Most middle-years children need some time to adjust to their parents' sep­aration before their mother or father begins having new romantic interests.

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There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Sometime after parents separate and often before they divorce, at least one begins to date.

That's generally healthy for the adults; it means they're moving on to the next phase of their lives. Marilyn daughters, Shana, and twins Alison and Rachel, were 4 and 19 when she and their father split up after almost 27 years.

Two weeks ago, on a night Shana was with her father, Friedman cooked dinner for the twins and the man she has been seeing exclusively for two years. "I'm very mindful and protective of their emotions."Overkill?

Not to Elaine, a mother of three who asked not to be identified because she's in the midst of divorce proceedings. The first was starting to date two months after her separation."You go through a selfish stage when you split up," she says. "' As awful as that was, it was worse to see her son so miserable when the relationship ended. Children of divorce have already experienced loss, maybe trauma.Try to understand the aspects that upset him, which can help you find ways to make the experience easier on him.If he's worried that dating will cut into your time together, for example, then you might create some special one-on-one time with him.As frustrating as this can be, your son's behavior is quite natural. If he's just gotten used to you and his father not being married, he might now fear that a stepparent will further complicate things and take up your time.There's also the issue of territory — it's his house, you're his mom, this date is not his dad.Dating after divorce can be fun and exciting, yet there are a variety of factors that can influence this experience.