Need opinion on situation

justjazzyJanuary 26, 2012

I have been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. I am 51, he is 46. I have one daughter who is 15. He has three kids, twins - boy and girl 8 yo and one boy 10 yo. I have only been interacting with his kids since November (about 2 1/2 months), we have tried to do fun things in short clips (movie, lunch, playground). His sons are not adjusting well to the divorce. The older son has frequent crying meltdowns and has shown high anxiety related to routine activities like taking the bus or going to CCD. He has had a few full blown panic attacks and is now in therapy. The youngest son also shows significant separation anxiety ( if dad is in bathroom he sits outside the door, etc) he is now also in therapy.

Now for my question. We were given 4 tickets to a professional basketball game in our city - floor seats. I thought it was reasonable for him to go with his three kids. His daughter did not want to go but the sons were excited. When the daughter declined I said I would like to go. When he told the boys I was going the older one said he wanted it to be "only family, and if I was going then he did not want to go". I am sure there was crying involved. My BF said, fine and he would take them to another game without me. We had a big argument about this because I feel he is allowing a 10 yo to dictate and manipulate. I think he should have said it was fine for him not to go but the consequence is he would miss the game. I feel like he was rewarding rude and disrespectful behavior with another BB game w/o me. I think we could have offered to let the younger son bring a friend. I have seen quite a few instances where my BF will say to stop a behavior in excess of 5-6 times, kids ignore him, and he does nothing OR worse if the cry or pout he will placate them with a reward (candy, toy, etc). I think he is setting up for failure and worse behavior in the future. I would like to hear your thoughts. After reading some post I don't know if this has disaster written all over it. Also the ex is kinda crazy too.

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colleenoz

"I have seen quite a few instances where my BF will say to stop a behavior in excess of 5-6 times, kids ignore him, and he does nothing OR worse if the cry or pout he will placate them with a reward (candy, toy, etc). I think he is setting up for failure and worse behavior in the future. "
I think you're quite right. IMO the kids have meltdowns because they have learned that that is what works for them, perhaps not consciously but it is what they have been conditioned to do. Already your boyfriend is reaping the whirlwind he has sown. If my DD had tried to set the rules I would have reminded her that the family is not a democracy and parental veto overrides all. Some latitude in decision making is a good learning experience for kids but in that particular situation it wasn't appropriate IMO, except for the son to decline to attend.
So, since the girl declined, is Dad going to take her on a special treat too? That would be the fair thing to do since he has set it up for the son.
I dunno. If you've been dating for 18 months (and presumably the divorce happened before that) and the kids still have meltdowns, perhaps it's time to reassess where this relationship is going.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 8:04AM
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