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#1 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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dp's son is a holy terror, mean to my dd

Ladies. I'm losing it over here. In writing this I don't want it to sound that I'm blaming my dp's son for everyone but I'm so far gone in my frustrations its likely to sound that way.

So dp and I have been together 8 months. We've grown very close very quickly, mostly to me getting pregnant after 6 weeks (and later miscarrying). So we stay at his house 6 nights a week, basically live there. His ds is 5.5, my dd just turned 6. I'm hoping the boy has hope if I work with him on things because right now he is SO AWFUL. Firstly, he's always loud, yelling, screaming at my dd. He picks on her, copying, name calling, hitting occasionally. Before, my dd has always gotten along with others very well and has never had a relationship like this before, constantly arguing and picking on each other. I feel awful, like I'm putting my dd through bullying so I can be with my dp. I truly feel like its his ds's influence as to why they act like this because my dd has always been gentle and kind and conscious of others and hadn't even heard of copying and doing some of the things she now does to retaliate against the boy. I have never talked to my dp about his son because I know I'm so upset, when I talk about it I sound awful, like I hate the child. And really, I kind of do. Is it time to rethink my relationship with dp, or is there hope? He's starts school next week. I homeschool my dd. I am not sure if it will be good for him or if he'll pick up more undesirable behavior and bring home.

I know I sound like a horrible person about this but I am so frustrated with it, I guess I need to vent a little. I try giving him things to say instead of being physical or instead of yelling and bossing. His mother is not is in his life at all, he's grown up watching, literally, 4 movie a day if he feels like it, staying up until 11 at night and eating unhealthily. I can see WHY he might not be a precious angel. Since we've been staying with them so much I do a nice bedtime routine each night around 8, he loves reading books before bed. And have also got him eating a much better diet. I think this has helped a bit, I know how much sleep and diet affect your behavior and moods.

His dad just called me saying he was frustrated with him too bwcause he doesn't take any responsibiltiy or think of others. This boy is so inside of his own head and not aware of how he effects others, or aware of anything other than himself, his wants and feelings. When playing tag at the playground, if the person who's 'it" runs to tag him, he'll say, no I'm taking a time out right now. He can't hand 'losing' at games or even playing tag! Just another example.

Sorry to rant. Please tell me there's hope for this boy, I've never met anyone as great as dp, and I don't want our relationship to end because of his devilish son.

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#2 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 09:38 AM
 
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62 views and no advice? Ok, I'll bite.

I have a few thoughts on this so I'll just list them in no particular order:

You met and moved yourself and your daughter in with this guy pretty fast, according to you. So now some virtual stranger has moved into this kid's home, bringing changes and another kid, and taking up Dad's attention. That has to cause some ripples.

Whatever people say, and there are always exceptions, girls and boys in general mature at different rates and can be very different in their energy levels. In my group of friends, we are split evenly between boys and girls around the same ages. The girls could more or less sit still and play quietly fairly early. Don't get me wrong, they can also be WILD but in general, if we are inside, we can say hey, girls, keep it down - and they do. The boys will be actually figuring out how to climb the walls. The boys are still working on it. They can be nothing but noise and motion a lot of the time and I think that's just kinda how boys are. It's not good or bad, it just is. Your expectation that this younger boy should be just like your daughter is unreasonable.

Kids, when thrown together, will have conflict. Your daughter might have been really well-behaved in the past mostly because she didn't have another kid to have conflict with.

Five year olds in general aren't super aware of other people's feelings. They are working on it. They are learning empathy.

I don't think that tv, junk food, and some late bednights necessarily = bad kid. I think he's been raised very differently from your parenting ideals and you've decided that's the root of his problem. The most likely things are a, he's a kid and he's full of energy, b. he now has competition for his dad's attention, and c. you're making a lot of changes in his life.

Personally, I would back off and live in my own house if that's an option. Back off, cool off on staying there so much, and work on having the kids not on top of each other all the time. Let him have his space back, start over, and ease into it. It sounds like too much, too fast, for having kids involved.

