Can’t get along with my gf’s son
I’m 30 yrs old and my gf is 28. She has a 5 yrs old son. We have been together for 2 years and 4 months. I love her very much and we base our relationship on respect. I’m Asian and she’s American. We debated about disciplinary methods often.
The problem that we have is that I’m very stern with her son, I have high expectations on his capabilities at his age. To me teaching him to be respectful and likeable is very important at this age. He’s able to get dressed by himself, clean up his room, put dirty clothes in the hamper, brush his teeth and get ready for school, getting cereal / drinks, eat on his own, have good table manners, respecting property, say please and thank you and slowly learning new languages (all under supervision of course). When he’s with me, he is a perfect child, when he’s with his mom he’s the opposite. Very emotional, disrespectful to her, acts like his 3 yrs old, doesn’t know how to do anything on his own, doesn’t listen to me, acts like I don’t exist. We do a lot of fun things together. Whatever he wants to do or play with, if he was being respectful then I would play with him. Sometimes we have great time together laughing and learning new things but most of the time he makes me crazy. Over the years, his behavior has truly improved dramatically since I’ve disciplined him.
I don’t know if he’s like this because of me or because of his family situation. He might needs his mom attention because his mom is co parenting with his father. His father has a gf. We do not have visibility into how he’s disciplined at his house or how acts with his father’s gf. His father and his gf seems very good with him and showered him with a lot of attention.
I don’t know what to do. I always have bad temper with him because when he’s with his mom, it’s like a different child. He would glance at me if he did something wrong and then lean to in cuddle his mom like “my mom is here so, I can do whatever I want and she will protect me.” One moment he is playing and laughing with me, the next, when his mom is around he will cry for no reason, he will say that I’m mean to him and that he doesn’t like me or that he doesn’t want to live in this house.
I admit i have a very short temper because living with this everyday truly makes me crazy. I love my gf very much so I want to make it work, but just don’t know what to do. Yell at her son less? Let him do what he wants? Ignore him? Avoid him? I don’t have a child of my own and I don’t know how to react to this.