The situation will likely not improve, since you are not the parents who are with him most of the time. Yes, there is some separation anxiety, but that is the least of his problems. His behavior is typical of children who are the victims of inadequate parenting, and you will not be able to correct that when you have him only on alternate weekends. The best option is for his father and mother to discuss professional intervention, putting all the cards on the table, so to speak, and see what plans can be made. Otherwise you are going to continue to swim against the current, and that does not have a good outcome.
Why would you even date a man with children if you do not like kids?
You asked what the root of the problem was... You are the problem! This little boy is terrified that the every other week will become once a month and then never. He is scared of losing his dad. He is using every tool he has to try to keep his father.
My advice to you is let the dad be a father and fad out of the picture. Your b/f needs to be a dad first and a b/f second. If you are not ready for that then do not see him when he has visitation with his kid. Let him bond with his child and if you ever do marry this man plan on having at least two weekends a month on your own and paying for that 7 yo to got college.
You have a choice about how much you want to be part of this unfortunately this little boy has no control over the situation.
You said you are at the end of your rope perhaps it is time to let go and find a man that doesn't have any children.
I like Potassium's sentence that the child is scared of losing his father, that every other month will become once a month, then never. Very succinct and insightful.
It often happens just like that. The boy is not stupid.
I'd say the boy can sense your frustration and is indeed frightened that you will drive a wedge between him and his father. That you are resorting to spanking a 7 year old who is not related to you is the mark of desperation on your part. Especially when you say that you and your bf have an understanding about no spanking.
Either get some family counseling if you are indeed committed to this man and willing to take on a step parent role, or break up. This part time role of being the angry, frustrated girlfriend won't work for long, and may help furthur confuse and destroy this young childs fragile emotional state.
You have no right to spank your boyfriends`s child. If I were his mother, I would make action against it. Plus, I think it is a very strange thinking that you had your tubes tied, because "you didn`t want to be a single mom"?
Well, I agree with those, who say you are to find a boyfriend without children...
His father and I were high school sweethearts. We are from the same small "farming" community (pop. 1000)I think this goes much deeper than just him thinking he's loosing his father. Visiting isn't every other month it's every other weekend and that's only b/c of his job. I live 250 miles away. I am not there all the time. Also I didn't say I didn't like kids. I have been divorced as well I decided I didn't want to have kids and be a single mother. As we all know, we know what it can do to children. This behavior is like this even though I am not there. His father and I are the ones to make the appt. such as doctor, denisit, particapate in school activities with him. Even though he lives with his mother. If everyone thinks I am the problem, then I will take responsiblity for it. This was going on BEFORE I was even involved with his dad. In my opinion that is unrealistic thinking, Everyone that is involved in this little boys life is contributing.
My b/f and I have a agreement on how he should be disciplined. He gave me permission to spank him b/c that is what HE does and we want to be consistant. If his mother had a problem with me spanking him, then she should tell me so. It is unfotunate that she and HER b/f can't control him nor set bounderies. I would not discipline this child if it was unaccceptable to the family. The mother AND the father (boyfriend) has given him room to run their lives from day one, now I think that is unacceptable. They were a young couple that failed in marriage. Now the mother is out sowing her oats with her b/f I think I deserve some credit for steping up to the plate not to mention taking on a huge responiblity for helping this kid to be put on the right path. I only wish I could make people understand that the community that we are in and are raising "children" is different than those in the east and west part of the country. Yes!! it makes a difference. Why should it matter if I don't have kids of my own? Doesn't mean I don't like kids, just means that I don't require them. I have people in near to me that they would rather smoke cigs than feed their child. How about shop lifting to feed their child but yet have money to pay for drugs. Drugs vs. Spanking? I realize that there are parents that don't believe in spanking however there are some that do. Why verbally attack those who do? In my opinion the Child Protection Services are over rated. In some instances they are needed and they have to investigate. But in some cases it can be blown completely out of proportion. I BELIEVE IN SPANKING!! There is my new bumper sticker. So if a law officer happens to see me spank this little boy or anybody discipline their child in this manor AND THEY DO (where I am from) I can guarantee you they will just keep driving by b/c they know you just can't have a "time out" or a "reasoning session" with some children.
Halleluia--there are still some young parents out there that still believe in Spanking. I can tell from thoroughly reading this girls e-mails and responses that she is not one to deliberately hurt any child. At least she and her b/f are trying to point this child down the right path. I raised two of my own kids, several of their friends and my grandson for two years after his father's untimely death. My Mother never heard of a "time out"! If we did something wrong, we knew we would get a spanking. I believe that if more of you out there would resort to spanking again and quit letting your children run over you, we wouldn't have near the problems in society that we do. It's called suffering the consequences of bad behavior!
