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4yr old manipulation or attention? - New stepdad HELP!!!!
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And_0 posted:
I have been seeing my girlfriend now for several months and we just clicked - we get on like a house on fire and fell deeply in love with each other and decided to bind our relationship tighter by moving in together. She's a childminder and looks after several children as well as having 2x girls of her own to a previous relationship (19months and 4 yrs old) and I have two girls who are 11 and 13 - who live with their Mum. (so I've been a dad before! )

Whilst I have parented my own children clearly.....becoming a step-dad to two young girls has presented some challenges. But I'm struggling....I'm really beginning to struggle with some of the things that are beginning to tear me and my girlfriend apart.

The words "no" and "stop" are words that the 2x young girls, don't like, don't want to hear, and neither does Mum or the girls grandparents. It's as if the kids have parents and grand parents wrapped around their little fingers.

If the 4 yr old wants something, she will shout from the next room, or even if Mum is outside, for Mum to come running to her for attention. The causes can be (the lid of a felt tip pen won't come off - or the wrong channel is on the TV). Yet each time the 4 yr old calls, Mum comes running (even if me and mum are in mid conversation)

I have tried explaining to the 4 yr old that its OK to come and find Mum and explain what's up - but I get that look of "who are you - telling me what to do expression". The new trick is to completely ignore me..... It's just as if I don't exist. When I point this out to Mum, I get a sheepish 4 yr old mumbling sorry - only for the very same to happen the day after. I sometimes feel utterly invisible.

However there seems one point where Mum and I cant agree on - and that's the 4 yr old coming into the bedroom.

3, 4, 5 times a night the bedroom door would open and it's the toilet, or I want a drink, or the bed covers are in the wrong place....anything, time after time after time....

I jokingly said to Mum - "right - I'm getting a door stopper - this can't continue"

The trouble is when I say "bed" I just get stared at....I can say it 5x times sometimes and it will have utterly no effect. I've tried saying it nicely - strongly and almost shouting (as I sleep the nearest side to the bed) but it has little effect.

Mum replied - no your not, they have always been able to come in my room and that's how it will be.

However - as things progress - so does the upset.

The other evening I was fast asleep, only to wake in complete shock and horror as the 4 year old had entered our bedroom and put her nose literally on mine to see if I was asleep - hoping that she might sneak past undetected. This morning she was crawling on her hands and knees to try and get past. It's almost as if if she can get past me and to Mum's side of the bed she knows Mum wont send her back to her bed.

Within our room we have a TV - and I'm not adverse to the girls coming in the room and spending sometime with Mum. However - when a 4 yr old tells me to "get out of the way of the TV" as she can't see when I'm getting dressed - I think to myself - who's in charge here?

There are other times I have had to take my clothes and get dressed in another room as being half naked and trying to get ready in front of the kids is what i would deem "inappropriate"

Unfortunately - All this has come to a head, and even when i have tried to explain to Mum my feelings and being ordered out of the way of the TV in my own room, I'm classed as being "too strict" or "barking orders" at her kids.

I dearly love my girlfriend, but her boundaries are virtually non existent.....and in the belief she doesn't spend enough time with her children, she lets them (in my opinion) rule the roost.

I just see everything the 4 yr old does now as a boundary push, every time......and the 19 month old is starting down the same track.

I feel "UN-heard", I'm viewed as being over critical and my feelings are not valid.

Has anyone been through the same?
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miob responded:
I, personally, don't agree with the parenting you've outlined. But that being said, I also don't think you're going to change her. When 2 parents aren't on the same page, it's bad enough. DH and I don't always agree, but we've found ways to communicate and coparent so that in the end, we're both pretty satisfied. However, we started this journey 11 years ago and had a firm understanding of each other, our personalities and our views on parenting to get to where we are now. You've had a few months. You can talk to her but it sounds like you just have very different views on parenting. It happens. Not everyone has the same philosophies. You need to decide if you can live with how she parents or you can't. Because in my experience, you aren't going to change it.


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I am a stay at home mom of two boys, Travis (4-19-05) and Skyler (12-15-06). I've known my DH Joel since 11-23-01 and were married 5-19-05.

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