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Old 06-07-2009, 02:57 PM
3 posts, read 28,547 times
Reputation: 23


My girlfriend has a 4 year old daughter. i am 27 she is 24... We have only been dating for 4 months and we moved in together. We both realize that we are moving pretty fast as far as our relationship go's, but we also realize that we now have a situation where i am in a little girls life who i have only known for 4 months.

I am trying to be the best person i can be for her and I wanted some advice hopefully from someone who has gone through a similar situation.

here is a little background:

The girl's dad is a dirt bag. he claims he wants her in his life, but in the 4 months i have been dating her he has watched her 2 times, for one night each time. one of those nights he called us while we had a night planned and said he had to sleep and the daughter wouldnt sleep and he demanded we pick her up.... so he actually watched her one time in 4 months. he missed her bday ( and didnt get her anything) has never paid $1 in child support, and genuinely cares less about what go's on in her life... he has probably called to talk to his daughter 3 or 4 times total..

the girl is very close to her mom, but she is also very close with her grandparents who luckily live a block away so they babysit whenever we ask. its a pretty good situation..

i guess my questions or areas where i need help are, what can i do? My girlfriend obviously does not want me disciplining her child, i understand why and all that, but her daughter will flat out scream her head off at me over whats on TV, or how i eat, or whatever .. and my girlfriend says nothing back to her(ex: you don't talk to Dave like that) she just looks at me... the other thing that is weird is this only happens when my girlfriend is around, if its me and her daughter there are zero problems.

At the end of the day the daughter is a great girl, and I already am getting attached to her, i jsut would like to get some advice to make sure I do things the right way.

Thanks in advance!

Old 06-07-2009, 03:25 PM
2,466 posts, read 4,036,363 times
Reputation: 1270
First off I would like to say Kudos to you for wanting to do what is right by your girlfriend's daughter.

As far as the disciplining goes, yes that should be primarily left up to your girlfriend. You just need to be that little girl's friend and not take on the role of baby daddy.

Right now I think the little girl is pushing the envelope and trying to get a feel for where she stands in this relationship. I think the mother (i.e. your girlfriend) is waiting to see just how you hold up to being part of this small family as well. Everyone is trying to get adjusted to this new situation.

There are ways that you can get the child to hopefully stop screaming at you without actually disciplining her. For example, when she starts to scream at you, calmly say "Susie (or whatever her name is) dear you don't need to scream at me I'm standing right here, can you talk to me in a normal voice so I can understand you better?" Or you can say, "Susie, I can't understand you when you are yelling at me, can you repeat that in a normal voice so I can understand you better?"

As far as the t.v. goes, you can try and find a compromise on what you both are watching. Or get her excited about watching what you are wanting to watch. You could say, "Susie, would you like to watch Nascar with me? Lets see how many wrecks there is before the race is over." Or tell her that you will watch something with her that she wants to watch, if she will watch something you want to watch with you.

Maybe, by remaining calm and still speaking up for yourself without threatening punishment or discipline, it will get your girlfriend to speak up for you as well.

I wish you luck. You have just entered the Twighlight Zone.
Old 06-07-2009, 06:13 PM
Location: NW Montana
283 posts, read 615,540 times
Reputation: 258
Four is a TOUGH age! You are a brave soul. They are still a toddler, but with higher language skills. The best advice I have is to be her friend and don't try to be another "parent"... yet. My oldest daughter was almost three when my husband moved in with us. She has a father like you described, so after a couple years she began to become attached to her stepdad and then he was comfortable sharing discipline duties to a point. As for her yelling at you and such, I would politely tell her that you can hear her or that it hurts your feelings when she does that. Tell her you want to be her friend and friends don't talk to each other like that. Her mother, even if she is watching how you handle it, should be backing up on her a little, though.
Old 06-07-2009, 06:31 PM
47,578 posts, read 55,147,231 times
Reputation: 22052
First of all, I don't believe shacking up is a good way to go about it because it's terrible for kids to have a line of mom's boyfriends moving in and out of the home, especially men the mother doesn't know for more than a few weeks. You might be great but really after just 4 months, your girlfriend really doesn't know you well and if it were some other guy, she could be exposing her child to a pedophile rapist.

Another problem is that she gets close to her live in step dad and in another few months, you two call it splits, you pack up and head on out. Step dad number two comes moving in, same thing -- there's no stability in that.

If you want what's best for that girl, the best thing would be to provide her a permanent family. A real step dad who adopts her. At age 4, since she has no contact or bond with a biological father, she's young enough to be adopted and raised as your child.

It's not going to work if she's allowed to mouth off and you're only to sit there taking it. Discipline doesn't mean spanking or beating, and you should be able to discipline a child who is living in your home, you're paying the bills to support. You should be able to send her to her room, make her take time-outs.

