead!

KIDS & MOVING ON…

It is important to talk to kids about your re-entry into the world of dating.  This is a talk that you should have before you ever even accept an invitation for a date.  Your kids may have a range of views on this subject and you need to discuss it, and settle any issues (if possible) so they don’t create conflict. Some children do not understand why Mommy/Daddy need anyone else, especially if they are the custodial parent.  Their view, sometimes, is that they can be all the family that you need.  This can be difficult to explain.  Here are a few talking points:

  • In the Bible, God saw that Adam shouldn’t be alone, so God created a WIFE for Adam.  Adults are supposed to be married, except in VERY special cases.  (GEN 2, MATT 19)
  • The Apostle Paul said that widows under 60 should remarry!  (1 TIM 5)
  • I often like to use “driving” examples.  Moms and Dads are like the two drivers on a LONG trip!  Having two “drivers” helps make the trip better!  Children can’t be “drivers” in the journey of life.  Mom/Dad needs to have a partner.
  • People need to have good close friends who are their own age.  You (the kids) wouldn’t want to be around adults all the time because you like YOUR friends.  Mom/Dad want the same thing you do: Friends our own age.

It is important to take children’s concerns very seriously.  Older children, while understanding the desire that a parent may have to find to date and to another mate, they may still have issues that manifest themselves in different ways, such as:

  • “Mom, he’s just after sex!”
  • “Dad/Mom, they’re just after your money!”
  • “Mom, they are different/not as good/weirder/etc than Dad was.”

These can be tricky.  In some cases they feel you are trying to “replace” or “erase” their other parent.  In one sense, you are, especially if you are single due to divorce.  However, they need to be assured that they are secure in your heart and that you expect them to always be engaged with their other parent.    If your efforts to talk about their feelings and concerns don’t get resolved due to your efforts then seek the counsel of one of your pastors, a Christian friend who is mature in their faith, or a highly recommended Christian counselor.

As we can see, being a parent and re-entering the dating arena has its challenges.  Let’s re-cap what we’ve talked about so far:

  1. Take steps to ensure the safety of your family by screening for sex offenders.
  2. Get ready, logistically, to deal with the need for baby sitters, sometimes on short notice (guys, too!)
  3. Before you start dating, make sure you have addressed any issues the kids may have.

Next up in the 2nd part of this particular post: What about the kids and the guy/gal you are dating?

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