Don't like the way BF treats his kids

merry11July 28, 2011

Hi,

New here. Hoping I can get some advice from those with experience. I have been with my BF for 14 months now. I have met his kids a while ago (DD17,DS13,DD12) and we get along great. He is 36, I am 35 (divorced,no kids). He is a great guy, does everything for his kids, is a bit strict with them (for the good reasons, their mothers let them get away with everything) and in general they are darn good kids.

My issue is with his lack of patience. I can definitely see how 3 teenagers would try anyone's patience ;) BUT he overreacts about pointless things (like the kids being goofy) and tells them to shut up when they are just laughing or joking around or he doesnt like DD12's laugh and to stop laughing like that etc. Again hes a good father in the overall sense, but verbally I am finding he can be mean and yells at them unnecessarily (IMO of course) I have 5 nieces and 3 nephews so I love kids and watch them alot, but I would never tell a 12 year old I dont like her laugh and to stop!

So my question is, would I be wrong in speaking to him about this? I have never said a word about his discipline or anything pertaining to his kids, I know its not my place, but I just cant continue to bear to watch the kids faces when he yells at them for basically nothing. I am starting to lose respect for him the more I see him overreact and I would hate to walk away from a great relationship because of that.

One more thought about BF... his childhood was kinda lousy, mom died young, has an unemotional father and had to grow up fast having a kid when he was 18 in high school (among many other things). So his guidance as a kid was pretty much non existent and i give him credit for turning out to be a great guy on his own. What to do...

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parent_of_one

OK of course you have an option of telling him about how you feel, I understand his attitude probably stems from how he was raised...Saying that I think he is set his ways, eventually your honeymoon lovey- dovey stage of a relationship will end and he'll start telling you to stop laughing or shut up.

Sorry I wouldn't be able to watch anyone acting like this with kids. He sounds abusive to me (emotionally abusive to his children), I wouldn't want to have kids with him.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:32AM
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Amber3902

Wow, usually the issue is the BF or DH is not strict enough and lets the step kids walk all over the step mom. I'm sure you'll get plenty of good advice from the more experience ladies on here, but here's my two cents. You may feel your BF is too hard on his kids, but since you have never raised kids yourself you really don't have much experience in the matter. Yes, you have nieces and nephews, and you love kids, but it is one thing to babysit someone else�s kids for a few hours and another thing to parent your own child 24/7. Keep in mind the expectations he has for his own kids is different than what you have.

I�m not saying you don't have a valid point about his patience level, however, please take into consideration the fact that it's far easier to let things slide when it is not your child and you don't have to deal with their issues on a day to day basis.

However, having said that, I don't tell my kids to shut up, because I think it's a rude and hurtful thing to say. I tell them to be quiet instead. Some people don't have an issue with yelling at their kids and telling them to shut up. Some kids would cry if you tell them that, and others have thicker skin.

If the kids don't seem to mind what he says to them, I wouldn't say anything, but if you feel it is affecting the kid's in a bad way I would definitely say something to him.

If nothing else, I DO think you should talk to him about telling his daughter that he doesn't like her laugh because that can affect her self -esteem, especially at the delicate age of 12. That is something NO dad should be telling his daughter.

However, you have to go with your feelings. You hear what he is saying to them, I don't. If you feel the way he talks to his kids is verbally abusive, you may want to reconsider your relationship with him. You wouldn't want him to talk to you like that, would you? Why would it be okay to talk to his kids like that? He may start to treat you the same way. Something to think about.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:56AM
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sylviatexas1

People are consistent.

You can expect the same kind of treatment from them that they dish out to others.

Yes, please do discuss his behavior with him.

If he welcomes your perspective, well & good.

If he blows up, there's your answer.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 2:50PM
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silversword

Good point Amber. I remember the first time I was at someone's house and the parents told the kids to "shut up". Not 20 minutes later, the kids are saying it too. And everyone is laughing and everyone is friends and it was one of the most loving, happy families I've ever been around.

My parents would NEVER tell me to shut up. I don't say that to my dd either. I think it's rude. But for some families, that's how they operate and it can still be done 'with love'.

It's all context. Sylvia has a good point... talk to him, and pay careful attention to his reaction. That's your answer.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 3:00PM
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sweeby

"but verbally I am finding he can be mean and yells at them unnecessarily"

Remember this. He can be mean, and he yells at people he loves.
With you, he may still be on his 'good behavior' -- but you can be sure he will revert to THIS behavior with you if you stay with him long enough.

"So my question is, would I be wrong in speaking to him about this?"

Wrong? No - But I'd suspect it would be pretty pointless if affecting a change is what you're after, and you'd be likely to get a pretty nasty response for your trouble. Might be worth a try, just to see if he's capable of recognizing the error of his ways.

"I am starting to lose respect for him the more I see him overreact and I would hate to walk away from a great relationship because of that. "

The first part of this sentence is so clear --
but the second part sucks!
If he's verbally mean, the relationship is unlikely to stay 'great'. He's showing you a very valid reason for walking away.

"One more thought about BF... his childhood was kinda lousy, mom died young, has an unemotional father and had to grow up fast having a kid when he was 18 in high school (among many other things)."

I get it -- It's not his fault... Actually, my Ex had an almost identical back-story, and I cut him a lot of slack for that reason. But at the end of the day, the *reasons* for Ex's jerk-hood don't matter -- it's the unchanging, continued existence of the abusive behavior that's the problem. My current (wonderful) husband didn't have a decent father either -- but instead of repeating his own father's bad behavior, he set a higher standard for himself -- an idealized one, but one he constantly strives for.

You've seen a *very valuable* glimpse into your BF's character.
Please DON'T rationalize it away or excuse it into insignificance.

If your goal is to 'get This Guy to marry you' -- then fine -- leave it alone. (Repent at leisure...)
But if your goal is to someday enjoy a happy and loving marriage to a wonderful guy, then *remember* what you've seen, make a mental note that This Guy has 'Strike One' against being that Mr Wonderful, suggest a need for a change, and watch carefully for signs of *real* change before moving forward with this relationship.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:23PM
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