It's not exactly the same, but I do have a similar experience. My own daughter is almost nine. Her cousin is two years younger. Last year, due to divorce, Cousin was suddenly with us ALL THE TIME. These kids love each other and they were still SICK of each other. They are both onlies who are used to down time and having their own space and their parents to themselves. Suddenly, there was conflict. My own well-behaved, easy going child was suddenly a wreck, and Cousin was doing everything in the world to get her attention - copying, knocking things over, being bossy and demanding. It was just too much of them together too often. A year later, things have settled down and Cousin doesn't have to be here so much, but I wish we could have a do over on the beginning of the year. We thought because they were both kids of a similar age and because they were buddies, it would all be fine. WRONG. Our expectations were just way, way off. What the kids were going through was normal and even predictable if we had actually been THINKING, but we weren't.
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#3 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 12:08 PM
 
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Last year, due to divorce, Cousin was suddenly with us ALL THE TIME. These kids love each other and they were still SICK of each other. They are both onlies who are used to down time and having their own space and their parents to themselves. Suddenly, there was conflict.

I really agree with this. I work at a school, and we have tremendous issues with kids who are suddenly living together because their parents got together or they are relatives who are now living together for economic reasons.

I agree that backing off from the intense periods of time with your boyfriend until things settle down for BOTH kids is a good idea. Right now, you see a small child as a devil, and he's been through a lot. He is just a little kid. Nothing in his life is set in stone.

I think that you and boy friend could spend time together without either kid, and that you could spend a little time altogether with the kids with planned activities and appropriate attention and supervision for the kids.

I think you need to expect your boyfriend to parent his own kid, and you need to speak to him openly but without judgment. First, they've been though a lot, and I suspect your boyfriend has done the best he could with what he knew. But realistically, he needs to up his game. Crappy food plus too much TV plus lack of sleep plus lack of consistant behavior expectations of course leads to poor behavior. Blaming on the child is just blaming the victim.

If you can't have a real conversation with this guy being empathic and kind while also being honest, then you have no future with him. This isn't the only issue that will ever come up.
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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you ladies. I was really upset this morning when I posted the thread and have cooled off. His son is not a devil child, I shouldn't say things like that. Its definitely true that he feels competition for his dad's attention, he really liked it being just the two of them. And we have parented radically different, I don't know why I expect this transition to go so smoothly. With small children that is definitely unreasonable to think. I do need to put my own desires aside and and staying at my own house more would be beneficial to everyone. After I miscarried I was so afraid of being alone, for fear of becoming depressed. Having two children to keep me busy was good for ME at the time, but I see it may have been harder for them. I guess this thread was really just a rant for my frustration this morning and I could maybe get a better response asking for ways of helping teach him responsibility, kindness, and things to do when he's angry instead of freaking out on others.

I appreciate your views and know I need to get myself in check. It'll be a lot of work but surely it'll be worth it. That's another thing, I think I'm in shock of how different boys and girls are. I picked up a book at the library one time about raising boys and I should probably go check it out again to make myself more knowledgable on how boys act and what's normal. This may all be normal and just need some redirecting of energies and for me to not expect that one day he will be as gentle and quiet as my dd.
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#5 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 01:08 PM
 
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Crappy food plus too much TV plus lack of sleep plus lack of consistant behavior expectations of course leads to poor behavior.
This is a better version of what I was trying to say. Those things might result in some unpleasant behavior but they don't make "bad" kids. And OP, I see you know the kid isn't evil, just different and struggling. I think you're on the right path. And I didn't say it earlier, but I'm sorry for your loss.
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#6 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you nicole. Yes I don't feel labeling kids as 'bad' is even possible, they're just learning how to do things! I feel so terrible for my initial post. I'm glad you guys didn't join me in bashing him because I think I'm realizing I KNOW what needs to be done, I just have to DO it. Consistency hasn't been mu strong point, nor has patience. I think I need to expect more out of myself here, less out of him. A few months ago I realized I would say to the kids, let's not be bullies, no one wants to play with mean poeple. Now I say, I know you're a nice and kind friend, let's do _____ instead of _____. That's a good start, right? Being more postive.

