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My boyfriend's lack of parenting skills is driving us apart!

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (8 May 2008) 1 Answers - (Newest, 8 May 2008)
A female United States age 41-50, *hippy2 writes:

My bf's lack of parenting skills is driving us apart! I talked to him about some other issues we were having - and that went well but yesterday again his kids were there at his house ( they are there 2 days a week and every other weekend)

I had gone for groceries and he cut my grass - When I got back I asked that he and the kids help me unload the car - (They were his groceries and he paid and the girls helped make the list) They had just gotten home from school and didnt want to. He made the older one help and she did quietly and the other just ignored the request after multiple asking - He said she must be tired and pissy from a day at school - WHAT?

So, they complained about what I made for dinner and that I had hid the snacks, didnt thank me for getting the things and didnt help with anything! Just sat and watched TV and the computer from 3pm till 6:45pm -

It was a lovely day and he and I were doing yardwork and such - They coulda been helping at their level or at least been outside!

This is not my house I have my own and my own kids - I am so fed up with him not setting limits and not encouraging them to be part of the team -

He picks up for them gives them money etc and they just take and take and take - they are 10 and 12.

When he and I finally got to sit down - the little one had left chewed gum about and had found and eaten the chips in the NEWly remodeled Living Room! Then left the bag of chips open! She spilled blue drink in the computer room too - She knows she is not to have food in either place - But he said nothing to her - I mentioned it but she ignored me -

I said something to him after they were gone and he pretty much ignored me except to say they had a long day the day before and he told them they could relax and watch tv - Oh and he always says "but they are my little girls!" I told him that may be so that they were tired but they should at least have enough thought to do what they are expected and they are not so little and they need to know they are capable of doing things on their own and feel good about it.

Help - They will be there this weekend and he gets sad and pissy if I am not there - I like spending time with him and they are not BAD they are just dont have any respect or consideration - and he seems unwilling to instruct them -

He also lets them watch whatever on TV all hours of nite - he just got new cable and now there will be adult shows on too! Both his ex-wife and i agree that channels should be blocked and a timer put on the tv's in house - but neither of us live there - so really not our place to do so is it?

I am exhausted - I have left the home before when he wouldnt correct them - and I am afraid If I make it that way - they the girls will act out even more to keep me away - although they adore me they dont want to do anything for themselves!

What can I do?

View related questions: ex-wife, his ex, money

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (8 May 2008):

Tisha-1 agony auntHi, Chippy, I see you're still with your boyfriend. I had rather thought that you'd have taken your phone and lawn mower back by now and taken a break from the relationship, but I guess you're working things out with him. I hope it works out.

Anyway, back to your question. It sounds like you've cast yourself in the role of stepmother to the girls, and that they are actually outsmarting you! You've put yourself into the role of disciplinarian or at least suggesting what should happen to them to him. I admit, his parenting style sounds rather loose and perhaps not strict enough, but since he has you around to be the bad guy (aka wicked stepmonster), he doesn't need to do that. If you stop filling in this void that you perceive in his parenting, he's going to have to deal with it himself.

My suggestion is this, you let him deal with the discipline, and you forge your own bond with the girls. This is going to take a little bit of work on your part, as you are going to have to turn a blind eye to some of the things that drive you crazy. Like the chips and soda. Completely ignore it, and let him clean it up if they don't. Don't react, don't make any sign that you've even seen it. I don't care if you personally installed the carpet, and I'm pretty sure you did the painting in the house. You said it's not your house, so stop being the maid. Next time they say they don't like the dinner, say brightly with a smile on your face, "Oh, well, next time you can pick the menu and help prepare it!" Or just get takeout pizza. And smile, smile, smile.

Return any negativity from them with a placid, calm, serene demeanor. Do not rise to their bait! They win if you do, and it sounds like they're winning to me. Confound them by ignoring their 'bad' behavior, and reward them for their help with a bright sunny attitude. I expect they will escalate the bad behavior and try to get your goat, when they see that they're not driving you away. Don't let them bother you in the slightest. If they do finally get to you, just laugh and smile condescendingly, and say, 'Oh, you tweens are soooo funny when you try to behave like grown ups,' or something that reminds them that they are 10 and 12.

Back to you, where are your children when you're at his house? Are you spending time with them too?

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