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Taking the Kids Out of It?

Posted by Amber3902 (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 24, 11 at 15:58

So BF and I are still having issues regarding his parenting of his son. Basically, so long as I handle his son, there's not a problem, but if I say something to him about his son, it causes an argument. For a while it seemed things were getting better, but now it seems things have regressed.

My BF does home repair and sometimes his work requires him to work on the weekends. So last Sunday I watched his son for him because he had some work to do.

I watched his son for 8 hours. To make the time pass quicker, I took the two younger kids to the store with me, BF's son (age 8) and my youngest daughter (age 6). BF's son was bossing my daughter around, telling her what to do, trying to hold her hand, etc. I told him he didn't have to do these things, I got her. He said but I feel she is my responsibility. I said I understand he cares about her but she is not his responsibility, he just needs to take care of himself and I will handle my daughter. But for the rest of the afternoon I had to keep telling him, leave her alone, I got her, you don�t have to tell her what to do, etc. etc.

Let me be clear, I didn't have a problem with the fact that BF's son was a little bossy, both BF's son and my D6 are both bossy, so I know they are going to bump heads from time to time. When BF came and picked his son up I asked him to talk to his son about it and he said he would.

So now this past Sunday BF and his son come over for Sunday dinner. BF's son goes into youngest daughter's room and then next thing I know, my daughter comes walking out of her room saying "E doesn't have to tell me how to tie my shoes, I told him I know how to tie my shoes, he doesn't have to tell me. I told him to leave me alone." I said to her "If you have a problem with E you need to tell his dad."

BF is sitting on the couch and says "What's that?"
I told him what was going on and he said "Why does she have to tell me?"
I said "Because he's your son"
He looked annoyed and said "Alright"
So then BF and the kids went outside to the park. After about half an hour I called him on the phone.
I asked him if he was coming back into the apartment to hang out with me and he said I seemed busy so he decided to go outside with the kids instead.
Then he said "So is this the new rule now, that if one of the kids has a problem they need to go to that kid's parent?"
I said "Well, last time we talked about teasing my daughter about being a tattle tail and you agreed that you were not going to do that anymore, that if she has a problem with E she can come to you without worrying you were going to call her a tattle tail."

He said, "No, we agreed that they need to come to one of us parents. You were right there, you could have handled it."
I said, "You know this has been going on with E for a couple of weeks now, with him bossing my daughter around. You said for me to handle issues with E myself but he still doesn't listen to come to you. Well, I've told you that I've had to tell him over ten times not to boss my daughter around and he's still not listening to me, so now I need you to talk to him."

He said, "No, I meant handle it and if he's not listening to you AT THAT TIME then come to me. Not just hand it off to me. How many times have I told your daughter to stop smacking at the dinner table? But I don't give up. That's what you did. You just gave up on E and told me to handle it."

I said "He is obviously not listening to me so I thought if you talk to him he might listen." Then he said "No, if he�s not listening to you then you need to put him in time out and have him sit in a corner." Which was new to me. He has never told me before this to put his son in time out. We argued some more and the end result was BF and his son did not stay for dinner.

Like I said before, I don't care about BF's son being bossy. What I have a problem with is when I say something to BF about his son. He doesn't have a problem if I correct his son. There's only a problem if I say something to him about his son.

And it's not like I'm running to him every two minutes about his son. Some things I over look, some things I'll just handle myself, but in this situation I was tired of correcting BF's son and thought BF needed to step in and handle it this time.

I feel like BF does not want to do the hard part of the parenting. Parenting is not all fun and games, if there's an issue with his son he needs to handle it and not worry about whether I handled it first or not, etc. If he ever says something to me about my girls I don't give him a hard time about it, I handle it.

