Dating with kids is one thing, but dating a girl with kids is a whole different animal. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, though, as girls who already have kids possess a lot of qualities that girls who have less responsibility just don’t have. And, just because a kid is in the picture doesn’t mean a girl is “damaged goods,” which, unfortunately, some guys think.

For those who are either already dating a girl with kids, is thinking about it or just want to know how it could work in the future, we’ve got some good tips that will help make a relationship successful. As someone who has done it before, it can be tricky, but, trust us, a girl who is dating with kids is a positive thing — assuming you both know what you’re doing and communication is open. So here’s how you can make it work.

Let her decide if/when you meet her kid

Just because a girl’s putting herself out there and dating with kids doesn’t mean she’s immediately looking for a husband. Sure, some ladies out there are looking for comfort and want to find a future stepdad for her kid(s), but that’s not always the case. And, when it comes to meeting the little one, let her dictate if/when it’s appropriate. After all, she may be strong and independent, but the last thing she wants is to confuse her child(ren) by constantly rotating through a bunch of guys.

Treat it as any other relationship

Ok, so the girl has kids, but that doesn’t mean she should be treated that much differently than a girl who doesn’t. Sure, having to take care of another human being takes responsibility and planning, but that can be a very good thing for a relationship — assuming you both communicate things. For instance, rather than going out with a big group on a Friday night, getting drunk and then sleeping together, she may just want to grab dinner with you, have some wine and good sex before heading back to be mommy.

Do not play dad

Whether you’re really into this girl or not, the most important thing is the best interest of the kid. In order to do that, there are two important rules. First, don’t lead on the girl you’re dating. Second, never play dad, trying to discipline the kid(s). Instead, the best approach is staying neutral and being a friend to the kid(s) first.

Meet the dad

Assuming you and the girl have taken that step and made things official, it’s important to meet the father of the kid(s). Sure, it may be a bit awkward at first, but, in most cases, things stay pretty positive, with all parties understanding the importance to be cordial for the sake of the kid(s). Plus, trust the girl you’re dating, who wouldn’t set you up for failure by introducing you to a jealous ex or someone who could tarnish your relationship together.

Make sex creative

You need to be conscious about sex when a girl is dating with kids. That’s not to say she’s either more or less into the idea, but make sure to move slowly so not to confuse her or the kid(s). That said, when you do have a night of sex, keep it creative. When at her house, if the kid(s) are there, you’ll have a chance to tease without making too much noise. When at yours, you can get a little more freaky and do some hardcore stuff. Either way, it’s important to wait a few dates into things before having sex with the girl.