I always consider spending more time at our own house, but whenever I do it, his father doesn't keep up with the routines we've set when I am around and I feel like it might be more detrimental for him to be bouncing back and forth like that. Its kind of a hard place to be in. And yes I think his father needs to be more responsible in these areas, because the boy truly does act MUCH better when he gets to bed on time and isn't eating complete junk all day.
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#7 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 02:22 PM
 
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I always consider spending more time at our own house, but whenever I do it, his father doesn't keep up with the routines we've set when I am around and I feel like it might be more detrimental for him to be bouncing back and forth like that. Its kind of a hard place to be in. And yes I think his father needs to be more responsible in these areas, because the boy truly does act MUCH better when he gets to bed on time and isn't eating complete junk all day.
have you had an honest yet kind conversation with him about this?

Trying to co-parent with someone who doesn't understand why these things are important and/or can't be bothered to do them is going to be very difficult. I understand the point about the inconsistency for the little boy now, but I think the answer is for dad to get his sh*t together, not for you to take over.

It would be a wonderful thing for the little boy for his dad to turn off the TV and read to him for a little bit every night, and then let him get some sleep. They really need the time together.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't really talked to him about it, no. I mention things if we're on the phone like, oh its about time to put him to bed right? You're completely right. I think he's catching on that these things are good for his ds, but is too darn busy to follow through with them. I also have this problem myself about being able to make suggestions to people. I feel like they do things the way they want and I either accept them how they are, or if I can't accept it I don't hang around those people or whatever. Feel its not my place I guess. This is also my first romantic relationship EVER so I'm learning how relationships work, about sacrifices, and working as a team.

So I guess what I'm getting from all this is, us parents are the problem, not his ds! Gosh. I'm so glad I posted this though, even though I made myself out to be a harsh meanie, I just picked the boy up from daycare and am feeling softer and more compassionate toward him.
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#9 of 21 Old 08-21-2014, 09:46 PM
 
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So I guess what I'm getting from all this is, us parents are the problem, not his ds! Gosh. I'm so glad I posted this though, even though I made myself out to be a harsh meanie, I just picked the boy up from daycare and am feeling softer and more compassionate toward him.
I think you came across as tired and out of ideas. Sometimes just being really honest about how we are feeling in the moment is the best way to free ourselves to feel something new.

Relationships are tricky. To a certain extent, I agree that other people, even the ones I live with, have a right to do what they want. However, living together and spending a lot of time together require some comprises and working stuff through. The process of figuring out what is the big stuff that actually needs to be worked out and what is "live and let live" is hard. Most of us mess it up from time to time.

I think that the attitude that your boyfriend's decisions are his and they can be different from yours and that's OK is GREAT starting point. But I think that for you guys to work something out that will last longer you'll need to add gentle honesty.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 12:16 AM
 
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You didn't come across as a meanie, just understandably frustrated.
FWIW, I've found that 5 & 6 yr olds tend to clash and feed each others' not-so-pleasant behaviors. My dd6 has a cousin exactly her age and they fight constantly about every.little.thing! Like, no joke, who got the better glass of ice water or who gets to sit in which (identical) booster seat or who got the longest hug. It's crazymaking. I do think age has a lot to do with it because I see it at playdates and mixed-age homeschool classes too with the 5's and 6's. It seems like they are so used to adults &/or bigger kids giving in to them that when the run up against a kid just like them who won't yield as easily conflict ensues.

Try to take any changes you make slowly while they all get used to each other...it'll get easier once they get used to the new living situation. Do the have their own rooms at either house? Or any space of their own to get a break from each other when they need it?
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#11 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay storm, those cousins definitely sound like these kids. They do each have their own rooms here at dp's house. But even if we seperate them, they whine that they want to play with each other. I know this has been a big life change for all of us, I don't want to disregard that, but really I think the boy was like this even before being around my dd all the time. He gets in trouble at daycare a lot for being 'mean'. Teasing, being physical, saying things like 'i won't be your friend anymore' (which I heard our neighbor kid say that too and was apalled at this coming from someone so young. My dd has always been taken care of by family if she's not with me, have I just sheltered her from typical kid stuff?!) The boy has told me he likes to hurt people and make them mad. Again, I am not sure exactly what's normal for a 5yo boy, but I also worry that he'll start school and treat others like this, be labeled a bully by teachers and that will just start a spiral of bad stuff for him.