So now I'm at the point where I don't know what to do. I'm thinking maybe we should continue dating but just keep the kids out of it, but I'm not sure how feasible that will be. I can leave my girls home alone for a while now that my eldest is 13, but it will be hard for BF. He will have to find a babysitter because his son isn't old enough to stay home alone yet. That was one idea I came up with.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

Seriously MHO thinks perhaps you may be overreacting to the little things kids do. There is quite the bit of age gap between your girls...but I bet if you were a mouse in a corner at daughter' classroom (and throughout the day at school)you'd pretty much see that all the kids are being a bit bossy and trying to 'one up' the other kids. 'Look what I know/can do, you don't do it right blah blah'

Start with having a 'do not enter' notice on your daughter's bedroom. This is her private space and only invited 'guest' who knock and are granted entrance get to go in. If she says 'nope', nope it is. She'll come out when she wants to play. She can go in when she's had enough.

if I got excited over every little thing the kids did when I have a housefull, I'd go nuts. Daughter has her room to get away from her cousins. Cousins can hang with me if she is in her room or they can go in the familyroom and entertain by their self. Kids are kids, they get tired of each other and litle girls don't always want to play what little boys want to do.

Kinda sweet that he watched over her at the store, but yeah, he does not need to. But don't make it so much about 'my kid, I have it' as much as a 'it is really nice of you two to look out for each other but I think you can both just walk along side me and that should be ok'. You could try 'E, I don't have to hold your hand through the store and because daughter is right here I don't think she needs us to hold her hand either'.

You're getting wrapped up in the tattle tale crap. You realize right, that the more you react to tattling the more she'll find to tattle on?

But back to your posting issue, the BF. Stop babysitting on weekends. You've got the girls and it's your time to be with them. Simply say 'E' does not listen to me, 'E' and my daughter do nothing but fight and I'd rather not spend my weekend that way. Not fair to either kid.

If he can't hire a babysitter, that really is not your problem. Remember he is a fulltime 24/7 Daddy now...how to take care of the child when he is working is part of being a Daddy. What would he do if you suddenly poofed? He'd have to figure it out...so don't let him guilt trip you if you say 'not babysitting anymore'.

Don't know how your BF will take to being told you perhaps would like to try a adults only relationship. But if it is really what you have decided is all you want, best tell him now so you don't continue building resentment towards his parenting and/or his son until things totally blow up and a huge fight takes place that you'll both be sorry happened and won't be good for any of the kids.

Maybe it's time to just take a break from each other. No seeing each other for a few weeks and see how you both feel then. it also gives him a chance to look into a sitter and get his son settled into that routine.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

When I said she's "my kid, I have it" I was paraphasing a litte. I told him he doesn't have to worry about her, thanks a lot, just enjoy being a kid and don't worry about her, she's not his responsbility, she's mine, I got her, etc. etc. This went on the entire Sunday afternoon.

It wasn't so much that he was being bossy, (I think it was sweet that he cares about her, too) it was the fact that I had to tell him over and over and over. That was what annoyed me. If he was my kid, they'd get a punishment or spanking and that would set them straight. But I can't spank BF's son.

And I didn't call BF up half way through the afternoon and say come get your kid, I can't handle him. But I did mention it to him when he picked him up. So the next weekend when it happened again, I was a little fed up and wanted BF to handle the situation.

And yeah, it really wasn't that big of deal, which is why I handled it myself that first Sunday afternoon. It's just when I said something to BF about it the next weekend that he got annoyed and all the arguing happened. If I handle the situation myself, it's no problem. But when I say "Talk to BF about it" then it becomes a problem.

BF will tell me about my daughter smacking when she eats her food at the dinner table, and I don't get all upset. I tell her to stop smacking. Whenever he tells me something about my girls I don't get upset, I handle the situation.

"Simply say 'E' does not listen to me, 'E' and my daughter do nothing but fight and I'd rather not spend my weekend that way". I think I actually like that idea.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

Amber amber Amber this is why I would suck at being a stepparent.