It appears to me that this little boy at the tender age of seven is a master of manipulation and victimization. Guess what's going to happen to him in another seven years if he continues down this path!! He should feel very lucky that he has a Dad and girlfriend that at least take an interest in him. For you that made the comment about "if you were his Mother, you'd take legal action"---I say bullhunky! If the mother had been taking the time that this little boy needs in the first place, none of this would have happened!
I have to agree with others that perhaps you may be adding to the problem, though not necessarily the root of it. This is a 7 year old boy, not a grown man, or a little soldier who will obey your every command. I have a 7 year old boy. They are not perfect - they will challenege the world they live in. They can be annoying. They do not always follow the rules. But, with a good dose of love and caring parenting, we can usually help them become happy rounded people. You obviously see this child as a threat. You have indicated that he is driving a wedge. No, he isn't. You are building a wedge by seeing him as a threat. That is particularly destructive. I do understand - I was a step parent before I had my kids - it's very hard. You cannot manufacture a magic feeling of maternal love that you simply don't feel. That is not fair to yourself. However, you must acknowledge your limitations and perhaps limit your role in his life - or you will undoubtedly not last long in this relationship. If your BF has any spine at all, he will choose his child over you if he has to - which is natural for any decent parent. So, try to work with the situation, if a family is what you want. Recognise it for what it is. He is a little child with emotional problems. He needs help and love, not alienation. As for spanking him - how do you think that will help build a relationship with this child. Regardless of views on spanking, you are not the parent - you are not exactly jumping gleefully into a parental role, so you have as much right as your stepson's teacher to spank him - zero in my view. You do not appear to be balancing the discipline with unconditional love - something a natural parent finds much easier than a step (again - been there, done that - I understand the difficulties you face emotionally).
The doctor has already said this child has problems and needs help - primarily caused by inadequate parenting. How will hitting him resolve his poor parenting issue. I am trying not to jump down your throat about the spanking thing, because I am sure your intentions are not cruel, but I just don't see how this will make this a happy family for any of you. You may have to face up to the fact that this may not be right for you. My thoughts are with you, and your little step son. I wish you luck and I hope you can look at this situation with a good dose of honesty with yourself. There are many step parenting websites and forums available, which I found very useful (I village has a good one). My stepson is now 24 and I love him dearly and really get along great now. Not so well when we were first together as a family. It was extremely challenging at times and I was also guilty of not seeing him as the little guy caught in the middle of the tumultuous dynamics of step family relationships. It is hard, but as one poster said - you have a choice. This little guy does not. All children should be cherished and loved, and disciplined appropriately. There is a great book that is often touted on this web site - SOS for parents. That may give you some great ideas that won't leave you looking or feeling like the bad guy. Believe me, parenting carries with it a lot of guilt - whether the kids are yours or not. It's guikt that makes us question ourselves, learn from our mistakes and become better parents. Please do one thing .... if you look at this with true honesty and decide that you actually despise this child, then please stay away from him and get out of the relationship. You will ruin his life and possibly yours too.
Good luck - Sara
Put yourself in this child's position. When did his parents split up? If it was in the last few years, he has felt that separation, too. Not just his parents. He is probably not real happy in even contemplating sharing his dad. And his natural mother is in a relationship, too. Every kid wants to identify with their parents and his family, and maybe this situation is too much overload for him. I agree with the doc, counseling with the parents together with the child will help. It's going to take time and maturity for the boy to learn how to deal with what is going on.
Why is it that everyone reacts to the word "spanking" as though it is compared to a severe beating. In my world, spanking means arranging your hand across the bottom end of a child and smaking them hard enough to get their attention! It does not mean brutally beating a poor child to near death and then rushing them to the emergency room! Again, this world simply and eagerly blows everything spoken into gradious exaggerations.
I love children and they love me in return. However, they must be taught to respect their elders (including parents) and to obey those commands that are given to them out of pure love. Spare the rod and spoil the child---where have I heard that before?
Once again, I read into this girls original plea that she does love the child--(read the part that says she and her boyfriend spend time with this child). She is simply wanting to discipline this child and cares enough to steer him in the right path at this early age. Sounds to me like she and her boyfriend have made decisions together and have the child's best interest at heart.
