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Need some advice, some understanding

Bainbridge_guy257's picture

Me and my girlfriend have been together for almost a year, she hadn't been long come out of a 13 yr relationship the father of her 4 kids. They are a 12 yr old son, 11 yr old son, 6 yr old daughter and a 4 year old son and I have a 9 yr old daughter. The father has quit having anything to do with them since I came around so we have them 95% of the time, my daughter comes every other weekend. The problem I have is there is absolutely no structure and most of the time no consequences for there behavior. This has been an ongoing issue since day 1 between me, her and the kids.

Im currently working on this situation and it was going good but starting to spiral back out of control, all of the kids get food and drinks and will take them in there rooms, in the living room, in our room when I'm at work (she works at home). Well it started really bothering me because there would be food and drink spilled all in the couch, in the floor of there rooms, in the beds so I finally said something because my girlfriend would run herself ragged every afternoon trying to clean up the house. During the summer when the kids were home and she was having to work and try to watch them she told me that she couldn't watch every little move they made, I get that but I'm like why don't we start making it a habit for them to sit at the dining room table to eat and drink when they want food. She finally started staying on them about it and things we're getting better but that was short lived. Another thing is they eat what they want to, when they want to. When they home from school they start eating and will eat all the way up to supper time if we're at the house. Most of the time they eat a few bites of supper and done, then shortly after they'll go back in there for chips, snacks, etc.             Just the other night I came home from work and we were getting ready to eat supper that she cooked and ss4 and sd6 said they wanted a fruit roll up, I said let's eat supper first and you can have one. Well we started to eat and he didn't take 1 bite and said I'm done so can I have a fruit roll up and the momma said you need to eat supper so you grow and be strong well he keeps on like they all do and she gives one! I said why, she said I'm trying to get him to eat supper, well when sd6 seen that she had to have one so momma took her one and said eat supper first and then eat your candy. Next thing you know she's eating the fruit roll up and didn't eat but a few bites of her supper. I said something to her after supper and she said that there only going to be little once so if they want to eat Reese's for supper then that's what they can do! They can be disrespectful or acting out and she will tell them that she's going to do such and such as far as a consequence and never ever does it. If they ask for something and we don't answer right away they keep on on repeating it or say if we do say no not right now they don't accept that, they will keep on. So many times if she tells them not to do something I'll turn around and they'll be doing it, when I say something to her she says life's to short to worry about every little thing and that she's not going to be a drill Sargent mom. When I bring up them being disrespectful or not listening or caring what I say she says that I have to earn there respect before they will respect me. I just don't understand it, I was raised totally different. It really gets the best of me and upsets me because I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle and it's always my fault or why can't I be patient. My daughter is not perfect but I would never ever let her disrespect my girlfriend or not listen to her the way her kids do me. I really fell in love with this girl and other than the kid issues we don't have any problems but this is really bothering me because I really don't know if this is me trying to be to strict or there is a discipline issue here. 
I'm not the only one that says things, some of her family says things about them as well and she jumps down there throat about it. I've been in previous relationships and they've all had children and I've never had issues to this extent. Can someone please shed light on this situation or steer me in the right direction please? Thanks

notarelative's picture

You've talked to GF and it does not seem that things are changing. So, make a decision. Three choices. Decide you are ok with how GF parents, or move out and date, or move out and break up. 

stepmomnorth's picture

My skids are super messy as well and they eat more snacks and more often then my biological kids. I too would rather the kids eat their snacks at the dinner table rather than on my living room couch. They'll eat straight from the bag of chips on my couch.... And my partner says nothing and I sit there biting my tongue. I think it's going to have to be a little give and take. I think you'd have to pick which battle are worth fighting. For example what bothers you the Most.. Work on those items and expect your house will likely be a bit messier than you'd probably like due to having so many kids. 

It's so important to keep those lines open with your partner to discuss what is bothering you and why. You could come up with a solution together. Get together and have a sit down with the kid to outline the new food rules. That way they'll know in advance. For example perhaps your partner could tell the kid, please eat the snacks at the table from now on. Also.. Maybe you could try to have your partner ask them to clean up their mess after their done. 

