DO NOT DISCIPLINE YOUR NEW GIRLFRIEND'S KIDS
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR::
I am 40, and my new girlfriend is 33. We have been dating for two months, and she is all in all a pretty decent girlfriend. The sex is great and we have fun together. She has two boys, ages 4 and 8 from her previous marriage, and has custody of them most of the time except every other weekend. Here's the problem - her kids are holy terrors ... they act up and scream and yell a lot of the time, so much so that it is hard to go to dinner with them and so we wind up making dinner at her house most of the time. The 4-year old is the worse of the two, and often runs away or around if we take him to a restaurant or wherever - just really hard to control because he's so active. The mom (my gf) is pretty low key during this kind of behavior and won't spank either
boy, nor does she yell at them. She thinks they'll outgrow the behavior eventually and tries to talk to or reason with the kids, which is dumb. Oh and the dad is no help at all - he is a complete loser and lets the boys do anything they want when he has them because he wants them to like him. He has no job and no money and does not pay any alimony or child support to the mom, even though he is supposed to.
I have told my girlfriend several times now that she needs to discipline her children and they need a swat or two when they are behaving really bad. When I yell at her kids, she gets mad and tells me to stop and this stupid behavior on her part is starting to cause fights between us. If I say anything to the 8-year old he says he's gonna "tell his dad on me", and then I sometimes snap back "go ahead and tell your loser dad on me". My question is how do you think I can get my new girlfriend to start being a better parent? The way she's going right now, her kids are gonna run right over her - especially when they become teenagers. I don't have any kids myself so this is kind of a new situation for me.
MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER:Wow - you have one heck of a situation on your hands. I'm going to give you some advice, and I'm not sure you will like it but please at least think about what I am about to tell you.
First of all, you sound like a very controlling person. You are trying to control her, and to control her children. You have no right to do either. You are her new boyfriend of just two months and it amazes me that you are so judgmental ... of her, of her kids, and of her ex-husband. If it was your girlfriend writing in (instead of you), I would probably suggest she attempt to set you straight once or twice - and if your behavior persists, then I would tell her to dump you. Sorry man!
Okay - so if you want my advice, here is what I think you should do. I think you should NOT try to coach her into disciplining her children ... because it really is none of your business ... especially not after just two months of dating. I think you should back off, and let her deal with raising her kids, and let her deal with any bad behavior on their part. I also do not think you should refer to the kid's father as a "loser" around them - that is hugely disrespectful, and won't do anyone any good at all. And that's still true even if he IS a loser ... you just shouldn't say things like that to his children.
Now if you just cannot deal with the way she is raising her kids, then you should probably do everyone a favor and stop dating the mom. Everything you are talking about doing or wanting to do will only cause harm, and make the situation worse. I do suggest that if you continue to date her that you read this subsection in Midlife Dating Advice, under Fundamental Truths about Women and Midlife Dating Today ... called Women with Children Can Be Challenging, and its associated Seven Key Principles when Dating a Woman w/Children. Here are four of the seven key principles which I think you should pay particular attention to:
4) Never question or differ with the opinion of the mother concerning her children
5) If the children act up, let the mother deal with it
6) Do not badmouth the father of the children, no matter what.
7) Always conduct yourself in a responsible manner around her children because you are a role model at all times.
All of the above is just my opinion, of course - and I could even be wrong. Perhaps the readers out there will add some COMMENTS below, and let us know what they think. This can also be discussed in our Midlife Forum here on midlifebachelor.com. Good luck - hopefully this situation will turn out well for everyone..