I need advice or tips on how to compromise with my new fiance about "parenting indifferences" with my 9 yr old son.

Meredith - posted on 02/15/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I am no longer a "single mom" - yea :o) But, my finace and I have very different views on disciplining my 9 yr old son. We come from 2 very different upbringings - mine was very comfy, suburbia, catholic school, sports and supportive parents. His was quite the opposite! Family of all boys, dad was non-existant, mom was the one who cracked the whip!
This is such a hard thing to handle. He's says I'm too soft - I say he's too hard....Any advice on how to handle a hard headed man (who has raised a son of his own already) and help him realize all kids are very different as much as they are all the same.... My heart is so heavy.

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Denikka - posted on 02/15/2013

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This is your son and your decision.
Especially coming in so late to the game, your son is now 9 yrs old. Your fiance really has no right to dictate how you should parent your child.

That being said, it doesn't hurt to listen to and try to see your fiance's point of view. How soft are you on your son? It's not uncommon for single parents to allow their children to get away with more things. Being the only one there, you're trying to *make up for* the lack of the other parent.
Watch for behaviours you wouldn't tolerate or would bother you if it was another child doing them (like if your fiance's child was the same age as yours and displaying the same behaviours. Would it bother you? Especially in the long run.) Don't make excuses as to WHY your son may be acting a particular way on any given day (tired, hungry, cranky, bad day, etc etc etc) Just view the behaviours from an outsiders viewpoint and make notes on them and your usual reaction to them.
If there are a lot of them, then maybe you are being too soft and you may have to re-evaluate your parenting tactics.

You can also talk to your hubby about specific behaviours that bother him. If there are things that really bother him that are more towards bad behaviour (constant whining, not doing chores/cleaning up after himself, etc) then work with him to find out the most important ones and perhaps work on those.

If your is displaying negative behaviours, it should be addressed anyway. But he does have 9 years of a specific lifestyle, specific habits, etc that need to be understood also. Even if you have a sudden realization that your kid is a total brat and needs a total overhaul, it won't happen over night. It will be a slow process, whether it's one issue or a hundred. So figure out what's most important and focus on those things.

Jodi - posted on 02/15/2013

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Given he is a "new" fiance, at this point he needs to butt out. It isn't his kid. At this point, he should be leaving the discipline up to you, the person who has been in charge of discipline for the last 9 years of your son's life. If he steps in and starts cracking the whip, your son will grow to resent him, which won't be fun for any of you. If he had a similar parenting philosophy as you, it wouldn't be quite such an issue for your son.

I have a boy in one of my classes at school whose behaviour started to escalate when he got a new stepfather that he didn't like. He now has major anger issues that are affecting his life in a major way.

Having said all this, I do think you guys should sort this out before (and if) you decide to have any children together, because clearly this will become an ongoing issue if that is the case.

Cecilia - posted on 02/15/2013

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I kinda agree with everyone else. But in some way i don't. I do feel he needs to be involved in parenting and that it is what you want. I got remarried when my kids were 13,11,10. My husband tells me i coddle my children and i need to be tougher. Eh i don't agree with him. BUT i do feel that a relationship is learning to compromise. Mind you he grew up in a military family and i grew up in what i would consider a hippy type of family.

what we did is sat down and i wrote down discipline rules. For example,no hitting. no yelling, if you find you raising your voice simply walk away and give yourself a time out. He found this rule silly at first but after 3 years he sees that it is the best rule ever.( With teens especially. If you yell, they yell, and no one is listening. ) Figure out your base rules. Everything should be consistent no matter who is in charge.

Now that we have a 2 year old together we sat down and redid the rules to include her and how to deal with her situations. He was gun-ho about doing time outs with her. I explained to him that until she is 3, they do nothing but frustrate both her and the person doing the time out. Instead I taught him how to do distractions. We did go over proper time-out methods for when the time comes.

I do allow him to parent his way as long as the basic rules are in place. Sometimes he can shock me and teach me a thing or two. He will tell the 2 year old she has to eat dinner or he'll take her tutu's(she is my princess and i make her about a tutu a week).But believe it or not he starts to put away her tutu's and begins to remove the one she is wearing and she will start putting food into her mouth. Is that the way i would do it, no.. I don't believe in forcing anyone to eat. I would have put her food up and given her nothing else to eat but that plate. But his way got it done. No one was harmed. And i learned sometimes being tough on her worked.

Just find a way to allow both of you to find a middle ground that works for you. Yes sometimes his opinion will be ignored. Explain to him that you feel very strongly about some things and you're not willing to change your mind at the time. Go ahead and look up research that is against strong discipline methods and show him. Come to the table prepared and stand your ground when it comes to your core values of parenting. Let him know that you've done it alone for so long that you're stuck in your ways and how would he feel if your soft method was pushed on him when he was raising his other.

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Mardi - posted on 02/15/2013

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Maybe you need to have a way that he can voice his oppion, but through you, be it messages, emails, whiteboard etc.
Maybe set some ground rules and punishments he can dish out, that aren't intrusive and along the lines of what you would choose.

Your child, so your right to set the boundries. Its hardly realistic to expect this person to support you, but having nothing to do with your dependant child, so you need to work on a fair compromise, and also spell out the deal breakers while your at it, its only fair.

Dove - posted on 02/15/2013

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Your kid, your rules. If YOU can compromise on some things... fine. If you don't want to compromise.... he needs to accept it or move on. Relationships are all about communication and compromise, but when there are existing children being brought into the relationship... it is not fair to THEM to 'throw away' the way they've been raised just to make the new partner happy.

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