Derekj79's picture

Powerless to intervene...my hands feel tied

I've been with this girl for over a year. She is a divorcee with 3 boys 6, 10, 12. The thing is that 2 of them have the same dad, and 1 is to another guy. When they all are home, its a constant bickering and fighting match between them which drives she and i both crazy. She attempts to control the situation but it goes in 1 ear and out the other. they are always piping up after she repramands them and backtalking has progressively gotten worse. Then when i step in as the male figure, and tell them to stop back talking with a stern voice, they cry and then she gets upset with me, which causes tension between us. She is 7 months pregnant with my daughter and I'm completely terrified of what will happen when the baby is born into this type of environment. These boys are always at each others throats, and i can see her frustration, but to me its almost as though she has accepted it as the norm. I love her and the boys and for the most part i feel that they respect me. I just feel completely helpless. Today the boys started argueing and she diciplined them, and as soon as she was done saying her piece the 12 year old talked back to her putting the blame on the 10 year old brother, I finally hit my breaking point and scolded him for talking back. He began to cry, and she got upset with me, which for me is very frustrating. I mean, am i supposed to just sit there and allow them to disrespect her and continue to fight with one another to save the arguement between she and i? i have absolutely no idea what to do or where i stand, and have considered leaving and seeking out my own apartment, and as much as i hate to say it, feel myself starting to dislike these kids and find myself secluding myself in another room to avoid being around them because its getting harder and harder to bite my tongue. I feel like its poisoning our relationship to the point of being toxic. I dont want to leave. i mean after all she is pregnant, and neither of us is financially stable enough to make it on our own. Please help. i could really use some advice on how to handle the whole situation.


StickAFork's picture

Let's see... you guys

Let's see... you guys struggle financially, don't agree on parenting styles, and have disrespectful, disruptive kids in your home.
WHY did you decide to bring yet ANOTHER child (hers by a THIRD man!!) into this chaos???
Did you magically expect something good to happen?
It won't.
You have two choices here. Let her parent her kids HER way, and when she whines, tell her she made the choice to parent them alone, OR the two of you agree to parent all these kids together.
Are the dads around? Do they go for visitation? Or is this 24/7?

I really struggle to understand why people knowingly and willingly bring innocent children into fucked up situations.

Stick a fork in me... I'm done...

Derekj79's picture

The pregnancy was not

The pregnancy was not planned, despite her failed BC, which is one of the precautions we had attempted to take,but it happened. Neither of us believe in abortion though there was discussion. The 12 yr old and 6 year old see there dads every weekend where as the 10 year old has a diff father and sees him every other weekend. when 2 of them are home things are okay, as it is when 1 is home, but the three of them are constantly picking, antagonizing, and taddling on each other. i do agree with you on the idea of letting her parent them her way, but her way doesnt seem to be working. She gets very upset and that anger and aggression is directed at all that are around her. Do i just walk it off and leave the situation each time it occurs to avoid a fight? then she says i'm hiding. Or do i stay and continue to deal with the angry uptight bitch she becomes. BTW. The reason i am not able to support myself alone is because i lost my Job of 10 years as a framing carpenter foreman due to the shitty economy and lack new construction in the area. I have since taken a full time gig at a local homeless shelter which doesnt pay that great but it is an income and close to my home saving me fuel since i can walk to work. i have even considered a second job for two reasons.1. because we need the extra money and 2. to distance myself from the situation. You are blunt but correct on your points and i think she and i will have to agree to parent these kids as a team or she will have to do it on her own as i am completely unhappy with the status of things and her attitude when things get out of hand.

Echo's picture

Ah, yes. The infamous "her

Ah, yes. The infamous "her birth control failed". Code for "didn't use it".

So, she's going to have 4 kids by 3 different men. Wow. Shocked Aside from that? These aren't YOUR kids. Stop parenting them. It's only causing you problems...it's fixing nothing for anyone. If you'd been more careful and taken your time before getting her pregnant, you would have been able to see the marginal parent she is and you could have distanced yourself and moved on. But...too late for that now, I guess.

She's their Mom. You're just the guy who does their Mom. You keep trying to parent them and they're going to resent the hell out of you which will make this even worse...if that's possible. The best you can do is worry about YOUR kid once she's born and allow your girlfriend to be whatever kind of Mom she's going to be to all of them.