So how can we gently teach him how to be nicer? How should I respond when he says he's not my dd's friend anymore? Usually I say, we're not going to say that to each other, we can't control what others do, just ask them nicely and say okay if they don't want to do it. This gets a kind response initally, but then he forgets.

Also, I read something saying to not pick one child out and discipline only them, because they will feel singled out and not act any better (for lack of better words, its early over here, brain isn't quite on). So when one kid does something, I try to include both of them in it. "Both of you stop arguing", etc. Also, the blaming game. Its NEVER the boy's fault. If he's hitting the dog with his sword, of course I tell him to be gentle with the dog and even if I'm not mad or he's not 'in trouble', he says something like, *dd* was doing it too (even if she wasn't), *dd* told me to. I've been saying to that, I'm not talking to dd I'm talking to you. If she has an idea, you don't have to do it, you make your own decisions.

Is just consistency the key here? I feel like they need a referee 24/7, and it hurts me so bad to see my dd get treated like this. Dp asked if we should just send them to their rooms every single time they start fighting, and a few months ago I was ready to go that route, but I don't think that's teaching them any tools they can use to get along better.
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#12 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you came across as tired and out of ideas. Sometimes just being really honest about how we are feeling in the moment is the best way to free ourselves to feel something new.

Relationships are tricky. To a certain extent, I agree that other people, even the ones I live with, have a right to do what they want. However, living together and spending a lot of time together require some comprises and working stuff through. The process of figuring out what is the big stuff that actually needs to be worked out and what is "live and let live" is hard. Most of us mess it up from time to time.

I think that the attitude that your boyfriend's decisions are his and they can be different from yours and that's OK is GREAT starting point. But I think that for you guys to work something out that will last longer you'll need to add gentle honesty.

I think you're right. My friend has been telling me to speak up more. If I don't I think, like with this situation, I bottle it up so long to the point where if I speak about it I just sound so angry and biased. I have said once school starts I think they'd get a better start to their day if they didn't just run and turn the tv on, and he is with me on this. He doesn't think tv is a problem at all I guess, but he's willing to go along with it. My dd and I have made HUGE changes from the way we lived to how it is at his house, like we don't even own a tv. I have sacrificed a lot and its time I speak my desires too.
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#13 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Another example, the boy has been dealing with MRSA. A few weeks ago he had an infected cut on his elbow. He was mad at my dd, took his bandaid off and rubbed his elbow on my dd! Dd realizes how serious this infection is and came to tell me what he did, and he pushed her into the wall. I don't want him to think he's gross, or dealthy ill or something, but I do think he needs to understand its seriousness and take some responsibility in not spreading it. He just doesn't seem to think about these things. My dd has had poison ivy before and was very cautious in not touching others. I think she's more mature than him, definitely, and one pointed out above that boys mature at differnt rates than girls, but what is reasonable to expect out of him in a situation like this?
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#14 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 10:37 AM
 
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Just because someone's a good partner, doesn't mean they're a good parent, and when you're dating with a child- you have to think about how someone is as a parent *and* a partner. (although, honestly, I question how good the relationship is given how crappy your communication is) You can certainly date people who are bad parents, but you have to keep them well separate from your DD and ensure they dont' end up in a parental role. (some people keep their kids and partners totally separate, others have their partner in the 'fun uncle/aunt' role that requires no true responsibility)

I'm actually very concerned that it sounds like he's let you take over parenting so much. If you were depressed enough that it was effecting your life, your partner should have encouraged therapy rather than allowing you to take over a near-stranger's life. He was disregarding both your and his child's needs.

