Looking for Help, advice and somewhere to rant!(29 Posts)
I have been with my partner for less than a year. He has 4 kids which I have met and have trully spent some amazing time with. The second youngest has recently been diagnosed on the autism spectrum and the 2 eldest are not his biologically.
The children have a serious lack of respect for both their father and me, and very quickly small niggles between then escalate to epic arguments/fights. Recently the kids have been visiting at my house where I have enjoyed making them a roast dinner and spending quality time together.
I feel that the children have a huge discipline problem, and that ever since I have met them I have refused to take the attitude and nonsense that comes with it. I feel that if i let them behave in that manner around me then I am condoning their behaviour, so I have tried to be strong. I also feel that my will needs to be stronger than theirs and I cant let them see how much their behaviour upsets me as it will create that chink that they will then expose.
Their dad feels he needs to compensate for not being there and I totally get that however I feel that discpline never goes wrong. My view is that time spent is worth a million ipads/phones/games consoles and that the kids may not see that or appreciate it now but when they look back it they will realise and value what they had.
We had the kids today and it was truly awful. We were at my house and sat the four of them on the sofa and pretty much read the riot act. I am not proud of how I behaved but the behaviour had gotten so awful i snapped.
I beleive that it is important to let a child have their voice and build a relationship on communication however i reached my limit.
I dont have any children of my own so woudl appreciate any advice or tips or comments on how to make things better. At the minute i really dont feel I could cope with seeing the kids again much less have them in my home
Sit down with them and set the ground rules with them. Don't have too many rules but ensure they are stuck to. Try and word them positively eg 'we talk to each other with respect' rather than 'don't back chat'. Write these rules down if needs be. Let the children give their opinions on the rules and be prepared to compromise a bit on some areas ( this will show you are listening) but stand firm on things you feel strongly about. Decided what your consequences of breaking those rules are, discuss them with the children and make sure everyone thinks they are fair. This way they will be clear on what the boundaries are.
Use lots of praise for good behaviours, even simple things eg 'thank you for asking so politely'. Try and praise lots more than reprimanding, it is less tiring.
Spend time with the children doing nice things - doesn't have to cost lots of money eg bake together, play a board game, read stories, watch a film together. This will help build that relationship.
You and your do need to work together as a team. If you work against each other you won't have the children's respect.
"discipline never goes wrong"?? Really?
My beaten teenage self may not agree with you but my violent father might.
I think your post is off beam. These are not your kids to discipline. Set the standards together and get dp to enforce them. If you stay with this chap you are going to have incredibly trying times ahead, you're going to need to learn to just accept some behaviour you'd rather not, especially with four of them.
It might be worth you finding a good patenting or step parenting guide and reading that.
Not your place to discipline at this stage. I would stop the visits to your house and concentrate on your relationship as at less than a year it is still "young".
At the moment you have no real role in their life and are simply dads girlfriend. Stop trying to parent them that is their fathers job.
If my boyfriend of less than a year decided he had a major role in disciplining my children and took it upon himself to sit my kids down and "read them the riot act" he'd be out on his ear.
Was your boyfriend there when you did this?
You've no kids of your own either? Then you're clueless. Butt out.
So much that's wrong. Almost every word. You probably won't see it though. But, you've got a nerve interfering at this stage. Just date the guy when he doesn't have his children around. And date other people too. In fact, just find yourself a boyfriend without children. Much easier for everyone.
I disagree with PP. If you don't love together but he's bringing the DCs round to your house for his contact time, then you absolutely have a right to enforce good behaviour in your house.
Your house, your rules. Isn't that the saying on here. It's lot different to if he was a friend rather than a boyfriend and he brought his kids round to run riot in your house.
If your parenting styles differ this much (it sounds like he's too guilt ridden to parent effectively) then be very wary of progressing the relationship. That way madness lies.
I agree that disciplining should come from dad - especially if your so early in to the relationship. But I do think you should sit down with their dad and come up with ground rules and what is and isn't acceptable in your house. He then needs to relay that to them himself.
If later on they can't accept rules you've set together then your perfectly within your rights to say that you don't want visits to continue in your home because of the lack of respect and that it may be best he do the visits at his own place.
You need to take a step back from trying to parent them - leave that up to dad. If they misbehave, detach yourself and let him sort it out. Concentrate more on getting to know them and building on that foundation towards a relationship with them.
You've been with him less than a year? You shouldn't be disciplining his children. Let him get on with that. You are their dad's girlfriend and that is all at the moment.
Oh ffs so many typos in that post.
Love = live
Lot = not
If his DCs can't behave in your house, then don't invite them back!
It is up to your DP to ensure his DCs meet the expectations of others when they go visiting. If he won't, or can't, then he shouldn't take them.
It's just like going to the cinema, or restaurant - if he let his kids run riot, go into the restaurant kitchen or stand on the tables, he'd be asked to manage their behaviour or leave.
