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Discipline Of My Girlfriend's Kids

by Kris
(Oakdale, LA)

One day me and my girlfriend are sitting in the living playing a game of Jenga. Me, her and her two twins 5 years of age one boy and one girl. Well as we played everything was great until the boy pulled one of the blocks out and the blocks fell over.

He then got upset then started kind of pushing the blocks around kind of hard towards his mom and sister. At this time the mother told the boy to go to his room but instead of doing what he was told he stood up and told his mother no. She told him again, go to your room, and the boy said again "no." The mother once again tells him to go to his room and again he says no.

By this time I've had enough of the back and forth with her telling him to do something and him being disrespectful. I slap the floor next to him, and in a loud voice I told him to quit telling his mother no, and to go to his room like she had told him to do.

He began crying, and went to his room. Bear in mind these are her kids from a previous relationship.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Kris, and thanks for telling your story here. I know it can be frustrating to be around someone else's kids when you don't agree with the parent's discipline. I'm sure you just want the children to obey their mother, so that everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.

The problem is, that you will not be successful with the approach you're using. To override your girlfriend's (unsuccessful) efforts to get her son to go to bed by scaring him...may have gotten short term results of him going to bed, but long term you will alienate yourself from the children and possibly from your girlfriend as well.

What you did might not have been totally wrong if he was your son, but under the circumstances, you crossed a boundary. Things never go well when any adult bypasses a parent in the discipline of their child. It always backfires.

I suggest that you do what you need to do to keep yourself emotionally calm, and leave the parenting to your girlfriend. Love her and the children as they are. If you marry her, then down the road as a step dad, you can begin to have some parental authority, but even then she needs to be the primary disciplinarian.

I hope this helps.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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