"Just wait until it really seems as if the relationship is serious and stable.
Then, it can be nice to introduce your child to a new person in their own environment.
This is the one area of your life that isn't about what your child wants, but about what you want." For example, tell potential suitors what books you like to read (this is an Elmo-free zone), latest movie you saw (Don't you dare say Toy Story), what food you like to cook (chicken nuggets don't count even if you prepare them every, single day!
)." Bottom line: If things work out, then you can start gushing about your little one and eventually let your date see for his- or herself. Problem: My daughter is twelve years old and I want to be honest with her when it comes to leaving her with a sitter to go out.
Problem: I've been dating a nice man consistently for seven weeks and I'm wondering if it's time to introduce my 10-year-old son to him. --Diane, 40, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Solution: Just like you don't tell your kid everything, you don't have to introduce them to everyone.
"It is important to not introduce your kids to every person you go on two or three dates with. When kids are introduced to someone 'special,' they assume it actually means something and then if the person disappears, this shifts their whole belief system," says Ledley.
Problem: I took the plunge and joined an online dating site.
I'm anxious to note I have a kid because I don't want to scare guys away. --Ashley, 28, Winter Garden, Florida Solution: You're teaching your kids not to lie, right? "If you're going to send mixed or false signals, there's no point in shooting the flare gun up at all.
The kids will feel more comfortable in their own home and might enjoy bonding by showing the new person their stuff, like a favorite toy or backyard space," advises Ledley. Problem: Face it, even though I'm 29, I have a curfew -- as in I have to get home to relieve the babysitter.
--Carol, 34, New Haven, Connecticut Solution: Just like you're not lying about having a kid to your date -- don't lie about having a date to your kid.
Still, less is more, says Deborah Roth Ledley, Ph D, licensed psychologist, founder of the website The Calm and author of "Becoming a Calm Mom: How to Manage Stress and Enjoy the First Year of Motherhood." "Keep it simple and say something like, 'I've been feeling so lonely and it is time for me to start meeting some new people.' If your child asks a question about your date, respond with a short and simple answer, but if they are satisfied with the initial statement, change the subject to homework or something important to them." Parenting.com: The easy way to answer kids' toughest questions When Do I Introduce the Kids?
--Shannon, 29, Avon, Ohio Solution: Yes, you can have your cake, eat and enjoy it too.
Spencer says, "If your carriage is turning into a pumpkin just when your night is getting more interesting with someone you've been on a few dates with, consider starting your next date at his place, rather than ending it there.