This is not a competition with his fathers affections. I have undoubtablly wanted to bow out of the situation all together. Thought just maybe that would be the best thing at this point, it has been discussed & ruled out by his father. I am not the "needy" GF that wants to be with him all the time. In fact I encourage one on one time. I understand how tramatic it can be for a kid of any age, I DO have compassion. It's not like I am not trying to make it easier for him to understand that I really do care. BUT he has to know that life is full of disappointments & bad behavior is not rewarded. I am the one who does activities with him certainly not his mother. I always always arrange for things to do that help his mind & patience. I have read the advice given by all, I have digested it. I have broad shoulders & can handle the finger being pointed at me. I have failed to mention that this boy has been in therapy with a child physcologist. The mother and father took turns taking him on alternate weekends. As I recall the mother stop taking him due to the therapist telling her that he blamed her for the divorce. It was just a comment and she took it personally. Every since then none of them continued going. Now I doubt that any mother is going to take responsiblity for being a "toxic" parent. How can I be the "root" or the blame when I am 250 miles away and I am not there in the same town. I am in a whole different state. I still stand my ground on the spanking thing. But hey, if this relationship ends b/c of this I can guarntee 100% that this will not only continue, it will get worse. BTW~ I am not personally attacking any mother, both tumbs up to all. A personal thank you to the midwestgrandma she obviously been through this type of thing before. I doubt that her kids turned into a Jeffery Dahlmer b/c she spanked them.
Keep the comments coming, good or bad. I am a very realistic person not to mention brutly honest.
I do remember someone asking how long they've been divorced. It's been 2 yrs. but they have been seperated for a yr before t it was final. I am just naturally appauled by his mother's behavior as well. We encouarage Sunday school & we do take him on the weekends he is visiting. BUT there is no consistancies between households.
Oh, and midwest grandma, I don't see anywhere that she says she loves the child. I see that she's trying to prove to be a better parent to him than his bio-mom. I've BTDT, too. It ain't worth it. You cannot win this one.
Kids are people, too. Have a little respect.
As a stepmother of an almost 15 yr old boy I had to respond to your request for advice and suggestions. I've been in my DSS's life since he's 3 years old and we have a great relationship.
Being a stepmother is more difficult than having your own children (which I do), IMHO. The best advice I can give you would be for you to not discipline this child. That is his mother's and his father's job, not yours. You may protest - what is this boy to do? Walk all over you when he's with you? Of course not, but it is your bf's job to tell his son he is not to speak to you or treat you that way. Stand your ground and walk away. Keep your hands to yourself!
He only sees his dad for a few days a month. Let them be pleasant visits. You do not have full custody (and you, as a girlfriend, have even LESS of a right to decide what this child does or does not do). In my case it took me a long time to realize, this is not my son. I must abide by his mom's and dad's rules. If they're going to screw up, then that's on them. My stepson knows that I love him very much and he can talk to me about anything. I will nurture him and support him, but disciplining him isn't my job.
Do yourself a favor. If you can't step back and be this little boy's friend, if you feel you MUST be the one to 'save' him from his horrible mother, I suggest you step away and let them be. At least, don't visit your bf on the weekends he has his son. It's hard enough for the boy I'm sure to be separated from his Daddy. To add another heavy hand on him is most likely breaking his spirit. He's no doubt responding in the only way he understands, by lashing out, sticking to his daddy's side, throwing tantrums in protest.
As far as spanking goes, what if your BF said you weren't behaving like a good girlfriend today and decided to spank you and put you in the backseat of the car to make you think about it? And what if you were completely helpless to get back at him? Would you want to be in that situation?
I think most child development experts agree that the step-parent or significant other should NOT be the one to discipline the child - the parent should. ESPECIALLY since you've only been in his life a short time (and yes, I do consider one year a short time, when it comes to forging a relationship with a child that age). It doesn't matter if spanking is part of your boyfriend's discipline repertoire - it's HIS responsibility to do it, not yours. By meting out physical discipline to this boy, you are only alienating him and creating a divisive relationship. While I personally don't agree that spanking is effective or healthy, I'm not going to judge you and him on choosing to use it as a form of discipline. But it's got to be HIM, not you.
Secondly, and I say this as someone who has been there, done that: you owe it to yourself, you owe it to the father of that child, and most importantly, you owe it to that boy, to NOT get involved with his father if you cannot love him without reservation. It's not good enough to merely tolerate him for the sake of his father. He deserves to have a step-parent who LOVES him. If you cannot give that to him and his dad, then you owe it to everyone involved to cut bait, as hard as that may be.
To continue is only asking for increased power struggles, resentment, and heartache.
