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Bf - let's 8yo daughter run the show

I understand divorce is extremely difficult, especially when you have no family or friends other than your two kids - 8 y.o. daughter and 7 y.o. son. My boyfriend moved to America from Holland 9 years ago to marry his, now, ex-wife. They've been divorced for 2.5 years & have two kids joint custody. I've been in a relationship with him for a year now & we've been living together for 9 months. My question is, how do I stop him from allowing his 8 y.o. daughter run the show?!

He lets her choose/decide/dictate everything we do as a family, from the moment she gets in his car after school until the moment she leaves. We have the kids twice a week and every other weekend. This little girl is smart, beautiful, funny and creative. I love creating art projects with her, we have dance parties and talent shows, I love making her laugh, we have a great relationship. I love every thought of being in her and her brothers life, it warms my heart and soothes my soul. BUT I cannot stand the way my boyfriend let's her run the show. He allows her to choose where we go out to eat, or what I cook for dinner, he allows her to sleep in our bed (almost every weekend we have the kids).

She will get pissy if she can't sit next to him, on the couch or out to dinner. She must get a toy or snack in every store or shop we go into. We'll have plans to take the kids on a fun day trip and we won't go because she wants to stay home. He will ask her if it's ok that I make corn and broccoli with our chicken dinner, he's such a pushover and it's driving me crazy!!! His son is as precious as can be, never causes a problem, never dictates what the family can or can't do, he's sweet and loving.

When it's the 4 of us my bf & his daughter will walk around the house room to room holding hands or walk around the backyard holding hands. It's as if myself and his son don't exist. The day I suggested we go to the Chinese restaurant instead of the crummy sandwich shop that his daughter wanted to go to all hell broke loose, he snapped at me in the car as if I requested for him to drive off a cliff. He said no, she asked me to go to the sandwich shop 35 minutes away and that's what we're doing... I'm thinking why did you even ask me what I wanted to eat.

What bothers me the most is his lack of attention towards his son. I can't remember the last time he ever asked for his opinion or had a father son bonding moment.

So, I'm looking for ways to softly address his obsession with pleasing his widdle prwincess. It's hard when coming into a relationship with someone who has children because you don't know what's within your right to say. Spoiling her will only make her impossible to please in the future and in future relationships. 

Needless to say the bit about her sleeping in our room drives me nuts!! He'll let her stay up until 10:30-11 on the weekends, by the 5th or 6th time I say it's time for bed he'll say that he promised her earlier that she could sleep in our room. Apparently she asks him a few times throughout the day... probably when they're holding hands to get a glass of water. Meanwhile his son put himself to bed at a normal 8:30-9 o'clock time.

It's not like they spoon or are touchy touchy in the bed, it's the fact that he doesn't ask me if it's ok, nor does he consider me in the whole process. The evenings when she doesn't sleep with us, he tends to linger in her room for a good two hours. We'll get the kids to bed at 8:30-9 and most nights he's in there talking and showing her stuffed animals she from a trip we took. It's like he can't let her sleep. He acts like tomorrow won't come and he needs to get in every last thought or word before she falls asleep.

I've called him out on it the other weekend and he didn't do the lingering as long as he usually does. Which really surprised me!

I've addressed a few of my concerns to him before about allowing his daughter rule our days together and his response was expected, he said that he wants to make sure they are always happy with him and he doesn't want to disappoint his kids.

Someone please tell me there is a way to have a healthy balance between being a loving parent and raising happy kids. But seriously, he showers these kids with objects and is way too lenient. I've tried to tell him, kids just need your time and attention and they'll be just fine. But he lets her call the shots and be the dictator of the relationship. Kids crave structure and discipline. When I have the kids alone, I run a tight ship and we play, clean up, play some more, I clean & do laundry and we all have an incredible time. But add him to the mix and it becomes a major disruption in the adult child role. Does feel he's not feel he's worthy of saying no or asking the kids to put away their toys? He'll seriously clean up every mess they make. That drives me crazy too! Maybe he hasn't adjusted to the fact that his kids can and are able to do these things on their own, maybe he still sees them as 3 & 4 y.o.'s.

I recently read that if a daughter feels that her bio-mother does not appreciate her father enough, a daughter may try to give her father the love she thinks he needs, which sums up her holding his hand, sitting next to him and sleeping with us. Is she trying to nurture him with spousal or motherly instincts? I think she feels I'm a threat, mostly because I'm loving and give her attention her bio-mother never did. Please don't think I'm jealous of my boyfriend and his daughter's relationship, I just want  him to raise her right and stop her from running the show.

I'm at the point where if things don't get better I'm going to leave. It gives me anxiety when they pull up in the driveway because I know it's show time and so me and his son will quietly slip behind stage for the weekend. Ugh!!!
1 Responses
134578 tn?1602101550
It's quite possible that this girl is trying to make up for the lack of connection between her parents, especially since she will have clear memories of them as a couple and the bedrock of her life and now that is disrupted.  It is too bad that your boyfriend does not see his lack of boundaries with her as harmful to her (because it is.  She should not have to take on an adult role with her father.  It is hard on her emotionally.)  See if you and your boyfriend can discuss this with a counselor.  If not, write him a clear letter about the fact that what he is overlooking is that she should not be allowed to play the role of the emotional glue in his relationship with his ex, that it is damaging to her overall since she is a child and there is also the incest taboo, and you are leaving because it breaks your heart that he is not acting like a father.  Maybe it will wake him up.
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