If you look closely, you'll be able to predict your future. You'll hate her kids more and more, you'll dislike her more and more and you'll be raising YOUR child in a dysfunctional battle zone. If she wasn't pregnant and you can honestly say that you'd be gone if she weren't...then you need to be gone now. If you can't financially make it on your own on one job, get two. Get three if that's what it takes to pay your own bills. She works and will soon get child support from THREE men. Seems to me she's set herself up financially quite well.

I see a little girl who is now going to be thrown into this swirling vortex of shit because she has parents who weren't very responsible. Poor baby.

If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse.

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
Mohandas Gandhi

Frustr8d1's picture

I totally feel for you. My

I totally feel for you. My brother was in a similar situation and I really wanted to see him walk the other way, rather than force himself in a position where life would become miserable. As of now, you still have a choice. Walk away my friend.

Trying to survive...

Lalena75's picture

You need to sit down and talk

You need to sit down and talk with her voice your concerns and issues (warning she is pregnant and anything you say is subject to being seen as an attack on her were a little nuts when preggers lol) Try to word things like "I feel blah blah blah", ""when xyz happens I feel/do/would like" Wording them from your point of view using the word I helps it feel less like blaming her, ask questions like "I would like to know what is expected of me, how should I handle xyz. " this again keeps it blameless and helps allow her to tell you what she needs and expects from you and your involvement, and can help in negotiating a comfort zone for both of you, compromise is essential to a good relationship. If regardless of your attempts to do this is doesn't help then you must do what is best for you and if that means leaving the scene while she deals with the kids do so, or sit down and ignore it all you don't have to leave the room, sometimes just having 1 person ignoring the behavior lessens tempers sometimes it can make it worse depends on personalities. When she come at you with the you ran away and hid crap just state calmly, there was nothing for me to do your their mom so there was no reason for me to be present/say anything/be involved. Let her know if she wants your support fine (if your willing) but you have to both be in agreement how involved if you can punish/remove privileges and enforce her punishments and her yours and NEVER correct each other in front of the kids, also she may be frustrated because omg that's a lot of b-o-y energy to deal with and when you step in I bet she hears "You can't handle your children let me show you the right way." so it's going to piss her off.
They are her children and her problem in the end not yours, you sound like you care and want things to be calmer but first you have to learn to communicate and make sure your relationship comes before the kids even if it's just a foot rub in the backyard cooking dinner for just the two of you after kids are asleep or gone. Romance is always a great idea when pregnant and stressed and tired.
I wish you lots of luck.

I am not an option

IAmALady77's picture

^THIS.

^THIS.

"Hello darling, your crazy is showing...might want to tuck that back in..."

WTHDISUF's picture

Bad spot... Bad spot you are

Bad spot... Bad spot you are in. Ask yourself this: If the new baby wasn't coming, would you still be there? My guess is No. Not only do you have the Mother's Parenting to contend with, you have the influence of 2 other Men, who are somewhat involved with these kids. And then there's time--these aren't babies. They have been living like this and raised like this for a long time-it's a set pattern for sure now and they are not about to change now. ESPECIALLY when they know crying gets them appeased by Mommy Dearest. Won't be long before they are telling Daddy(s) that Momma's Mean old boyfriend is trying to control them or tell them what to do. So if anything, they will get worse as testosterone starts filling their little bodies. Boys tend to challenge their OWN Fathers at some point so you better believe they will also challenge you. Those boys will be a constant battle and in the middle of it, now you have to raise a baby girl in it.

I suggest you tell the Mom that if things don't change and she doesn't try to get on same page with you about managing these boys, you're going to be seeking to live elsewhere and will co-parent the baby with her. She's apparently used to that kind of thing... I wouldn't buy the whole failed bc thing--she knew how NOT to get pregnant--so easy to prevent it. Could be a case of Along came a Good guy and wallah, the old uterus trap. But anyway, tell her point blank you can't live like this and you don't want to raise a child in this kind of toxic environment so serious and consistent steps must be taken immediately to start changing things around. Good luck!

