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Girlfriend concerned about boyfriend’s parenting of his daughter

Question:

I am living with my boyfriend of two years and I am concerned about how he parents his 6-year-old daughter, who lives with us part-time. He basically allows her to dictate the rules, such as what she eats. When she does not get her way, she throws a tantrum.  

She also will not do basic life skills on her own. For instance, my boyfriend brushes her teeth and wipes her after she uses the bathroom. My boyfriend has difficulty following through with discipline, and often ends up apologizing to her.  

When I have expressed my concerns and have offered alternatives in the past, he says I should keep my opinions to myself since she is not my child. He has even said that if I don’t like it, I can move out. What should I do?

 

Answer:

As parents, we all make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes and guide our children in a way that will help them be successful. 

Whenever you offer advice to a parent, you run the risk of offending or upsetting him or her. Is it possible that when you talk to your boyfriend about how he parents his daughter that he feels threatened or offended? 

Parents can have different parenting styles. It is important that you two learn to communicate and reach a compromise with one another. While you do not share the responsibility of rearing his child with your boyfriend, you do share a home and life with him. Thus, your input and concerns should be taken seriously.  

It appears that he is not willing to compromise with you. This leaves few options.  So instead of focusing on his parenting skills, ask him what his expectations are for you. How would he like you to interact with his daughter? Does he want you to take on an authoritative role or leave all of the parenting up to him? Ask him to be specific with you so you are both on the same page.  

Once you know where you stand, it is time to make a decision. Can you live with the fact that you disagree with the way your boyfriend parents and that he does not want your input? This will most likely not change. It has stopped being a problem and has become a fact. You need to either accept this fact or move on.  Only you know what is best for you and can make this choice.

 

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