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Parenting Stepchildren/Boyfriend having difficulties with my kids.


QUESTION: I am a single mother of 2 boys (ages 13 and 9).  I divorced my ex 6 years ago.  I started dating my current boyfriend almost 5 years ago.  I was really cautious about allowing my kids to meet him until I felt there was something worth meeting.  He is about 10 months younger with a son that is 11.  The only thing about his son is he has the mental capacity of a 7 year old.  That in itself has been a struggle.  We recently moved closer to my kids because my mother was taking care of them why I focused on bettering my education.  Now that we are around my kids all the time it is getting difficult to deal with my boyfriend.  He was raised by stern parents.  I was raised with several different step parents.  He has never been there for his own son even when he lived closer.  Now he is being very aggressive towards them.  He gets frustrated and aggravated very easily when my boys are just being kids.  Just the other night he go so mad he was up in my 9yr old's face looking like he could hit him anytime.  My kids both looked to me for help.  This was a hard thing to witness as a mother.  I told him that he overstepped his bounds and that I couldn't keep doing this.  My ex is still really hateful with me and definitely towards my boyfriend.  He tries to hold anything little against me even though I have full custody.  I am worried about what might be said to him,especially since when my boyfriend apologized he asked my boys not to tell their dad.  With not having any parenting skills and then trying to deal with my kids, I am concerned about continuing the relationship.  If I do I need some advice for him to be able to learn self control and his place when it comes to my kids.  Any advice would be grateful.

ANSWER: Chasity

Please realize that nothing that you can do or say will change your boyfriend ...unless he wants to change.

Now assuming that for whatever reason he does not change, is this the person you want to be the male role model that your children learn from? This a question that only you can answer.

I think the most important thing you said in your email was "My kids both looked to me for help". As their parent it is your responsibility to provide the environment that keeps them safe and feeling secure.  It is up to you to set the boundaries of what you want to have happen in your home and who you want to influence them.  They learn by watching and trying out what they see.

With the following statements you said "I am concerned about continuing the relationship" and "I was really cautious about allowing my kids to meet him" reflect some very important concerns that you have.

I am not able to tell you what to do.  It is up to you to decide what is best in the situation.

Remember that it is not only what is best for you but also what is best for your children.

As a mom I know that you already know this, but it is important for you to also know that from my point of view as a coach, father and stepfather, that it is vital to keep the best interests of your children in mind as you make your decision.

Now if you decide that your boyfriend is worth keeping in your life and if he wants to learn some parenting and anger management (dealing with frustration) skills please let me know as we could work with him.

Here is an article that I wrote about discipline in step parent families. It may help.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the help.  I have since talked to him and recommended some parenting classes, especially since the words that he told me and my kids were "I don't know how to be a father"  He told me that unless it is mandated by court then he was not going to go to any.  I am not sure how to deal with this one.  I told him it would be beneficial to all the kids and our relationship too.  He didn't have anything to say.  I personally have taken a few parenting classes voluntarily and I enjoyed them.  I know our relationship is strained from my disability case and needing him to come up with all the finances.  So I am torn between giving him the benefit of the doubt and letting things blow over or to just let things go.  At times like this he seems so immature.

From your boyfriends response, he is not willing to make the changes necessary to be a better step parent.  So you must decide if he is the person that you want in your life and as a role model for your children.  

Here are some questions to ask yourself .... will he be there for your children?.. what do you want long term from this relationship?.. and how are you benefiting from it?

You do know in your heart and gut what your decision is.  Trust in your instincts.


Parenting Stepchildren

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Rick Olson


As a stepparent of 4 children and a family coach, I can answer questions about the issues that arise in step-parenting including discipline,blended families, boundaries and guidelines.


I have 18 years as a stepfather, and over three years as a family coach focusing on unifying, strengthening and empowering families.

My wife and I have written 2 books on Family FUSE Your Family - Family: Unify Strengthen Empower! and Raising Families

BA(Recreation Administration) Grad Studies in Urban and Regional Planning and Design Certified as a LifeSuccess Consultant/Coach

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