I agree that you need to back off on how much time you're there. Take some time, seriously consider if you want this man to be your daughter's new-daddy. Not "do I want this man to be my husband"- "do I want this man to be a father to my daughter". Before you object that this isn't what's happening- you're practically living there, you're raising his child, he's going to be a father-figure to her. Again, if the answer is 'no', you don't have to break up. It's possible for both of you to change as time goes on. You can talk about parenting, what you want for your kids, introduce the kids under less stressful circumstances, gradually increase the time spent at his house, and spend more time preparing them for the merge.

There are plenty of people on here who had children with someone who's not a good parent. It's very stressful and it can destroy the relationship. Because this is your first romantic relationship, I think it's in your best interests to slow it down, too. Do you even know what you want from a partner? What you need to keep this going long-term? It takes more than just effort- for one thing, it takes both people willing to make an effort. For another, compatibility is complicated and what works in the short term may not be able to sustain a relationship for decades.

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#15 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 10:50 AM
 
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Good that dp is showing some frustration with the situation, since I would be of the opinion that it's hopeless if he will not change.

Use the methods in Kazdin Method:

http://alankazdin.com/the-kazdin-met...test-of-wills/

I am assuming that dp will play along. The method is the best I know of for conduct issues, but it has the weakness that the partner/spouse can sabotage important parts of it, the subtle and efficient parts.

If that does not work, I'd say professional help is the next step.
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#16 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good that dp is showing some frustration with the situation, since I would be of the opinion that it's hopeless if he will not change.

Use the methods in Kazdin Method:

http://alankazdin.com/the-kazdin-met...test-of-wills/

I am assuming that dp will play along. The method is the best I know of for conduct issues, but it has the weakness that the partner/spouse can sabotage important parts of it, the subtle and efficient parts.

If that does not work, I'd say professional help is the next step.
Thank you! That book looks wonderful and just the type of thing I need to read.I am pretty sure dp is open to suggestion and trying new things, it seems he's just been freakin' CLUELESS up until now about good ways of doing things.
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#17 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 02:43 PM
 
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Is he new to having full custody?
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#18 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just because someone's a good partner, doesn't mean they're a good parent, and when you're dating with a child- you have to think about how someone is as a parent *and* a partner. (although, honestly, I question how good the relationship is given how crappy your communication is) You can certainly date people who are bad parents, but you have to keep them well separate from your DD and ensure they dont' end up in a parental role. (some people keep their kids and partners totally separate, others have their partner in the 'fun uncle/aunt' role that requires no true responsibility)

I'm actually very concerned that it sounds like he's let you take over parenting so much. If you were depressed enough that it was effecting your life, your partner should have encouraged therapy rather than allowing you to take over a near-stranger's life. He was disregarding both your and his child's needs.

I agree that you need to back off on how much time you're there. Take some time, seriously consider if you want this man to be your daughter's new-daddy. Not "do I want this man to be my husband"- "do I want this man to be a father to my daughter". Before you object that this isn't what's happening- you're practically living there, you're raising his child, he's going to be a father-figure to her. Again, if the answer is 'no', you don't have to break up. It's possible for both of you to change as time goes on. You can talk about parenting, what you want for your kids, introduce the kids under less stressful circumstances, gradually increase the time spent at his house, and spend more time preparing them for the merge.

There are plenty of people on here who had children with someone who's not a good parent. It's very stressful and it can destroy the relationship. Because this is your first romantic relationship, I think it's in your best interests to slow it down, too. Do you even know what you want from a partner? What you need to keep this going long-term? It takes more than just effort- for one thing, it takes both people willing to make an effort. For another, compatibility is complicated and what works in the short term may not be able to sustain a relationship for decades.
Ah, the truth hurts sometimes. You've given me a lot to consider. Dang it. But thank you! Navigating this relationship + parenting on top of it has been...a lot. I was thinking earlier how he's a good partner but not a super great parent. And we are incredibly different. I do not know what the future has in store for us. Hm.
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#19 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is he new to having full custody?
Nope, he's had full custody since the boy was 8 months old! His birth mother really hasn't seen him more than a handful of times since then and not within the past two years.
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#20 of 21 Old 08-22-2014, 09:16 PM
 
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But even if we seperate them, they whine that they want to play with each other.

