Single Moms, Jealous Children

By John Gray

Little girl looking into windowIt’s all but too common that single moms will feel the need to push love away because they are overly concerned that their children will be jealous or upset with them for getting involved again.

While this apprehension is correct – that their children may indeed be jealous – this is not a good reason to avoid intimate adult companionship that might lead to finding love again. In fact, it is actually another reason a single mom should get involved in a new relationship, and here’s why…

When a parent gets involved again, it helps a child to face his own loss as well. It also frees the child from feeling responsible for the parent. Rather than protecting his or her children from being jealous, a single parent needs to focus on helping the children deal with and overcome their jealousy.

When a single mom become seriously involved, engaged, or remarried, often they protect their children from feeling jealous by downplaying their affection for their new partner while they are in the presence of their children.

Though this might seem like a good idea, it simply is not. Instead, a parent should make a special and deliberate point to speak highly of their new partner.

In truth, children are seeking, and indeed need a reason to like this intruder who has come into their lives. They have not gone out and found him. Quite often, children are very happy to have a single parent all to themselves. If they hear, see, and experience in a variety of ways that this new person has the ability to make Mom, or Dad very happy, then they will slowly but surely begin to welcome this new person into their lives as well.

Later on, if the child has periods when they resent the involvement of a stepparent, it is appropriate to create special times to be with the child without the new partner being present. Just as a new couple has private time together, children should feel that they will also get to have some special and private time with their mom.

Parents, whether divorced or not, often make a child the very center of their lives. To counter this tendency, we must make special efforts to prioritize certain undeniable adult needs.

Remember this one critical fact: whenever we are ready to get involved again, we should expect that our children will be upset. Even though a parent might be ready to explore new relationships, a child may still have unresolved feelings from their past life. Children often feel the need to carry the weight of their parent’s anguish over a breakup. Ultimately what frees them from feeling responsible for us is the degree to which we are nurturing ourselves. When we are taking responsibility to help ourselves and get the support of family, friends, groups, or therapy, our children are released from carrying this far too heavy weight.

A new partner can release a child from feeling the need to be a parent’s principle support system. Jealousy can quickly give way to relief as parent and child can return to their natural roles of nurturer and nurtured.

You can read much more about this topic in John Gray’s bestseller, Mars and Venus Starting Over at

More SMW Parenting Tips:

Teaching Responsibility: Rewards and Incentives

Online Dating: Security Tips for Single Moms

Ask Dr. Susan Bartell: When Your Child Acts Out