JRI's picture

With 4 young kids being parented differently, you are going to have a long battle ahead of you, either with the 4 of them + Mom or with yourself.  I'm guessing she goes easy on them because of the breakup. 

I'd take some time to reflect on this relationship.  If Mom understands your concerns and works effectively to make the changes you two agree on, that's one thing.  If she resents your input or backslides, that is something else.  I'd hate to think of you 5 years from now when they are 17, 16, 11 and 9, dealing with 4 undisciplined kids and a mom who resents your input.  Good luck.

stepmomnorth's picture

Yes you can read all about how it sometimes plays out on my post Blum 3 it's hard when a partner is passive, due to guilty parent syndrome or whatever and won't discipline their kids. Youre in a step parent role but not able to do much in the way of discipline so it's a constant battle of having to discuss the issues with them and be able to rely on them to hear your concerns and follow through. 

caninelover's picture

She doesn't see the need to impose limits.  These children are young and right now the worst that will happen are food spills.  Wait until the teen years - with no rules, limits or boundaries these kids will likely struggle.  

If you've talked to her and she disagrees and doesn't see the need for changes - then there you have it.  You can look at blog after blog here to see what happens when these kids get older and it isn't pretty.  I would seriously re-evaluate whether this is the right relationship for you.

And please use birth control with this woman.

Tenn9lov's picture

How big is your house? How much money do you make? Do you own several couches? How about tv/gaming systems? Does your house have a large basement? With the way things are going, plan on the little darlings sticking around! No consequences and no boundaries equals future unemployed basement dwellers. Now is the time to decide what you want for your future. If uneducated, unemployed couch potatoes is what you want then your well on your way. If not, now is the time to tell your gf that she better get her kids and her house in order! 

CLove's picture

Youve tried discussing the issues with your partner. Its a problem that others are bringing up, and she doesnt think she needs to make any changes, doesnt see their behavior as a problem.

It will get worse, these issues will expand and multiply. Spills and disrespect today, stealing and using your credit card tomorrow.

SO, you should consider that she is a crappy parent and you will be miserable because of it if you stay living together.

Date. See how that works out.

Because seriously - the way youve detailed things, I dont see any future improvements being made and kept.

We have a "dont eat anywhere except dining table" rule that is pretty hardcore. SD15 keeps that rule. We all do.

Now as to the snacks - well disengage from that. If shes ok about dinner/meals not being eaten in favor of snacks, ok, great, but if you are paying for all that food, I would recomend you stop doing that. Pay for YOUR and YOUR KIDS food and thats it.

The disrespect comment "respect must be earned" doesnt apply here. You are the adult in the house and MUST be TREATED with respect, whether or not they actually HAVE respect in their hearts for you or not isnt the point. ACTING disrespectful to someone in their household MUST NOT be tolerated.

If your partner doesnt have your back on this, you can approach it as "I am to be treated with respect in my household, I dont care if they respect me or not, that is inconsequential, but I will be treated respectfully. As a consequence of being treated with disrespect I will take away electronics or [desired thing] and you WILL back me up, or I WILL move on..."

Winterglow's picture

YOU have to earn THEIR respect?! Is she as clueless in other ways too? So that goes for teachers? Police officers? Other adults? I'm sure that goes down a treat, "Sorry officers, he won't answer your questions until you've earned his respect... "

Why waste your time with this woman and her offspring? Life is too short to put up with their crap. 

tog redux's picture

Your girlfriend is a lazy parent, and she justifies that with her "life is too short to stop them from eating candy for dinner" nonsense.  Why she had 4 kids, I can't imagine, though maybe she was too lazy to prevent them, too.

You seem to NOT be a lazy parent, who wants to have rules and structure for your daughter.   You two are never going to co-exist peacefully because you want reasonable rules, and she wants none. You want to be a parent, and she wants to be a pal.

I say get your own place and just date so your daughter isn't affected by her kids (who are inevitably going to fail at growing up and launching).