Girlfriend Kids scaled
Attentive girl eating salad and listening to her mommy
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 excellent, and we have fun together.  She has two boys, ages 4 and 8, from her previous marriage and has custody 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 it is hard to go to dinner with them, 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 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 misbehaving.  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 going to “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 will run right over her – especially when they become teenagers.  I don’t have any kids myself, so this is a new situation for me.

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, her kids, and her ex-husband.  If it were 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, 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 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 deal with any bad behavior on their part.   I also do not believe you should refer to the kid’s father as a “loser” around them – that is hugely disrespectful and won’t do anyone any good.  And that’s still true. Even if he IS a loser, you shouldn’t say things like that to his children.

Now, if you cannot deal with how she is raising her kids, 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.  If you continue to date her, I suggest you read this subsection of Midlife Dating Advice, under Fundamental Truths about Women and Midlife Dating Today, called Women with Children Can Be Challenging. It’s associated with Seven Key Principles when Dating a Woman with Children.

Here are four of the seven fundamental 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 children’s father, no matter what.

7) Always responsibly conduct yourself around her children because you are a role model at all times.

Of course, all of the above is just my opinion – and I could be wrong.  Perhaps the readers will add some COMMENTS below and let us know what they think.  Good luck – hopefully, this situation will turn out well for everyone.

Avatar of Greg Smith
About the Author

Midlife Bachelor chronicles lifestyle, dating, and relationship experiences and advice to avoid a midlife crisis. Readers like you are often beyond young adulthood in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s that want to understand how dating, sex, relationships, and love fit in with our lifestyles.