Pretty much I just need to vent, but I am also wondering if anyone else is going through the same thing:
I am not with my almost-2-year-old son's biological father because he was not a very good person.. well about a year after I ended things with my son's dad, i met someone, and we are now in a relationship and living together, and my boyfriend has never had any experience with kids before me, but does a decent job of parenting still. Well, today he started moving my favorite books down to the bottom shelf of our bookshelf and I told him i didn't want them down that low so my son couldn't get to them. Instead of saying OK, he said Tell him NO when he tries to get them! (with a lot of attitude mind you), and I said that it doesn't always work, he's not even 2 yet, he doesn't always listen to me (and i dont want to take the chance of him ripping a page out or something before I can get to him to take it away from him), so my boyfriend says (again with a lot of attitude) that my son ALWAYS listens to HIM when HE says No.. (which I know is not true, and he said it just to make me mad!) So of course I got mad and said Okay I get it, you're a better parent to my child than I am, and he threw a fit and ran upstairs..
WELL, I was wondering if anyone else goes through the same thing with a non-biological parent thinking they know more about parenting than you do when they have never been around kids up until being around your kid(s), and how you deal with it?? This fight was not the first time that he has acted as if he knew more about parenting than I do, and It really bothers me that he acts that way. Any advice?
Doesn't your boyfriend pretty much have as much parenting experience as you? I mean, you're son's only a year old. You already know your boyfriend well enough to live with him, and presumably you knew him for a while before you moved in with him.
^^^ is right AND so are you. Your son is almost 2 - Even if you guys have only been living together a year or about that, that's half of your son's life. HOWEVER - Both of you are right.
If the child was 4 - he would have a better ability to understand action/consequence. At this stage of his life, however, he's still learning what words mean - and isn't quite able to grasp the larger consequence process. It's why they call the terrible twos just that. At less than 24 mos old - he's learning to master basic human function. Refining that takes the rest of his life. :)
As an avid reader, I totally get why you want to move the books out of reach of your kids. As a Mom - I know about childproofing. As a former step-mom and now a woman living with a SO and my two kids - I see his point of view as well. Your boy does need to start learning about boundaries. Instead of a hard adn fast line about the books, if your SO needs some space on the bookshelf or whatever - move HALF of the books down there. The less important ones. Otherwise, moving them down there isn't a bad thing - it just means you'll have to stay on top of watching him when he's around them.
As a pseudo-step-father, he's entitled to his opinion. sometimes he'll be on the mark and you'll agree with him. Sometimes his aim is going to be, erm...a little off. Also - you'll have to learn not to feel defensive when he questions YOUR opinion. If the BioDad were still in the picture - he would do this too. It's part of co-parenting and keeps all of us in check and questioning whether or not we're doing the right thing. It's hard though, I get annoyed with my SO when he has an idea that isn't mine and I feel like my idea is better adn has been working.
But you live together. The bigger issue is to figure out why the books need to be moved and why he wouldn't talk to you about it first, why he had an attitude, and then talk about it. Maybe he's annoyed, maybe he thinks you don't provide enough boundaries, maybe he was having a bad day - heck - maybe he's a jerk. I don't know him.
So yes, my SO does this and I have to stop and take a deep breath sometimes and ask him why do you need to do this, change this, have this? And then I tell him this is why I DON'T want to do this/change this/have this. We communicate most days well. When he feels like I'm listening and giving his opinion the proper respect, and I feel the same way - we can come to a comprimise.
I think you guys could try to communicate and come to an agreement without getting into the whole "it's not your kid, you don't get a vote" thing. that's just ....icky. If this guy is manning up and acting like a daddy to your child, then work out stuff like he is daddy. Discounting everything says because it wasn't his sperm is just hard on the relationship.
Lots and lots of parents disagree on how much to "teach" a toddler and how much to babyproof. That's a normal thing to disagree about and doesn't have a thing to do with biology.
but everything has pros and cons
My dh and I had the same argument with our first child and dh's model car collection, so it isn't necessarily a bio/step parent issue, just a parenting issue...several of dh's model cars were broken and/or packages ripped--and ds was diagnosed with ADHD (severe) a few years later.
I think that if something is emotionally/financially valuable, potentially dangerous, or you just don't want it handled by a small child, put it away for awhile because you won't be able to be near every valuable thing every moment your child is awake (particularly with a really open floorplan)--dh was waaaayyyy at the other end of that spectrum. By the time our second was born, dh had moved more in my direction, and this child was actually redirectable.
I agree with the previous posters (not trying to be unsupportive, OP), but I find disagreements of this type to be part and parcel of two people (whether originating parents or not) raising a child, especially if it is the first experience for both. Sometimes I've gotten boiling mad at DH over issues that I thought were pretty straight forward, although his approach was not necessarily wrong. I agree with the PP above who mentioned good communication between partners on how you want to do things in the future. This will eliminate a lot of grief, even on the minor stuff.
OP, are you asking these questions because you have the feeling that your partner might not be coming from the same place as you in his intentions? Do you question whether he is using his power as your child's stepfather in a righteous manner?
I have experienced and witnessed the not-uncommon scenario of stepparents who can tend toward being overly assertive. Perhaps it is due to their role as step and not bio parent or maybe it is because of the fact that they can't possibly get behind the same intentions as you when it comes to their reasoning, I don't know. I do know that, after many years of experience with this, I prefer to be the primary parent to my children and for others who fill a partner role in my life to be more passive. In fact, at this point, I am not interested in anyone else but me doing the parenting of my children -- that's what works best for me -- but this way is at the other end of the spectrum and can be modified.
Your questions are based in intuition and understanding and I want to support you in trusting your feelings.