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Too Much PDA?

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Whether you're married -- or a single mom in a relationship -- surely your kids have seen you holding hands or hugging.

upset girl looking at mom kissing

Rachel Sarah: If you're a single mom, perhaps you waited to introduce your daughter to your new boyfriend until you were both sure that you had a future. But yesterday at the beach, you and your boyfriend were holding hands when your 5-year-old daughter threw a howling fit as she tried to pry you two apart.

Now, you're confused -- and upset. Up until now, you all seemed to enjoy doing things together. Help!

Or, maybe you've been married for years. But every time you and your hubby get cuddly, your preschooler gets upset and tries to pry you apart.

So, when is PDA appropriate when your kids are around?

For single parents, perhaps your kid may not be emotionally ready to see you being affectionate -- even casually -- with your new boyfriend.

Trying to delve into the many possible reasons she feels this way might not be productive. Sometimes kids have meltdowns seeming about one thing, when they're really upset about something else -- or just plain tired, cranky, or hungry.

Here's our advice on public display of affection and single parent dating:

PDA with a dating partner is fine in front of kids. Start slow and take it one step at a time. Walking arm in arm, hand-holding, or having your partner's arm around you in the movie theater when you are all out as a family are all good ways to start. (Of course, save the hot and heavy for private moments.)

For any parent, regardless of your relationship status, here's what is important: listening and respecting your kid's feelings.

Maybe your child is feeling left out. It might be better for the three of you to hold hands. Or, maybe your child needs some special one-on-time with one parent.

When it comes to older kids, keep age in mind. If your adolescent kids are embarrassed by your affectionate behavior, remember that at this age almost everything Mom (or Dad) does embarrasses them. Make sure, however, that your teen kids only witness behavior you are comfortable having them do publicly.

Remember that your own behavior -- not your words -- tells your kids what is and what is not appropriate.

next: Mom Without Daycare Locks Kids in Apartment
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