It sounds like she is manipulating you and her mother by misbehaving when the mother is around, knowing you're not to say or do anything about her disrepect, but when mother isn't there, there's no need to put on a show. She's already picking up that her mom doesn't expect her to show respect. That's not workable.
Old 06-07-2009, 06:43 PM
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
30,566 posts, read 38,126,375 times
Reputation: 49001
You seem like a good guy, but I'm going to give it to you with both barrels.
Aside from the fact that I don't approve of shacking up in front of a child, what's done is done. Now, whether you know it or not, YOU have a huge reponsibility for molding the little girl's future. If the relationship doesn't work out and you decide to move on, she will learn (with the help of her sperm donor) that men cannot be counted on or trusted, and she and her mother are not worth much, since men never stay very long.
You have the opportunity, if you choose, to be a knight in shining armour. To show her that she is special, valuable, and important (the role of a father).
I don't know if men who date women with children ever think past their peckers, but the mothers certainly should know how important their choices are.
As for the child's bad behavior...this is her mother's reponsibility and it sounds as if she's not doing a very good job of it. If she can't get a handle on a 4 yr old, God help her when the kid is older. Sounds as if you perhaps should have thought longer with your other head.
Old 06-08-2009, 07:08 AM
2,893 posts, read 4,926,487 times
Reputation: 1964
You don't have to "discipline" the girl in order to encourage her behavior. The big thing to remember is not to reward bad behavior. If she screams for the TV, the TV goes off. No screaming back, no fighting, no compromising, it just goes off and stays off. Most of the time, kids behave badly because they don't know how to behave well, so offer suggestions.

"If you would like a cookie/TV/game, please ask me nicely, using your nice words. I don't give cookies to anybody who screams at me or is ugly to me."

Also, anytime she does act well, acknowledge and praise her for it. "I really liked the way you asked Mom to help you with your clothes. Those were great manners and we love it!" Reward the behavior you like, don't reward the behavior you don't. And don't forget that for many children, negative consequences count as reward.

Good luck!
Old 06-08-2009, 08:37 AM
6,426 posts, read 8,823,472 times
Reputation: 10580
Oh for chrissake, what the heck are you doing shacking up with someone you're barely acquainted with, one with a small child? So many things wrong here. If your girlfriend was my sister, you damn well better believe I'd be reading her the riot act, and you too.

Your girlfriend is a lousy mother for doing this, and you're not much better for forcing this little girl to live with some man who's nothing to her. You're most likely not the last mom will bring home.

Get the hell out of there. Geez.
Old 06-08-2009, 08:46 AM
3,646 posts, read 8,769,167 times
Reputation: 5375
In my younger days, I shacked up with a guy with a daughter. She was 3 at the time. The break up was very painful for me, and from what I heard, her too.

After that I wouldn't never even date someone with kids. The memories of that little blonde hurt too much. Even now, 15 years later, I still think about her and wonder about her.

As to your original problem (the one you WANTED advice about)... it's the mother's fault. If she refuses to do something about it the problem will just get worse. As an adult in the home, you should be afforded respect. Then again, you could just be another guy shacking up with mom for a few weeks, and she (daughter) is trying to guard her emotions and get you to leave BEFORE she grows too attached.

Man up. Marry her or move out.
Old 06-08-2009, 09:01 AM
1,133 posts, read 2,283,873 times
Reputation: 755
Bottom Line:

It is not your child, period. If the mom does not want you to offer discipline, or you don't feel that its "your place" to at least give some verbal behavior modification, then you need to split.

Mom does not respect or trust you enough to discipline her child. That will not change, trust me. Mom will always look at you cockeyed for disciplining her out of control brat, that is just the way it is. Raising another mans child is no easy task, and if it is already this bad in the begining, it can just get worse.

At least leave now before the daughter gets too attached. It will not get better, sorry. You are still young, so is mom and daughter. Allow them (and yourself) an oppurtunity to find another person who may be better suited to deal with this situation.
Old 06-08-2009, 09:34 AM
199 posts, read 539,863 times
Reputation: 108
I think it is awesome that you want to be involved...although you may not want to discipline teh child,,IMO , you don't have to put up with her screaming at you either...The little girl is probably feeling threatened about you when you are around her mom as it is plain that she feels she "owns" her mom.. so I understand teh screaming only in front of her mom...but insteda of discipling (time outs etc) You can just tell her to please speak to you politely because you treat her with respect and that you deserev soem too. She just needs soem assurance so spoiling her a bit is not harmful either But the screaming...you need to say something lightly... or talk to your girlfriend about it?

I comeacross this sitauation quite a few times since my son is 2 1/2 and when we are in a gp sometimes there are moms who tend ot ignore their children even if they know it's wrong.. For instance a child was hitting my son and teh mother just stood there mum... (that's not what's happening with you , just a situation where I cn't discipline the boy and his mom is not either) so I seperated them and said "I don't think what you are doing is right" and moved away from the area .

You obviously can't do that but you can IMO say "Little girl.... I don't scream when your watching tv right? Could you please let me watch my show too? " If she does keep quiet or shows signs of listening tell her that you apprecaite it and ask her if she wants to watch it with you after your show is doen you shd sit and watch a show of her choice with her?

Again, I'm no expert
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