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May 24th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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mcfly mcfly is offline
Lil' Old Lady In Training
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,415
Hi everyone! Hope y'all don't mind if I jump in with a question? I think I'm going to be spending quite a bit of time on this forum pretty soon haha.

So, a short backstory. My fella has a 10 year old son from a previous marriage, he is on great terms with his son's mom (and so am I, which is awesome), and we get him every second weekend. (I've only been part of this for a short time, as we only recently moved in together.) He's such a great kid and I absolutely adore him, and he seems to really like me too, which is an awesome start. Buuuut of course there are problems.

The big things for me:

-I don't know when it's appropriate to discipline him, if it is at all. Little things like if he asks for ice cream for breakfast I will say, "nope, your options are cereal or eggs with toast" or something and Paul has encouraged me to do so and he backs me up on it. But other stuff, I don't know where my place is. There have been a couple of small incidents (for example, he plays too rough with my pet rabbit sometimes - it's accidental, he is not trying to be cruel) and I've told him to please be more gentle or the rabbit will have to go back in his cage. He listens well, apologizes, and obeys immediately, so I'm fine with leaving it at that, but Paul will sometimes snap at him and angrily tell him that he'd better listen to me. I appreciate the backup, but I really don't feel like it's necessary in this sort of situation.

-I am REALLY not a fan of the way Paul encourages him to be masculine. For example, he is a bit scared of the dark and Paul doesn't give him ANY sympathy, and he actually berates him for being a sissy girl. I think that's an awful thing to say to a kid! Just because he's a boy doesn't mean he HAS to be brave and tough all the time. But again, I don't feel like it's my place to correct this or alter Paul's parenting strategies - his son, not mine. So I don't get involved, and I don't say anything.

So clearly we need to have a talk about this and lay out our expectations clearly. I just want to do it in a way that won't make him angry or upset. I don't want to criticize his parenting methods or take on more responsibility than he wants me to.

I was originally going to feel things out and see how it went, but now that we have an unexpected baby on the way, ironing out our parenting strategy differences is becoming much more important to me. I will NOT tolerate my son being called a sissy or a girl for not "manning up" (especially at a very young age) nor will I tolerate my daughter being discouraged from being brave or tough, or allowed to be whiny due to her gender. (We don't know the sex yet.) And I don't want to treat our child together significantly differently - that just isn't fair. I suppose I'm also a bit biased here because my dad was VERY strict and I was terrified of him. We are close now and I do believe that his strict discipline helped make me a better person in many ways, but I feel that he was unnecessarily cruel sometimes, and I don't want to perpetuate that. Y'know?

How do you approach these sort of issues?

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