I honestly don't think it's your responsibility to parent your BFs kid while BF is sitting there. When you are babysitting and in charge, it's one thing. If you were his teacher, and you had a long day of him not listening, you would email/call parents and say 'this is what I have been dealing with today that is out of the ordinary and I wanted to get your input and let you know so you can help from home'. If you were an hourly paid babysitter, same thing. But because you are dad's gf, dad wants you to handle the situation as if you are mom. If you were the mother of his child, you would handle it probably without even telling dad unless it just got out of hand and/or during your nightly catching up of the day talk. Dad is obviously wanting that 'family' situation that you have clearly stated you aren't ready for. Does the kiddo ever go to mom's? When my Dh and I dated, we only went out when Dd was at her dad's. On dad's weekends is when I saw him. I didn't introduce them for a while and we dated only. When we were engaged and he had met her and we were spending time together, we never spent the night together and I never left her in his care. Not his responsibility. Now once we moved in together, he took a bigger role, such as taking her to the store or picking her up from daycare when I had to work late etc. But he never disciplined her. He was like her buddy. They did fun things together. We went through a phase where he thought she was manipulating me and being disrespectful to me and he would say something but it would burn me up inside. I didn't want to undermine him and give her the green flag that it was ok to not listen to any adult other than me so I kept quiet and would talk to him about it privately. Now we have been together so long AND we haves child together so I've relaxed and it doesn't bother me. My ex and I actually had an injunction in our CO that said no significant others could discipline the child. That was really because SM was crazy and I didn't agree with her discipline at all. But it was a two way street. She couldn't discipline neither could my Dh.

I don't know if I want to advise you to take a break from your BF because I know you love him and your doing everything to salvage this thing along with doing everything to make sure you do the 'blending' right. But if this isn't enough evidence that you made the right decision to not move in with him in sept then I don't know what else you would need.

I think his son is a boy and you just aren't used to it. He is being sweetly over protective of your daughter and it's to an annoying point. If your BF doesn't like you to ask him to handle his son, then I would just have to tell him, then I cannot keep babysitting for you and we need to spend time with each other when the kids are gone or when one side is gone and the other is home. You shouldn't be doing his parenting and you are right to let him deal with it. If he doesn't want to then obviously a mommy for his kid is what he is looking for, not a partner for himself and that doesn't sound like the position you signed up for.

I like the idea of your daughter's room being her space and her space to go to. Only the invited can enter and when she is done playing, he can go play in another room, family room etc. How many rooms do you have? Can you set up a game room where he will have a place to go?


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

You need to google "blended family" or check on amazon. There are so many books about the pitfalls of blended family.

The biggest problem is how to handle the step children. Personally, I think the bio parent should be the one that disciplines their own child, be the one that is repsonsible for the child's future direction. How often we have heard "You are not my dad/mom". It is best not go there.

You will have to read about these pitfalls and clear out the expectations with your bf. If not, the demise of your r.s is quite immiment.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

Amber, I cannot really address the disagreements with you and your BF; I think that may just take time. Lots and lots of time. Probably until the youngest child turns 18, LOL! Seriously, sometimes it seems to be one thing after another - I don't like the way you disciplined my child/the way you did not discipline my child/the way you come to me to discipline my child/why didn't you tell me my child needed to be disciplined? Hopefully you can work that part out.

My advice is more towards the "thanks but you don't need to watch her " thing with the boy. One thing I learned was to be very specific in what I asked. "You don't need to be responsible for her" is something that an adult would probably understand - an eight year old boy, maybe not. "I will help her tie her shoes and I will hold her hand crossing parking lots" is specific. He may be listening to you, but if your instructions are not clear to him he is going to be conflicted, especially if he feels that he is responsible for her. (And why, I wonder, does an eight year old feel a younger child is "his responsibility" to begin with?)

