I am reasonably new to step- parenting and I ask these questions knowing I have much to learn. I am also respectful of the fact that these kids are my partner's and she has every right to choose the way her kids are raised. I by no means want to upset any systems or routines she has et in place. I have been welcomed into her family and I want to honor that in the way I treat her kids.
My partner is often very tired as she has a demanding job and also suffers from chronic pain. As a result, she often takes the path of least resistance with her kids, allowing them to do whatever they want, whenever they want, at the penalty of them screaming and crying if they do not get their way. She gives in just to have a moment of peace. The result is that they are not used to be told no about anything they demand to do, so when she leaves them with me, I cannot set any boundaries for acceptable behavior. I feel as if I have to just let them do whatever they want, because they won't listen I me and will scream and cry and even kick and hit me if they don't get what they want. My partner sometimes sees this behavior and will verbally respond to it but will do little else apart from that to discipline the behavior. I don't mean physical discipline, just clear and consistent boundaries.
I love my partner and I honestly love her kids, but I'm unsure how to be with them, especially when she gives me the responsibility to take care of them when she is at work.
Any tips and advice would be great, as i truly wish to be a loving and supportive partner, and also be a positive influence on her kids. I don't want to come in and change things, but I feel uncomfortable with allowing bad behavior when I'm in charge and I don't agree with their response to me when I set boundaries.
Well, this is an issue with your partner, not the kids per se as she is looked upon as the discliplinarian and not you. She will have to change the way she parents if you want this to change. Plus the children need to see both of your working together and using the same parenting style. If mom is "loosey goosey" and you are more for running a "tight ship" then the children will take the path of least resistance because they get what they want and their mother is ok with their behavior. Sounds like your partner isn't seeing the situation as a problem and she might not see any reason to change what she is doing with their children.
You need to talk with your partner seriously about this and come to some kind of understanding. Most importantly, the children need to see both of you parenting as ONE, not as two people with two different parenting styles as that will not work.
How long have you been with your partner? Are you married? I am assuming from the tone of the post that you aren't married. How old are the children?
Your boundaries are only GOOD if she makes the children AWARE of them and enforces them herself. Without her approval.....forget it.
Remember.....it isn't the CHILDREN; it's their mother's parenting style.
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