Supporting BF as a parent w/o crossing the line

norcalgirl78February 23, 2009

Sometimes when I am with BF and his DD10 and DD6 I start wondering about how best to support him as he parents them, especially when they act up. They are really well-behaved but every once in a while one of them will mouth off or get in a snit about something, and I feel kind of like whatever I do it would not be the right thing. (Let me also mention that I do not have my own children.)

For example, if one of them mouths off to him it makes me annoyed on the inside, because I don't want anyone to treat him with less than the respect he deserves. But if I say something, I am intruding on their relationship - I should not be defending him to them. Or, if one of them smarts off and he does not respond the way I think he should (i.e. if it is one of those fairly rare times where he is inconsistent with boundaries or when he just does not interpret the disrespect the same way that I do, from my "outside" perspective), when I am silent and have to sit there I feel like I am complacent with what is going on. Sometimes we're in the car and I can't just say to myself, ok, I think I'll go do something else for a while!

Recently we spent several days together on a visit to their hometown where they live with BM and SF and I definitely felt like the whole goal was to have as much fun with them and spend as much quality time with them as possible. But there were a few times I wanted to yell, "Do you guys think this is fun for me, not getting a thank you or listening to you bicker about nothing? GROW UP!" Luckily, I did not lose my mind, LOL, and had a good time. But sometimes I am at a loss - I don't want to act like the parent telling anyone what to do, but I don't like sitting there silently while they mouth off like I am the kid to the side who just happens to not be involved with the conversation. Sometimes the worst thing is that I feel I even play off of being the novelty, the cool young non-parent and somehow by not "disciplining" them that I am somehow going against his efforts, and that hurts me. Thoughts? Strategies?

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My honest opinion is that you should refrain from any kind of discipline, however minor. Even saying something to back up your DH is probably too much.

I did not start disciplining/correcting my SS until I was the one responsible for him. That started last school year, and continued on through now. I STILL struggle with this issue. It's rough.

My opinion is that since your SKs don't live with you guys, and are never (correct me if I'm wrong) in YOUR care, you should just let your BF handle all "that stuff."


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 5:20PM
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If you're not sure what to say, then you are doing right by letting him handle it. Gets get a pass at saying rude things to parents at times. It's part of growing up testing boundaries.

When my DH just had his kids every other weekend, I never interferred in their upbringing. The only time I said something was when I came home, the SS (5)was apart from his sister and dad and was sulking and said "It's all your fault"

I replied "what's my fault" in a nice conversational tone. He replied that he wanted to stay at his mom's because the Mom's boyfriend who moved in had kids his age living there and he wanted to play with them, but was forced to come over to Dad's.

I said that really wasn't my fault it was because his dad loves him and misses him and even wants him around when he's pouting and doesn't want to be here.

I then went in the entertainment room where SD and DH were. Pretty soon SS shows up and starts playing games with us.

They started living with us about a year later full time, as the BM messed up her chances and pretty much left the state. Periodically even now, SS will be doing something and say "it's all your fault". He does it to kid me, like we have an inside joke. DH always wonders about it, say "what? what are you saying is at fault?" And SS and I just smile.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:58PM
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You might get him to take a parenting class with you so you can have an opportunity to discuss parenting styles and he may learn methods for being more consistent and setting boundaries.

I agree with everyone else though, unless you are in charge, let him deal with his kids. If you are babysitting them while he's at work, treat them as you would anyone else's kids that you would be babysitting.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 10:58PM
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I've always let my Dh descipline and handle his kids. THey're 13 and 10 now. I've never interfered with their relationship even though, yes you've described exactly how i feel when his daughter mouths off and treats him like doodoo...and it gets me angry because inside i'm feeling 'how dare you say this to my husband!' But i always remind myself that its between them.
BUT, that does not stop me from discussing it with my husband about how his kids behave.I have that right to voice my opinion and i'm his wife and his friend and confidant. So do not be afraid to voice you opinion with your bf. I think you need to be honest and open about your feelings with him , even if it may anger him or disappoint him.
I do not alway agree on how my husband punishes his daughter either. alot of times he just walks away. I personally would have closed the tv on her and told her ot go to her room. BUt hey, i'm not her mother.
BUT she doesn't live with us either. She comes now...oh...every 2 months or so..
If i had to have that on an everyday basis i would seriously talk to my partner and tell him to step up on tactics.
I think its normal for you to feel this way. I felt this way as well and still do alot of times. You are doing the right thing by staying out of it and by letting him handle it. He is their father and should discipline. You can support your BF by discussing situation in private with him and him alone so he knows you understand and how u feel.
As for the kids acting up in the car ...i had that once happen to me and i said outloud that its not nice to scream in a small place and that they are giving me and their father a headache. They didn't listen of course. So i blasted the stereo system on full and focused it only in the back of car:) I asked them did you like that. They said no. Then dont' do it to me or your dad while driving. Its never happened again. And this was 5 years ago.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:14AM
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I am in the same boat as you. He is always the one to discipline his children. It is not my place and you never want to get into that position where his kids resent you for trying to be their mom.

I do have issues with how he handles things sometimes. After something has happened, we will discuss together how he plans on disciplining them. I offer my opinions and we make a decision together. You two are married and you should always make decisions together regardless if he is the one to give out the discipline. The way the children are disciplines affects the BOTH of you.

Sometimes when we discuss why he should discipline them his way or my way, we open up new ideas and understandings. Sometimes I provide some good outside insight to him of things he may not have considered before. Sometimes he enlightens me of some techniques that he knows as an experienced parent.

Work together with him. Be open and calm and know that you two are in this together. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 10:14PM
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