I don't know, on this particular issue I think I'd spell out exactly what you don't want him to do - and other than that be thrilled that he feels protective (albeit bossy) rather than just nasty to a younger child.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

I have a three bedroom apartment. It's not tiny, but not very big either. The living and dinning room are sort of one big room. I can have the kids sit at the dinning room table and draw or color, or they can watch TV in my bedroom while me and BF watch TV in the living room or vise versa. But there isn't room to set up where the kids can play, other than in D6's room.

Yes, I believe not moving in was the right decision. I have a lot on my plate, I work full time, I go to school two nights a week. I also deal with the fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia. Most days it's not so bad but sometimes I just don't have a ton of energy. Also, I am just finding out that my eldest daughter might be autistic, so I'm working on trying to get her help for that. I don't feel like taking on a third child, one that I did not raise, who will not always listen to me and whom I can not properly discipline.

When I told BF that I was not moving in that caused a big argument, and we wound up taking a break for about three weeks.

Even though we agree on most everything else, religion, politics, it does appear that our parenting philosophies are too different for living together.

"If your BF doesn't like you to ask him to handle his son, then I would just have to tell him, then I cannot keep babysitting for you and we need to spend time with each other when the kids are gone or when one side is gone and the other is home."
Totally agree. Now I have to think of a way to explain this to him without him thinking I don't accept his son.

Mattie - I don't know why this kid feels he is responsible for a child that is only two years younger than him. I think it's because his parents have always treated him like a little adult. They let him make too many decisions for himself. He will interject his two cents into adult conversations, correct my D6 like he's a parent, for example, if my D6 is getting distracted by the TV and she's supposed to be doing something, he'll turn the TV off. I had to tell him it was not his place to do that. When I'm on the phone talking to BF, he'll ask to talk to me. And when he's on the phone he doesn't talk like an 8 year old and talk to me about legos, or school, etc. He'll ask me why did I decide to take my daughter out of karate? Not like a child asking a question, like an adult asking 'So Amber, why did you make that decision?' I think that is because of the way his grandma talks to him on the phone. Poor kid doesn't have any friends, I think it's because he doesn't know how to act like a kid.

Last Friday we were in the store shopping for Halloween costumes. When we were getting ready to check out, he turned and said to me in a voice an adult uses when talking to a 5 year old he said "Now miss Amber, we're getting ready to go, so let's not get distracted."

When he said that to me I said "E - you don't talk to me like that. I'm the adult, you're the child. You don't tell me what to do."
My BF heard me talking and said "What happened?"
I told him and he turned to his son and said "Yeah, don't talk to her like that" and that was the end of it.
Anyway, I just told that story just to show how this 8 year old thinks he's a little adult. And that does bother me. My girls may listen in our conversations, but at least they don't try to chime in. I can't have a conversation with BF if his son is anywhere around without the son butting in.
And I will tell him again and again, I'm talking to your dad right now. But he still does it anyway.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

"When we were getting ready to check out, he turned and said to me in a voice an adult uses when talking to a 5 year old he said "Now miss Amber, we're getting ready to go, so let's not get distracted.""

I'm sorry but that really made me laugh! I can just picture it.

I can see how that would be annoying, but I've seen it before with only children. Poor kid, it sounds like he needs to be around kids his own age more - but the more he acts like an adult the harder it will be for him, I think.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

--" "Now miss Amber, we're getting ready to go, so let's not get distracted."--

LOL. That is likely exactly what the people (not you and BF) say to HIM while they take him shopping. In fact, I've heard my DH say just about that to me. It's like 'JMT, we're almost out the door, don't look back now'! He hates to shop and hates when he does go that I decide to run back and look at something again. It's like 'd*mn, and we were so close to leaving'.

Annoying as it is, perhaps try not taking what he says quite so personally. Nope, you are not a dummy, can shop just fine, raise your daughters without ss's assistance. Yep, daughter can ask Mom if she needs help with shoes and she can turn off tv (or you can) wihtout his aid. I would bet someone reaching over and shutting off tv when he's suppose to be doing something else but is distracted is exactly how he's learned from others that that is what is suppose to be done. In an odd way, he's doing what he's been taught and spreading his acknowledge of 'lesson' around.

