Specific Situations > Young Widowed Parents

Boyfriends kids...How to handle

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New territory again for me...I've dated men with kids (teens) but until now it was a "Not my problem not my kid..I'll just smile and agree with everything then go on my merry way".. I didn't love the guy...I kept everything separate (all the nitty gritty stuff like kids, homes, finances) separate. Just enjoyed my time with them and when it ended it ended.

But I'm in love with this guy. He works his ass off between a full time job, 100 acre farm, taking care of extended family, etc. My oldest son likes outdoor work and volunteers to help on his farm... Boyfriends kids do nothing. No responsibility..never have. 22 year old son well is a train wreck but never comes around (doesn't want to do any work).. Just parties and stays with his mothers parents who enable him.

Daughter is sweet and no a trouble maker at all. But her Dad waits on her left and right. She has animals she takes to the fair every year. Her Dad does all the work. Feeding, cleaning..twice a day. She does nothing.

When she was at 4-h camp she called her Dad to bring her Taco Bellcsuse she hates the cafeteria food. He didn't do it but would've if he was in town. He packs her lunch, cleans up after her...My boys especially think it's over the top (especially when their 9 year old sister does some of the housework and has packed her lunch since she was 7).

I have good kids...I busted my ass for 10 years (even though I made mistakes in my personal life..I raised responsible kids). Boyfriend has noticed the difference and does back me in my parenting style with MY kids. He asked if it was ok..and it works well with teenage boys especially.

I hate seeing him worked to the bone..and would like to see his kids start having more responsibility but it's really not my place is it??-Suggestions on how to approach this so it's HIS idea not mine (and throw the crazy cocaine head ex with absolutely no parenting skills and it's a hot mess). I don't see us living together/married for several years..but we are at each other homes 5 or 6 days a week.

Guess we can't pick who we fall in love with huh?? Should I step back or help him subtlety address this? (I have never said a word to him about this..just observation after 6 months of being together)


My opinion: correct, it is not your place to teach NG's kids responsibility (as defined by you). I don't intend for that to sound harsh, it is just that everybody's perception of responsibility and the things that are important to them are different. You are entering their lives seeing a snapshot at this point in time. The things that came before aren't necessarily apparent...the challenges they have had, the characteristics they have worked on, the struggles they overcame or gave up on, those may not show right now. There is backstory to everyone.

It sounds a little like you don't like NG's parenting style. It is NG's choice to wait on his daughter hand and foot, make her lunches, clean up after her, and take care of her animals. Parenting styles and expectations differ in every household. Since you're not living together, and this is still relatively new, you might want to just bite your tongue. However, when his kids are at your house, you can say something like 'NG's DD, could you please set the table for dinner?' or something like that.

NG may admire the independence your kids exhibit (but he may also silently not endorse other behaviors). He may wish his kids exhibited some of the same characteristics as yours (and he may also wish your kids exhibited some of those that his possess). If he wants his kids to become more responsible, he will tackle it in his way. I don't recommend you do anything other than set a good example (sometimes easier said than done...)


Not harsh at all..I need to hear it. I've said nothing..he only sees his daughter 60-70 percent of time. You're right it's his job. And yeah..I'm not that fond of his parenting style. But they aren't my kids. -and his daughter is 15..it's not like she's 5..

He has admitted that him and ex used to take lots of trips and kids were always at grandparents. Basically grandparents raised them in the early years. He had a much better paying job and worked 65-70 hours a week (which he quit and took a pay cut to spend more time at home..which made things actually worse when they were married).

The daughter thinks I'm the "fun girlfriend" and actually that's probably best I stay in that role. I think our blended vacation and my sons (both of them) resentment toward the lack of responsibility made it more apparent to me.

Ugh...all this stuff is just complicated.

Sugarbell, I bet he's doing some of what he's doing because her Mom is such a train-wreck, and he acts out his caring as a means of compensation.  Her Mom would probably also freak out if he made his daughter do more for herself, and it might be pain avoidance.  Thinking about his decisions this way might help.  I agree, it's likely not for the best for her development of responsibility, but he is probably the one who has to figure that out and find a way to a different place.

Take care,
Rob T

You're right Rob.

My smart ass 14 year old is NOT helping the situation. Him and NG get along great but he has no tolerance for it. He also doesn't always have a filter so I have warned him to keep his big mouth shut..He did make a comment to NG and his daughter about the Taco Bell thing saying "What kind of camp has parents bring fast food when you don't like camp food?? That makes no sense."

He also got the pissiest on vacation because we ALL were cleaning up the condo while she stayed in bed sleeping...He kept looking at me mumbling "What the hell Mom?"..

I think I just need 48 hours with him kid free...Trying to get their dynamics figured out is a major headache.


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