The same thing applies to your home - you can place expectations on his DCs behaviour (no jumping on the furniture, pulling the dogs tail, bouncing balls in the house) and it's up to him to ensure that they know what is expected, understand how to behave and do their best to comply.
Sounds like Daddy is leaving you to be the bad guy in your home - which doesn't bode well for your relationship. If he's unwilling to discipline for whatever reason, then his DCs will always call the shots.
I agree, discipline is essential, but unfortunately, much better tolerated coming from the kids' own parents. What discipline is their dad giving them?
It sounds yet another case of dad using the excuse of not seeing his kids regularly to take the lazy approach to discipline because let's face it, disciplining kids is exhausting, and then is too happy to let new partner pick up the dirty role for him. When the kids will turn against you because after all 'you are not their mum', and they will start crying to him that you are horrible, he will turn around and blame you for being a witch to his kids.
Step away from disciplining and let their father does his job. If he can't be bothered, then re-assess whether he really is your soulmate.
Thank you everyone for taking time to give me some feedback, definitely a lot to think about. The contact time isnt at my house but the pit stop for food is here if we have been out in my area. I don't feel I parent the children or correct their behaviour generally speaking, however in my home I think I have the right to do that or if the the attitude or comments are directly spoken to me.
I am mindful of manners and politeness around the children and I love talking to them, letting them share with me rather than me asking lots of questions. We've also had a couple of games nights at dads home which was my idea and quite often the request to play games is made.
The rules are something that dad and I have spoken about and try to enforce but I think that dad has one rule and mum another and the kids are caught in the middle. I know this isnt easy but I'm willing to put the effort and work in.
Can anyone suggest any good guides or books?
Melonfool - by discipline I don't mean punishing in a violent agressive way, but rules and boundaries to work within.
NickiFury - thank you, however I am unable to have children myself and as I lack that personal experience that is one of reasons I was seeking some support and guidance on here.
Sorry to hear that. You've had some good advice here so hopefully it will help.
I'm a bit late to the thread - I know a year isn't a huge time in a child's life to build a relationship. And that takes time.
However, I'm not sure it's great for anyone if rude behaviour ever just carries on while you are both there - e.g. if you take them out for food and no one thanks you - and if DP isn't on top of it - then why not OP? The other choice of bottling it up doens't work.
Obviously better if rude behavour wasn't there in first place, if DP copped on and dealt with it - but often that isn't the case. I think kids can get that different places have different rules - might be better being clear from the off.
It's different from jumping in and taking over or being very over the top about it - I wouldn't interfere with rules DP has about computer use/dress sense - that kind of thing. But in the same way a child has a new teacher at school with norms of how to behave, they quickly realise what the limits are. It's not about reading the riot act - just being clear about a few simple things.
Don't agree with those who say just see him without them. If you think the relationship has legs then you need to be building a relationship with the children.
He should be doing the majority of the 'discipline' (perhaps the term 'behaviour management' or 'maintaining boundaries' might offend less people) but that doesn't mean you can't say state what you expect in your own home. Your role could be gently reminding them of rules or praising up and leave the heavy stuff to him. But if the relationship does become long term and you are sometimes left in charge, then you can't leave all the behaviour management to him, they need to know you are both on the same page.
What's a year got to do with it? If kids are behaving bad then it need to be dealt with by an adult! I'm sure teachers don't wait a year. And it's the OP's house! I'd say they are welcome round but rule are to be followed. Year or not.
Also, don't worry about difference rules in different houses, kids deal with that better than you think (although they'll try to play on it). My dsc know rules here are different to mums/nans/school so just focus on yours and your dp's expectations
whats a year got to do with it
It isn't a very long time especially when you are disciplining somebody else children. The OP isn't a family member the children know well she is dads girlfriend. I agree she is entitled to good behaviour in her home but it is the fathers job to inform and chastise his children not hers. I would hit the roof if some women started reading the riot act to my children when she barely knows them.
Treading carefully at this stage works better in the long run when it comes to SDC and the OP not only needs the father to enforce boundaries in her home but she needs to be aware of the boundaries when it comes to other people's children.
Dad needs to step up, if kids were misbehaving in my home whilst I'm cooking for them I'd have no problem pulling them up on it. I don't think the OP had much choice seeming as dad didn't
She does have a choice, tell dad to step up and parent or end the relationship. If dads parenting is crap now it will not be any better later in the relationship which makes SM life a lot harder. How many threads do we read in here where the SM is not respected in her own home, where the Disney dads do nothing and the kids run riot and where the SM says she wishes she had run for the hills before the relationship got serious?
Of course it is ideal for DP to stamp on rude behaviour but realistically I think a lot of them feel even more guilty introducing a new girlfriend - no harm in pulling up bad behaviour and often better a short snappy 'hey where's a thank you' etc rather than building up resentment and expecting a lecture from Dad to sort.
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