When my kids were around that age, if they fought they had to play by themselves in their rooms for 5 minutes. I used a timer. Playing together is a privledge, and 5 minutes is enough time to calm down and be ready to interact.

I know this has been a big life change for all of us, I don't want to disregard that, but really I think the boy was like this even before being around my dd all the time. He gets in trouble at daycare a lot for being 'mean'. Teasing, being physical, saying things like 'i won't be your friend anymore' (which I heard our neighbor kid say that too and was apalled at this coming from someone so young. My dd has always been taken care of by family if she's not with me, have I just sheltered her from typical kid stuff?!) The boy has told me he likes to hurt people and make them mad. Again, I am not sure exactly what's normal for a 5yo boy, but I also worry that he'll start school and treat others like this, be labeled a bully by teachers and that will just start a spiral of bad stuff for him.

The school where I work has a lot of children who start K with poor skills for playing with peers. The teachers work on it a lot, and use positive behavior supports to teach these skills.


So how can we gently teach him how to be nicer? How should I respond when he says he's not my dd's friend anymore? Usually I say, we're not going to say that to each other, we can't control what others do, just ask them nicely and say okay if they don't want to do it. This gets a kind response initally, but then he forgets.

Tell him that isn't a nice thing to say, that it hurts feels and isn't true anyway. He can say that he is mad. Teacher him the names of different emotions, how to recognize those feelings in himself, and say them outloud. Mad, frustrated, tired, etc. Helping kids express negative emotions in an acceptable way is very important.

Also, I read something saying to not pick one child out and discipline only them, because they will feel singled out and not act any better (for lack of better words, its early over here, brain isn't quite on). So when one kid does something, I try to include both of them in it. "Both of you stop arguing", etc. Also, the blaming game. Its NEVER the boy's fault. If he's hitting the dog with his sword, of course I tell him to be gentle with the dog and even if I'm not mad or he's not 'in trouble', he says something like, *dd* was doing it too (even if she wasn't), *dd* told me to.

The phrase you are looking for is, "We are talking about you. I saw you." And just take the sword away.

Is just consistency the key here? I feel like they need a referee 24/7, and it hurts me so bad to see my dd get treated like this. Dp asked if we should just send them to their rooms every single time they start fighting, and a few months ago I was ready to go that route, but I don't think that's teaching them any tools they can use to get along better.
With my kids, I both worked with them on developing the needed skills, and I also separated them.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#21 of 21 Old 08-23-2014, 10:26 AM
 
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You need to find a chance to take some time to yourselfand just think about the future. I don't know how much you have in the past, but you really need to now. Figure out what your life goals are, what you want from a relationship in general and this relationship in particular, what you want for yourself and your child. If you have a career right now- do you really want to continue that? Would you like to be in a place where you could stay home? Would you like your partner to be able to stay home? Do you want to have kids in the future and, if you do, do you want to have kids with this man? Right now it seems like you're basically taking on the main parenting responsibilities for both children, do you want that to continue or do you want your partner to be an equal co-parent or do you even want a partner who can take on the bulk of responsibilities so that you can put more energy into your career? Do you really want to be living with him or would you rather go back to living with just you and your daughter? Do you want to live in an apartment, a big house with a big yard, or somewhere in between?

There aren't any wrong answers. Even "I don't have a strong preference either way" is a fine answer. Whatever you want out of life is valid and fine- but you need to have these answers to figure out if this relationship is what you want now, or if it'll continue to be what you want in the future.

Once you've got that sorted out, you and your partner need to sit down and have a long, serious talk. You need to talk about your parenting, what you want for your kids, your life goals, what you want from the relationship and where you see it heading. How much do you two talk about the future, both long term and short term? If you never do, that's not a good sign.

Again- even if you don't think he's a good co-parent and you want some distance, that doesn't mean you have to break up. You really need to figure out where you are, though, there are two children involved in this who could both get seriously hurt if you don't sort this out.

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