Nine things to know about dating parents and dating for parents

Single mother with child

Single Parents’ Day is March 21st, and it’s a wonderful occasion to let the single parents in your life know that you see what a great job they do or, if you’re a single parent yourself, to give yourself a (well-deserved) pat on the back. At EliteSingles we wanted to celebrate by looking at dating for parents: what makes it great, and what you need to know to make it even better.

With that task in mind, we surveyed 370 Australians: single mums, single dads, and those without kids, to discover nine facts about dating as a parent (or dating a parent) in Australia.

1. Parents are popular. Really popular

There can be some hurtful stereotypes about single parents – especially those on the dating scene. Happily, we can ignore these silly misconceptions in favour of a simple, happy truth: parents are really, really dateable. In fact, 88% of Australian (and 90% of Australian parents) would have no qualms at all about dating someone with kids.1

2. Most parents are upfront about their parental status

Given the popularity of parents on the Aussie dating scene, it’s little wonder that the majority choose to be upfront about the fact that they are part of the single parent dating scene (especially when dating online). 53% of single mums and dads would choose to mention the fact that have kids in their online dating profile, with 20% saving the news for the ‘sending messages’ stage and 22% for the first date. (That said 3% of Australian parents would hold off on mentioning the kids until they were in a committed relationship!)

3. The younger the child, the more their opinion counts

Dating a single mum or dad with younger children? You may want to brush up on your story-time skills and cartoon character knowledge to win favour: 83% of single parents with kids under 13 would only date someone their child expressly approved of.

However, if you’re dating someone with older or adult children, the pressure to impress is off – in fact, 73% of single parents with kids over 18 agree with the statement ”it’s none of my children’s business who I date.”

4. But don’t feel you have to please everyone right from the start

Whether you’re dating as a parent or dating a parent (or both), remember this: impressing the kids is good but you are also entitled to give your adult relationships room to grow. The survey emphasizes this, with 55% of Australians preferring to wait until a relationship gets serious before introducing a new partner to their kids, and a further 20% wanting the relationship to be fully committed before any introductions happen.

5. Dating parents means expanding your family….

However, once you do meet your new partner’s children (and/or they meet yours), it’s a good idea to try and get on. 92% of parents dating in Australia say that doing family activities with their kids, their partner, and their partner’s children is one of the keys to building a strong relationship.

And, while this preference for togetherness is strongest for those with little children (95% of those with kids under 5 want to have family-bonding dates), even those with adult children want in: 88% of singles with grown-up kids would like to do activities as one big family.

6. …but not always biologically

There is one main area where those with grown-up children and those with littlies differ, and that’s in their desire to have more children with their new partner. 63% of singles with children under 5 would like more kids in their new relationship. For those with kids aged between 5 and 17, only 30% they’d be open to the idea of having more children. Meanwhile, just 13% of those with adult children would be prepared kids with a new partner.

Men are also much more likely to say ‘I want a baby’ – overall, 32% of single dads in Australia want more children, while just 18% of single mums feel the same.

7. Having your kids involved is a debated subject

When it comes online dating, it seems Australians tend to want to keep their children out of the equation until they’ve met in person; only 17% of singles would include a picture of themselves with their children on their dating profile. However, there’s some evidence that having pictures with your children may be positive – 21% of singles say that they’re more inclined to go on a date with someone who has a photo with their kids in their profile.

8. Dads want their children’s advice when writing a dating profile

Having (adult) children on the scene can be useful in deciding who to date in the first place. 34% of older singles with kids over 18 say that they show their children a potential partner’s online profile before deciding to message them.

Single dads are more likely than a single mum to want practical help, however: when writing a dating profile 12% of dads would want their child’s advice (compared with just 12% of dads). 22% of dads and 21% of mums agree that they would ask their kids for general advice on things like what to wear on a first date and where to go.

9. And kids can play cupid offline too

So can being a parent influence your love life? The answer is yes – in a good way! As well as the examples above, the presence of kids can bring single parents and those dating them together in an unexpected way: a convincing 66% of singles in Australia say that having a positive relationship with a partner’s children makes them love their partner more.

READ MORE: If you’re looking for advice about single parent dating, check out our comprehensive guide to dating with kids.


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