Seems like he actually is learning his lessons well, but problem is he's using his 'lessons' on you/daughter... you feel like he is the adult and you are the child he must teach. He needs to learn how to relax a bit. Yep, Amber is a big girl now, she can handle it, but uh, thanks for trying to 'help' me? Part of the problem perhaps might be that he does not realize what he is doing is wrong. And BF might not realize how a child talking to you like he's the adult affects other people. The child has always done it, is encouraged be a mini adult by other people. Afterall, it is likely what is said/done with the other people in his life...so he really might not see what he did wrong that provoked 'don't talk to her that way'. What way/ What I do wrong? The mimi adult is having trouble realizing he can be a kid at your house and the house already contains enough capable responsible adults. One too many and it tends to crimp all.

MHO thinks perhaps tuning out part of what he says/does and not taking it so personally might release some of the stress between SS and you. But that is easier said than done. You don't have to compete with a child on how to be the mommy...the only competing is a little boy trying to be 'helpful' and displaying lessons he's been taught. Maybe Bf can talk to him about it in a way that tells the child that it is ok to be a child. Everybody is different, no one is perfect and we all need to let others do things their way, even if sometimes we think their way is not correct or that it could be done in another way...unless we're doing a puzzle there are usually more than one way to do things. We need to realize that people are individuals and no one does things exactly the same.

As far as telling BF, I think this about covers it -- " I work full time, I go to school two nights a week. I also deal with the fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia. Most days it's not so bad but sometimes I just don't have a ton of energy. Also, I am just finding out that my eldest daughter might be autistic, so I'm working on trying to get her help for that. I don't feel like taking on a third child, one that I did not raise, who will not always listen to me and whom I can not properly discipline"-- it does not get any more honest than that. Lady, you have enough going on in your life right now, playing Mommy to a mini adult who questions your every move/word just is more than you need or can handle. Nothing against the kid, you'd just rather focus on being mommy to your own kids right now just as BF needs to focus on being parent to his son through the adjustment of having son fulltime now. Yourself and your daughters must be the first priority. Not that you and BF can't still enjoy each other's company, a movie, a dinner out, some adult companionship...but being Mom to the two you already have is all you can deal with for now. Actually BF can either understand that or he can move on and find someone that fits what BF thinks his needs are.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

LOL - mini adult, that's exactly right! I'm sure it was cute when BF's son was about 4 or 5, now that he's 8 (and getting big) it's not cute anymore.

JMT - "it does not get any more honest than that. Lady, you have enough going on in your life right now, playing Mommy to a mini adult who questions your every move/word just is more than you need or can handle."

I teared up a little bit when I read what you wrote. We all have stuff going on in our lives, I just didn't realize how much I had going on. I know BF will say that my own D6 is bossy too, but the difference is I can spank my daughter, I can't spank his, nor do I want to.

"you and BF can't still enjoy each other's company, a movie, a dinner out, some adult companionship"
I'm going to tell BF that is what I want, some adult companionship, but no kids, or just my kids, or just his kid, but not together.
If he can't accept that, or try to say that I don't accept his son the way he is, I can't let that be my problem.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

I know it only addresses the one symptom -- but why not teach your daughter how to handle it?

SHE is the one who doesn't like it when BF's S bosses her around. Why not teach her how to stand up for herself and tell him to stop bossing her around. Or that she doesn't want to play with him when he's being bossy. It sounds like she's doing most of that already -- but also running to you/tattling.

When she runs to you to handle a minor issue, why not turn it back on her and ask "What do you think you should do about that? OK -- Go do that." Or if it's after the fact, "It sounds like you handled that pretty well then" or "Can you think of a way you might have handled that better?"


