How well do you remember the first time meeting his kids? It can be a fun, scary and anxiety-provoking event.
Meeting your possible future stepchildren is so important. His children are his constant, his loves, the most important people in his life. If they don’t like you I’m going to bet $10 you’re in for a few giant speed bumps along the road which might catapult you into a brick wall and end your relationship.
The first meeting can be nerve-wracking, to say the least
Matthew and I were well aware of the importance of ‘the first meeting’. So what did we do? Just about everything professionals recommend NOT to do. I met the kids in a relatively neutral environment (score) and then stayed at their house for 3 weeks (uhhhmmmm….).
But, as with any stepfamily, our situations are all unique. What might work for one will not work for another.
Meeting the kids for a two-hour meet and greet session wasn’t in our cards. Frankly, it’s beyond unrealistic when one person (me) lives in the Netherlands and the boyfriend with two children (Matthew) lives in Canada.
That’s how I found myself on a plane to Canada, a country that hadn’t made my bucket list of '1000 places to see before I die' I have to shamefully admit.
Right now you might be thinking? Or screaming at the screen, what were you thinking?! I don’t blame you. But this is just how our stars aligned and what worked best for us.
Keep on reading if you’re wondering what I did to prepare myself for that first meeting and why it’s okay to not listen to the professionals every once in awhile.
A million questions
Before ever meeting the kids I drowned Matthew in millions of questions. What do they love to do? What does life look like with the kids? How has it been for you? By having open and honest conversations about their day-to-day life with dad I was able to semi-prepare myself for what was coming.
Dad’s turn to talk with his kids
Speak openly about the new girlfriend and allow the kids to ask as many questions as they want. Change is scary. Allow the kids to express themselves. Are they excited? Angry? Scared or sad? You might learn that going on a weekend trip is not ideal for the kids, maybe they need to start with a short visit and work from there.
Location, location, location
The location will most likely be determined by their ages and interest. For us, it was on neutral grounds. Maybe not so much with toddlers. However, perhaps a must with teenagers? It really comes down to the comfort level of yourself and everyone else involved. Personally, I would pretty much insist it’s a neutral setting if meeting teenagers.
Our first meeting worked out just right.
It wasn’t at dad's home. Instead, we opted to meet the kids during the town's annual family fair and half an hour before the parade started. His kids were already pumped and ready to fill their bags with candy from the parade when they met me. It was perfect. They had their friends and the whole situation wasn’t solely focused on meeting daddy’s new girlfriend. It was a brief hello and hug (initiated by them, I should add) before they ran back to be with their friends and get as much candy as possible.
The rest of the day was filled with fair rides, soooo much food, friends and family. The focus was not so heavily on my presence, which was great considering I would be around for the following 3 weeks.
Carving out time with dad has always been very important to us. For that reason alone Matthew and I decided I would travel to Canada a week after he did. This would give him and the kids some time to get back into their normal swing of being back at dad’s before I arrived.
If you do end up meeting the kids on a weekend trip away, don’t hesitate to carve out some alone time for dad and the kids. I promise you’ll love having some time to yourself as well.
Connect with the kids
Hallelujah for the trampoline! Yep, you’ll get a great workout in when bouncing around two kids. Also, it’s a great way to break the ice and have a good laugh. And it’s a perrrrfect excuse for an adult to jump on a trampoline almost every single day.
Show interest in what they love to do, be kind and open. However, don’t force it. Allow the kids to take the lead.
Is this the way you should meet your stepchildren? No, not necessarily. Do what’s best for you and those involved! If our situation was different, such as us both living in the same country, I know a brief and short meet up would have been the way to go.
What was your first meeting with your stepchildren like? What did you do? How did it go? Is there anything you would’ve done differently?