I have 4 children and 2 step children we have been together for 12 years. our kids were 4years to 8 years old so we did have our hands full. one of the things that i always have to remember is God was the perfect parent and his kids Adam and Eve messed up bad. its called free will. my only advice to you is it depends on how long you have been in the little boys life.
i believe and my husband too that you have to let the child come to you earn his respect from him also. things take along time especially relationships. this little boys life has been turned upside down. he has suffered a loss and he needs to be delt with, with alot tlc. it also doesnt matter what we as stepparents think of the other parent, they have there way of parenting and it really doesnt matter what we think. it is important that we talk postively about the other parent to the child its still is his mom and will always be. i was put in my step daughters life for a reason. I have a wonderful relationship with them and my husband with my children we had to work really hard though. the girls have always been able to come to our house whenever they wanted they r now 15 and 17 and are doin very well. i dont agree with the parenting styles of the other parents but its there house not mine. when they r here this is there( the girls) house too and we handle things our way. we always show respect to the other parent. the most important thing is to develop the relationship earn his trust then he will begin to respect your word. give things time rome wasnt built in a day he needs to be able to count on you to be there good or bad. thats what marriage is all about for better or worse if you really love his daddy then you will stick it out the good and the bad and believe me you will be rewarded. but if u have any doubts then its best to go with you heart and end the relationship. its never a easy thing. good luck
That poor little boy is scared and his actions are asking for help!
Even though his parents had been separated for over a year - this is still fresh for him and you are a new piece of the puzzle.
I had gone through an illness over the past year and one of the things that I had to tell and remind my son is that he didn't cause this. He is five years old. Young kids tend to think that they cause the events in their life. Their minds work in strange ways. Who knows what was said in front of him, what he saw or how he has interpreted those events - but from the sound of it I would say that he is frightened and trying to get attention. When kids need attention it doesn't matter if it is positive (listening, etc.) or negative (time outs, spanking, etc). You may feel that your b/f is giving him all of the attention he needs but remember this is from his perspective not yours or that of an adult.
I agree with the advice of a doctor and that this situation needs help and that the parents need to work together. The output will remain the same if the inputs remain the same.
This boy's needs need to fall ahead of everyone else, and ultimately his natural parents need to take responsibility of this situation and get counseling for all involved, as it sounds very much needed. His natural mother sounds like she is falling short of being a responsible parent, but I know we have only heard one side of the story. You only get one shot at raising your children, and you want to give them the best opportunity to grow into an understanding, well adjusted young adult. Sounds like they're blowing it. This is a complicated situation and needs professional intervention.
along with just sounding like a spoiled kid, divorce is really hard on kids. I remember my parents got divorced when i was 5 and it really screwed my relationships up with my parents... this ended up affecting my parents relationships. i dont know how long ur boyfriend has been divorced but that might be affecting his sons relationship to him...
I appreciate everyone's opinion in this matter. Since I posted the question lots has happened. What frustrates me the most (yes this is one side of story) is the mother. When the father and I started dating a yr. ago. The mother and I visited several times, along with her BF (socially) THEN when I got upset at my BF for doing HER favors things seemed to go down hill from there. YES, its hard for children. I really do care for this kid & love him. I however, don't love him like a parent would love him. But I am convinced that her son has become an inconvience to her. He is back in therapy thanks to us & only us. His mother did not want him to go. It's a constant struggle with her. It's important to me that he has friends & does well in school but other neighbor kids don't like to be around him. I feel bad I most honestly do but I am not going to roll over cuz his mother has been putting things in his head. There are signs that she does that, you can tell. He will be turning 8 in a couple of months, I have decided to give him a birthday party that will be unforgetable. In the meantime his father & stand our ground of disiplining accordingly & setting boundries. There is no doubt that he is going to be just fine. In the summer we do more activities. I don't want to take his mother's place, I most certainly don't. Its not going to take him long to figure all of it out. We have support from the grandparents cuz they know as well. As far as behavior problems, I really do think it lies within the mother, after all she is sole provider at this time. This is not a dead beat father, he pays his child support.
I was spanked as a child, and so were my siblings. We grew up in a loving home, my parents are Christians, my dad was a police officer, but they never thought twice about swatting us on the butt if we did something bad! And I will discipline my kids the same way. I grew up and went to college and got married and so did my siblings. And I'm only 25, so it wasn't THAT long ago, either. So that's my opinion on THAT subject. As far as spanking someone ELSES child, yeah...you might want to back off for just awhile. It's obvious that you're trying with him. But I also think if you're truly to be happy, then you may want to end this relationship, since you don't want children. I know it's easier said than done, but it's something to consider. Good luck.
I know its been a while since the last post, and no one will prob. even read this, but I must say to Carmella and all the others...
I am an educated, intelligent, woman who believes in spanking her children.
However, I do agree that the g/f shouldn't be spanking the child. That is a parent's responsibility, but there are other ways for her to maintain consistancy with discipline.
