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I know that I'm unreasonable hence my asking for advice... does a relationship have any future when parenting styles differ, particularly when they are not applied consistently to both children?

(27 Posts)
OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 00:17:04

Ok, I'm not a step mum but I thought that nobody could help me sort this out in a better way than a step parent who has practical experience in dealing with this.

I'm a single mum with a 6 year old boy, and my boyfriend has a 3 year old boy.

My boyfriend did have some non very realistic expectations for the behaviour of a 6 year old, but we have talked through things, he has got to spend more time with DS and the relationship between them is improving all the time. So all that very good...

However... I am finding it very difficult to do the same with his son. I'm ashamed of it, and really want to improve things but I really don't know how to do it.

I don't think his son dislikes me, quite the opposite but... well I suppose his dad spends such a little time with him that he doesn't want to ruin it and he allows the little soul to do as he pleases. As a result, a simple disagreement may and usually result in a full blown tantrum. The child is whinging all day long, we have to obey his every whim and we spend the day walking over eggshells to avoid upsetting him.

I have to say that although I try and try I'm starting to wonder if we have any future together. I don't think the child is the problem, obviously being 3 years old he doesn't even know what he wants so having him ruling the day is a bit frustrating. Sometimes the behaviour is so unacceptable I feel like saying "I think that you should stop that, and please don't give up when the tantrum starts" but well, it is not easy, is it?

So... if you had something similar, how did you manage?

alypaly Fri 31-Jul-09 00:22:48

if you do have differences ,dont air them in front of his son. Have your differences away from him otherwise you will have a very confused child. Come to a compromise ,but dont say different things in front of him otherwise it may mess his head up and eventually he not repect either of you.
i know compromise is difficult if u have such diffeing views but as he is only 3 try to simplify his view so that it doesnt appear as if you 2 are rowing...
hope that helps.
c it from the childs perspective and not yours

hmc Fri 31-Jul-09 00:25:27

But surely 3 year old children do whinge all days - especially 3 year old boys (mine did at that age)???

Yes of course the relationship has a future, but you do need to discuss things properly

alypaly Fri 31-Jul-09 00:30:32

consistency is what children definitely needsmile

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 00:46:16

Alypaly, we wouldn't discuss these things in front of the children. That would not be good. We had some conversations about it and we had agreed on things that we would do to improve the behaviour of the children. I have kept to my word but I could see poor boyfriend struggling with things. At the moment, I just pretend not to notice the behaviour and let him deal with the problem, but I'm still walking on eggshells when the child is around and I don't think that is completely fair.

hmc, I have also had a whinging 3 years old, but believe me, the whingeing in this case is in a major league. He seems ready to start crying most of the time, examples of things he is allowed to do include:

-Not allowing anyone to walk in front of him otherwise tantrum begins.
-If we are going out, the child decides where to. That includes restaurant, parks, museums or what. If he is not happy with his own selection on arrival we have to go to other place.
-When he is with his dad he is in a diet of biscuits, crisps, sweets and buns as he refuses to eat anything different, as a result with so much sugar he is a bit highly strung.
-He asks you to cut his food and then throws the food at you or refuses to eat it because he has changed his mind and no longer wants to eat it.
-He has even had a tantrum which included throwing his lunch to his father and scratching his father face because his father asked, just asked, him to eat a sandwich before the sweets.

I don't think the child is the problem, but his dad who is a bit self-conscious and would do anything to avoid upsetting him. The child has noticed he is in charge.

mrsjammi Fri 31-Jul-09 00:51:42

Message withdrawn

alypaly Fri 31-Jul-09 01:00:32

OrangeFish
definitely not fair...u shudnt hav 2 walk on eggshells around a 3 year old. Just cos your partner doesnt c him alot doesnt mean he shud always get his own way....who is the boss here.....is he 3 or 33.

he sounds a bit of a brat if u dont mind me saying....maybe the bad diet shud be looked at instead of comfort foods.

Orangefish...it is easy just stand up to the boy and his dad...otherwise your life is going to be mapped out by a three year old and your partner should have more respect 4 you. Sorry to be harsh but let the little divil know who is in charge

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 01:04:30

Mrsjammi, the problem is also the different standards. ie. DS is a little owl and although he goes to bed at 7:30 sometimes he is quietly wandering in his own bedroom until 9. He wakes up on his own around 8 am. Boyfriend thinks this is totally unacceptable.