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

Sweeby this is great advice. My Dd went to therapy for dad/Sm issues and that is what they taught her. How to deal without needing me to buffer for her. All kids need to learn to handle their own problems At some point and this is a great time for her to Learn.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

Sweeby, thanks for the tip. I do agree D6 should learn how to handle these kinds of situations on her own. But that will only resolve one small part of the issue, really the issue is with BF, not his son.

I was looking back at some stuff I've written about BF on this forum and another one I frequently visit and noticed something.

"Last night the kids were in the living room watching TV while BF and I were in the bedroom talking. BF's son kept coming and telling us that my daughter was talking while they were trying to watch TV. She likes to repeat what she hears on the TV. I told my daughter to stop. Everything was fine for a while, then I hear my daughter crying. BF's son came and said that she repeated something again and my daughter was crying because she was afraid she was going to get in trouble. I made her go to her room.

Later that night after my daughter calmed down, she told me that BF's son was repeating things on the TV too. She said she only did it because BF's son had started to do it too. I called and told BF this. He got real defensive again, and said his son ONLY DID IT ONE TIME and my daughter was the one that does it all the time."

Another time I wrote:

"The most recent argument we had was when he told me his ex yelled at his on the phone and made his son cry for 10-15 minutes. I got mad about this. I told him he always gets on me for letting my daughter cry but it's okay for his son to cry? Not only this, but my daughter is only five years old, his son is eight and a boy. BF said this was an ISOLATED INCIDENT and it was because his mom was yelling at him."

I noticed each time BF says "well, it was just one time" or something similar. Seems he makes excuses for what his son does.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

Maybe he does make excuses some, but it may simply be what HIS son does BF is use to (does not mind, tunes it out, whatever) but what YOUR daughter does (no matter if his kid does it too or even at same time) drives him nuts. Lots of tolerance for his own kid, none for somebody else's children. Kids are not robots, they can't behave every second of every day. YOU acknowledge your kids aren't perfect...he seems not to be as clued into his own child's behavior and overlooks either what he has grown use to or what he really does not view as a problem with HIS OWN (just yours or somebody elses). When the children are put together, you end up with one kid held to a higher standard than the other kid.

Ever been to a store and had some parents with what seems like surely must need a parade permit to have been allowed entrance? Kids picking on each other, one screaming, one sampling the grapes and/or squeezing all the tomatoes, another dashing around in front of your cart...mom totally oblivious to the chaos around her? Just try politely asking the little demon child to 'please, honey, I'd hate to accidently run right over you, could you stay by your mother'. Then watch mama come at you with badbun attitude and dirty looks about how dare you speak to her kid.

yeah, it's about right then that I've been tempted to take my cart and ram it right into that mama. LOL. You can't really blame the kid when he's taught the behave is ok or that his parent/s could careless (or does not want to deal with and therefore fails to acknowledge the behvior is happening).

We don't all parent alike. We don't all like to acknowledge our own kids have a slight fault or two of their own.

It really does not sound like any of the children are bad kids or that either of you (BF or you) or terrible parents, just maybe the two of you are not quite suited to parent together in one household (or on babysitting days). Only you can know this. I admire your ability to take things slow and examine, think everything over carefully. A true effort to weigh everything and consider all 'sides' and in the longer term too...so many people just race right in and then suddenly wonder what went wrong or never stopped to think about how it might affect each member not only the adults.


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RE: Taking the Kids Out of It?

LOL - I know what you mean about the "demon child". Drives me nuts! I do agree that it seems BF and I just have different ideas when it comes to parenting, doesn't mean I'm right or he's wrong, we're just different.

Thanks to you, JMT, Mattie, Sweeby, Myfampg and anyone else I missed for ALL your advice. I really, really appreciate it and have taken it all to heart.

I've thought about it what to say to BF and I'm thinking I don't need to make a big production out of this. Just the next time BF asks me to babysit I will do as suggested and say the kids fight too much and I'm too busy to referee, and leave it at that. I could even say it's my D6 that's the problem. :)


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