New Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-11-2013

Blending families

Hello. I'm a single father of a 4 year old boy. His mother is barely in his life so there are some issues there. She is an addict/alcoholic. He has minor developmental issues due to her drinking while pregnant. Still, he's a typical 4 year old boy. Rambunctious, always on the go. Happy, sings and laughs. A real joy most of the time. A little annoying even for me, when his motor won't stop. But overall a good kid, minds his manners, and only throws the types of tantrums you would expect of a 4 year old.
I recently cemented a relationship with a woman I've been seeing a while and she moved into the house with her 2 daughters ages 10 and 7. They are also basically good girls and fairly typical. However, the 7 year old does have pretty bad problems with discipline and respect. Her own mother admits as much. Admits to spoiling her, giving in way too often, she sasses, talks back, pouts when you ask her to do almost anything. Pick up her own messes, clean her room, etc. She will downright insult any meal cooked if it's not exactly what she wanted (which changes from day to day.) On the day you cook spaghetti she hates it, but the day you take her out to eat she cries if it's not to a restaurant that has spaghetti. She does have good days where here behavior is tolerable, but they are overshadowed by the horrible horrible days. Her mother has some severe anxieties on the bad days.
Now, the problem has been getting the 2 little ones to get along. The 7 year old perceived my 4 year old son as taking her place. No matter how much you try to reassure her that she is loved, she is jealous that he is babied more than her. Her mother feels guilt because she is helping me with my son and isn't giving her daughter the attention she is used to.
So, the real problem started when the 7 year old started bullying my son. When they moved in, both their mother and I agreed to help each other with discipline issues. I told her I wanted her to help me with my son in teaching him right from wrong and she welcomed me stepping up to help with her 7 year old daughter. It took a lot of work but together we got the 7 year old to change her behavior a little. Now her good days are more frequent. It's still very bad and unacceptable, but she knows certain things aren't tolerated and she still reluctantly behaves but usually behaves with fewer meltdowns and temper outbursts.
But she is still bullying my son. More and more. In fact, she has started really bossing him around. Every little annoyance she says something. She just doesn't tolerate him. Sometimes she tells him good things. Like when he picks up something that might hurt him and tells him no! But most of the time it's her bossing him around and making everyone aware that she isn't happy that he's making noise or being a normal 4 year old boy. I've done my share of diciplining him for various things, but at times I feel like I'm picking on him as much as she does to keep the peace. Her mother and I started telling her that the only person she needs to mind is herself. But it doesn't stop it. She can't help herself. And it's difficult to communicate that we appreciate her telling him to stop doing things that might hurt him but yet to not boss him around the rest of the time. She isn't mature enough to know the difference.
So, the issue came when I started noticing that her mother started fussing at my 4 year old more and more. She never raised a boy, so she doesn't realize how more rambunctious boys naturally are. I think she started fussing more and more at him because she got tired of always fussing at her daughter and wanted to put the blame on him for the disorder. And the more she fussed at him, the more license she gave her daughter to boss him. If momma is annoyed with him then I can be too. Her momma still corrected her, but I could tell that in exasperation that her mother wanted to stop my son from doing the things that triggered her daughters behavior, rather than focusing on her daughters behavior. Let me be clear, the last 4 months have been one issue after another with the 7 year old. She is the one who causes all the real disruptions in the house. My son's behavior is difficult to deal with at times because he still has a LOT of baby in him. But it's still not atypical and not a dicipline issue as much as a maturity issue. And I've never been against correcting his behavior when it gets annoying. I just don't want him to be picked on because the 7 year old is so impossible at times.
This is starting to create some stress between me and my girlfriend that has created some bickering out of defense of our own children.
We had a good talk yesterday and I think she knows that the 7 year old is the ultimate problem. I confronted her on the outbursts toward my son. But she seemed more open to what I had to say. Yet I worry this will crop up again in the future. Any suggestions?
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