His child goes to bed at 7.00 and falls sleep straight away, then wakes up screaming at midnight, and again a couple of hours later. Boyfriend tries to reason with him or do whatever to stop him crying (even taking him for a drive at midnight to avoid waking up the neighbours if he is too noisy). Then he is fresh to start the day at 5:00 when his very sleep deprived father goes out of bed too to keep him busy and out of mischief. By 10 both are knackered and cranky. Boyfriend thinks this is totally acceptable.

mrsjammi Fri 31-Jul-09 01:09:51

Message withdrawn

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 01:10:42

Alypaly, I'm starting to wonder if I'm walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting the father... the truth is that if for some reason the child is left with me for a short spell of time, he is fine. hmm food for thought...

alypaly Fri 31-Jul-09 01:16:09

Yes i think you have hit the nail on the head becos he might think that u are questioning his parenting skills.

BTW do u not sleep either??

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 01:16:31

MrsJammi, we have talked about it. I have to say that he is a very good man.

He thinks that he needs to work on that but that is a process that will take time. I agree with that, but we also differ on the time frames: He thinks it will take some months or years to improve his childs behaviour while I think that with plenty of consistency a lot can be achieved in a few weeks.

mrsjammi Fri 31-Jul-09 01:19:41

Message withdrawn

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 01:24:50

Considering I'm posting here at this time, I would say that regardless of the child... I don't blush. However I don't welcome the 5 am start. The curious thing is for some reason I have become a bit protective of his dad.

ie. the other day, the child decided to go to a restaurant where his dad could not eat due to allergies. I was very angry that he had to go without food just to keep the peace with the child, even when I know he put himself in that situation...

This thread is making me think about things beyond the "how I discuss that progress on the subject has not being satisfactory enough?"

alypaly Fri 31-Jul-09 01:27:55

i reckon your partner is making you look as if u r in the wrong in the eyes of his son. He will have no respect 4 u as he grows older and to be honest he will bully you into getting his own way.. Please stand up to them both

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 01:30:58

Ah, but that's the thing MrsJammi, I have not been handed the reins yet.

We had one occassion when the child started a tantrum in a park because he wanted to go to the left and we wanted to go to the right. I asked him to let him cry and not give up and that he would get to know that crying will not get him what he wanted. The tantrum lasted for more than 20 minutes, and included kicking and scratching his father, and scratching his face again. Boyfriend was distraught at seeing the child so upset. He has not tried it ever again. And obviously, since then I have kept my mouth shut, someway I felt as if by suggesting that I had done something wrong.

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 01:33:48

I know Alypaly, hence why I wonder if we have a future. angry

alypaly Fri 31-Jul-09 01:35:04

u hav done nothing wrong, dont wait to be given the reins, take them,otherwise this child and your partner will run your life 4 u. You cant tread on eggshells like this...its not a life its an existence

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 01:45:33

Thanks for your advice, I'm logging off now as I have an early start tomorrow. Good night

alypaly Fri 31-Jul-09 01:47:57

night night

DollyPS Fri 31-Jul-09 02:08:33

May I offer this

http://www.steptogether.org/disengaging.html

You'll have to copy and paste it I'm afaird but it gives you an insight of it all.

His child not yours and he the father must step up to the plate in regards to that. You find if you ask why he does it. It'll be guilt of leaving his child and them over compasanting when he is with him not a good mix at all.

You do your thing with your lad and let him get on with his.

hope it helps you it did me and I had my step kids from the word go but my partner at the time wouldnt take anything to do with them till I disengaged and he had to do it all. he always had other women to do it for him like his mother or aunts. Never was he left to do it himself.

He didnt like it but it opened his bloody eyes thats for sure and realized his kids where little shits to mine and he was letting them away with it.

when I begun the disengaging my kids where taken out not his and they thought this unfair but I had to explain their father hadnt asked me to take them as well and for at least 2 weeks he did this. Men and their huffs well I didnt back done and he then read it for himself.

It is a long hard slog though but if willing to work through it. it can work for yous. It did me and my partner as we came through it in the end.

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 12:06:57

Thank you, off to have a look

prettyfly1 Fri 31-Jul-09 12:11:03

gosh that is quite interesting - difficult to do but could see how it could work

OrangeFish Fri 31-Jul-09 12:25:22

hmm, will definitively put it in practice if things get worse.

grumblinalong Fri 31-Jul-09 12:38:40

I'm not a step parent but DP started step parenting my DS1 when he was 2. It took a while for me to get used to but I realised (mostly when DS2 came along) that I have to let DP take an equal role when disciplining DS1. Otherwise I am creating a rod for my own back when it comes to his teens as DS1 may well play us off against each other if there is no united front - teens are great at doing this with their parents anyway but bring a step parent into the equation and it could make it all the more fraught.

Orange fish, your DP needs to think ahead - his DS is displaying clear attention seeking behaviour and his controlling the situation also shows he is probably as confused and insecure about this new family set up as you are. As for your DS getting up at 8am - that's a lie in for my 6 year old! Its NOT totally unacceptable at all and you are right to point this out to your DP.

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