My happiness is my responsibility. Your kid is your responsibility.

herewegoagain's picture

Run and try to get custody of

Run and try to get custody of baby...although odds are slim. Sorry, she should know by now how to avoid pregnancy, she just wanted another baby daddy to help her with her kids and get more cs if it didn't work out. Run.

PS- what ever made you think a woman with a 12 & 6yr old by ONE guy and a 10yr old by another was any type of woman to sleep with? She either cheated on guy 1 with guy 2 or left guy 1 for guy 2 and then went back to guy 1???

whatsup

LRP75's picture

1. She is responsible for her

1. She is responsible for her children.
2. If she wants help, she has to be willing to accept it when you give it.
3. If she accepts your help, she cannot allow her children to manipulate her with their "tears."
4. If she doesn't want your help, then she alone is responsible for her children. Period.
5. Clearly lay out and define - with her and her children - how the new baby is to be treated AND what the consequences will be if she is treated differently. You absolutely 100% have a say in this - that baby is YOUR child and YOU do have the right to parent regardless of what she thinks about it.
6. Follow through with all consequences.

IF your GF is interested, creating a "Rule Board" for the home can be very, very useful. Not only does it clearly spell-out what the rules are so that EVERYONE understands the rules (including the adults), but the consequences for breaking the rules can be also written on the "Rule Board." This way, everyone starts to make "Informed Decisions" regarding behavior (including the adults). You GF clearly does not know how to be consistent with the rules and consequences, which is why her children treat her the way they do. Creating the "Rule Board" and adhering to it can help.

For example: My H was terrible at enforcing rules and teaching his children how to behave, consequently his children were B-A-D. Lots of backtalk and disrespect. The "Rule Board" clearly spelled everything out. My H, who is not great under pressure at all (i.e. when his kids were out-of-control) would be able to refer to the "Rule Board" himself and had something solid and concrete to refer to to guide his parenting. The kids hated it - of course. HOWEVER, within their first visit to our house after the "Rule Board" was made - a good 50% of the behavior stopped. Which is pretty darn significant. They hated the "Rule Board" and really tested us, but over time they just relaxed because they knew what was expected of them and what the consequences would be.

Parents who can't be consistent ultimately end up teaching kids that the "Rules Change" and thus they end up really confused and not knowing how to act. Children need to be able to predict, with 100% accuracy, what the consequences of their behavior will be. When they don't know, because the rules change and consequences are only intermittently enforced, they act out with behaviors such as you have described. Also, consider the pack animal (like wolves): if the "Leader" of the pack doesn't demonstrate good leadership skills, there WILL be dissension amongst the ranks.

If you are interested in creating a "Rule Board," start by thinking long and hard about what the rules of the house should be. They absolutely have to be both fair and reasonable - and ultimately tie into teaching them adult skills. And please make sure the punishment fits the crime. Being overly harsh for a minor offense does way more harm than good. A punishment should be enough to make the kid stop and think, but not so much that he lives in fear or rebels because it's ridiculous. Also, considering the ages of the children, it would not be inappropriate to list a different consequence for each of the children on the board. However, if there will be different consequences for the children because of age - then that MUST be explained to the children. To not explain it will come off as unfair and the children will not want to cooperate.

Then after you've made the "Rule Board," sit all of the kids down to explain it. If your GF is going to want help from you (then she has to actually ALLOW you to help! No changing her mind simply because being a parent becomes uncomfortable), then you will also stand in front of the kids to help her explain it. Your GF absolutely has to explain exactly what parts of the "Rule Board" SHE has given YOU authority to enforce. That way, the kids KNOW - in advance - that you are "allowed" to enforce it and can't come running to mommy with the tears.

Example:

Rule 1:

NO BACK-TALK
- Explain what "Back-Talk" looks like.
- Offer alternative positive behaviors to replace back-talk.
- Consequence for back-talk.

***message me if you need more assistance***

Again, we did this in our home and it WORKED wonders! My skids HATED it. I mean, they were used to being able to act any way they wanted - which was B-A-D. They were HORRIBLE monsters!!! Eventually they chilled out and just accepted the rules. Then, after a while, we were able to put it away and we haven't had to use it since.

People, children especially, take comfort in predictability.

I don't cater to crazy.