Possible red flags with pre-step parenting?

tania7120March 2, 2011

I have been with my other half for 5-6 months and thus far we are very close. I have a 2 year old daughter, he has a 3 year old son. I love them both very much, but find myself wondering at commentary made about my daughter that have recently occured:) He is constantly complaining she gets up too early, she is an early bird doesnt bug me at all. The other day he made a comment to her that he would rather her stay out of the room but his son is welcome in the room. For some odd reason this bugs me. Is it just me??

I treat his son as though he was my kid as well.His son stays with a me a majority of the week while he works 10 hour days. What are warning signs to look for before marriage when it comes to children?? She loves him very much I would hate to see either child get hurt in the process or decision making about being a family.

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I can understand why it bugs you. Have you asked your BF about it? Maybe, for example, his son is quiet when he comes into your room but daughter is a chatterbox in the mornings - so he can sleep through son's presence but not daughter's?

Even if something like that is the case (his reasoning is that their behavior is different so the "rules" are different), I'd be concerned if the rules are different for them at such a young age. I don't think it's realistic or fair for two kids that young to have different rules based on their personalities. Honestly, I'd be keeping my eyes open to see if his son appears to get "special treatment", and if so, I'd be gone.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:57AM
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tania, It's really good that you are aware and open to seeing red flags... and the first red flag that pops out at me is that you have ONLY been with this guy 5-6 months & it sounds as if you either live together and/or the kids are allowed to come into your bedroom in the morning, while the two of you are in bed. 6 months may seem like a long time, but in choosing a life partner, especially when you have very young children involved (because they do get attached easily), the parents should get to know each other well before introducing the kids to the situation, let alone them seeing mommy or daddy in bed with someone that isn't their other parent. If things don't work out, they could get confused seeing their parent in bed with various partners until they find "the one".

As for him treating the kids with different rules or expectations or standards, that is definitely a red flag. I believe we all bond with OUR own kids from birth so when we say we love or treat a stepchild "as our own", I don't think it's very likely exactly the same. I think we try to treat kids evenly, do for them what we do for ours, try to instill the same values, etc. and try not to show favoritism so in that way, we treat them as we would our own. That being said, it is a red flag for him to expect one thing from his son and something different from your daughter. I wonder if it has to do with HIS vs.YOURS or if it's about the gender of the child. But you have a maternal instinct to know your child needs to be protected, so listen to it. The biggest mistake you could make is staying with someone BECAUSE of the kids, because you don't want to see them be hurt. The best way to prevent that from happening in the future is to re-read my first paragraph & keep your child away from your relationships until you know he's a keeper & you have no doubt.

Also, where is your daughter's father? and his son's mother? It's also a red flag to me that you say he works 10 hours a day during the week while you care for his son. Unfortunately, some guys shove off the bulk of parenting on a new girlfriend/wife & eventually you may end up feeling like an unappreciated, unpaid babysitter... especially if he undermines you by having different rules/standards for his son, even though YOU are the primary caretaker. In my opinion, it's also dangerous to pretend you're a nuclear family... where it may be perfectly normal for kids to jump in bed with mom & dad in a nuclear family, I think more caution should be taken, especially with a daughter.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:58AM
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I would definately keep my eyes open as you are doing. At that young of an age there shouldn't be different rules for them. Favoritism can really hurt a child.

Also, I agree with IMA you should be taking things slowly. Honestly in 6 months you really don't know someone even if you spend lots of time with them.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:12AM
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after 5-6 months of knowing someone you guys sleep together in front of your young children, it is inapprorpiate and premature arrangement and that's where I see a big red flag. I cannot imagine going to work 10 hours a day and asking a starnger (5 months is a stranger) to watch my child and be her primary caregiver. I don't think it is a very mature decision and it is going to backfire.

I would back off, live sepratelly and date until I really get to know him, and I would keep my child out of it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:51PM
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I agree with everyone. Moving fast with kids is dangerous!! The first problem in blending families tends to be the kids. Your kids are very young so it may seem like well If we don't work out then the kids won't remember them. But his son is bonding with you since you keep him during the day ... It will Hurt you both If you don't work out. 6 months is generally how long you should date before you even introduce the kids and spending the night -- it's too soon. I think you are doing a great job looking ahead. I have a daughter and sometimes I feel like my DH has different rules for our son and my daughter. It was very stressful but we have worked hard to fix that. And I think we are working the kinks out. And we've been together for over 4 yrs... So 6 months isn't very long

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:16PM
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