Additionally, I completely disagree that the time spent with the dad needs to be "pleasurable" time. Why, because the dad only sees him on the weekends, should the child have free reign of his attitude and actions, just because he's with dad? They should make the expected behavior known, and enforce it when it is not. It isn't fair to the child, because that isn't a true parent/child relationship to avoid conflict, and it isn't fair to the dad, because I guarantee that with this attitude, when the child is 16 and acting like a normal teenager, he will expect his dad to go along with his antics, and not discipline him then either!! You begin early enforcing the behaviors that you wish them to have for a lifetime! Who wants to teach their child that there is ANYWHERE on earth that you can go and it will just be...pleasurable...no rules, no discipline, no consequences. Hello---welcome to the real world.
What dad should be teaching him is that he loves him and wants the best for him...not, "come to my house so you don't have to follow any rules."
I am the product of a divorced home, and I respected both of my parents.
However, I do think I would've hated my "steps" had they ever tried to spank me. Leave that part to the mom and dad.
There are the hand full that I can count that makes complete sense, you are one of them. However, I know that there are the several that totally disagrees with me disciplining him. When I got involved with the dad, a year now. I was given permission to "spank" him from both of his parents. I also was from a divorced family but I was also taught to respect my "steps" even though I hated them. This little boy is in a fragile state but does not respect his mother in the least, in fact walks all over her. Its not my job to teach him to respect his mother nor do I want the responsiblity. But when I am with his dad discipline is enforced accordingly. I do have to say that you did give me some insight on some things his dad should know.
I am going to have the dad read this forum. He is visiting me next weekend. I hope you come back and read what he has to say.
I have to say that my heart hurts for you, b/c I genuinely feel that you want what is best for this child. It's tough to know the right things, and not have the "genetic authority" to follow through with them, especially when you see others in his life not following through. Maybe there are other ways for you to reach this child? Also, if the two of you were married, the circumstance may change...it would be your household as well, and you wouldn't be "the girlfriend". There is some finality in "wife"...maybe the little boy is afraid to get close to you for fear of you and his dad splitting up???? Don't know, just a thought. Good luck, though, and I do applaud you for caring. That is more than some biological parents ever do.
Keep in touch...
Yes, I'm still reading this and still interested in the conversation.
MaryHeather, are you a stepparent? Have you ever been in this situation? I believe if you were your point of view would be a bit different. Being a stepmother is THE TOUGHEST thing. A stepmother has almost NO SAY in ANYTHING with regards to how the child is raised. Once the stepmom starts butting in, that's when things get really crappy. I've BTDT too many times
Also, it does not matter in the least if you are an intelligent, educated woman. A good mother is a good mother. Education has nothing to do with it.
Where the heck did I say the child's visits should be an undisciplined free-for-all, with 'no rules, no discipline, no consequences'? AND, FWIW, my stepson is almost 15 and acting like a normal teenager and he STILL wants to come live with his dad, because we treat him with caring and love and respect. He is disciplined when he needs to be. He is shown love and affection freely. He can talk and be listened to. He can ask for things and be told yes or no and why or why not. He is not belittled. He is not made to feel like his opinion doesn't matter just because he is a child. And his feelings are respected here. If he's upset about a decision we have made, our response is not "You asked for it. You've been acting like a little **** all day." It is more, "I'm sorry you're upset. You were told this would happen if you did "X". Maybe tomorrow will be a better day." In serious cases, yes, his dad has spanked him a few times. They were given rarely and with a heavy heart. He's had privledges taken away that he's had to earn back. This isn't Chuck E Cheese over here.
Czylady has stated that the boy visits with them every other weekend. Why can't the 4 days a month that he spends with his father be pleasant? She has said so much in her original post that she dislikes this boy. Or, to quote, she "doesn't enjoy" the child. He's a little 7 year old boy!
Why the frig is she putting on this grand show for his 8th birthday? A birthday party that will be unforgettable. What about when he turns 9? and 10?
Czylady, are you going to have to outdo yourself every year? Are you going to be pissed when he's 13 and expects you to rent out the reception hall to hail in his teenage years? I'm sure you'll complain that he's a spoiled brat. Oh wait, I'm guessing you won't be around that long.
Put your running shoes on and RUN away from this relationship. You obviously don't want to be a mother, yet you want to Mother this child better than his own mother does, yet you 'don't enjoy' him. Very confusing.
The kid deserves better. Let him go.
BUTT the frig OUT.
If you're really interested in working with this child, I would suggest reading the book Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. It may give you some better insights on his personality and you may understand where he's coming from better and how you can work together to make the relationship work.
You asked for advice. That's mine. Best of luck to you.