Different Parenting Styles

by Anonymous
(USA)

My soon to be husband has 3 kids (20, 18, 6), the two older ones are boys and the youngest is a girl. I also have a son who will be 6 soon. My fiancé thinks he is the king of parenting. He says my son is too soft and that almost no single mother can raise a man properly. My son's biological father is not around much, although he does see my son sometimes (maybe once a month, if we are lucky) so it was pretty much always him and me, until we moved in with my fiancé when he was about 4.


My fiancé treats his daughter like a princess who we get 50% of the time, she's a fairly good kid...she likes to tattle on my son constantly about anything, she's known to exaggerate and I've listened to her antagonize my son just because, but this doesn't happen in front of me or her dad, of course. She plays a role to her dad that I've caught on to. She is not an out of control kid, she is well behaved for the most part but I feel like she is working to make my son look bad. She is extremely spoiled, more so from her mother but dad too. Anytime the two of them have gotten in trouble or she has done something, he says "well she never used to do this, she knew the rules but now she has a partner in crime (my son)". Which then puts the blame on me and how I've raised my son thus far.

My son is a energetic, loving, crazy little boy. He has several cousins who he has always been close with, so it's not like he's not used to being around kids. I always had him in daycare since I was a working mom and I try to keep him exposed to the "real" world as much as you can for a young kid. I make sure he knows about respect, how to talk and listen to authority figures (adults), being polite, knowing right from wrong, the importance of education, I keep him involved in extracurricular activities, he does great in school (even though he's only in kindergarten) all of his teachers and care takers have never complained or had a bad word to say, but my fiancé thinks he is the most ill-behaved little boy there is! Don't get me wrong, he may not always listen to me on the first time I tell him to do something, he may try to negotiate with me and I work my hardest to make sure I let him know that my word is law.

I don't expect him to be perfect, he's learning. My fiancé always says he's trying to help me, but he's more like telling me what I need to do and not do and that I don't let him play the male role in my son's life, which is not true. I can and will openly listen to suggestions and if he was to step in on the situation and say something that would be fine to, but he'd rather point the finger and tell me what's right and wrong.

I call it total BS. It was hard for him to step in to that role and whether he admits it or not, he just really accepted the fact that he has to step in to that fatherly role or my son will feel outcasted. He says no matter what little boys will always get treated differently than little girls, in the sense that they make not get as many hugs and kisses as a little girl....I get that. But he wants to tell me what to do as a mother and to keep playing the mother/father role rather than helping be the "other" parent.

It seems like no matter what I say when we try to talk, I'm wrong because this is my first child and I have no clue how to raise him. This is the only conflicting matter between him and I, other than that we get along great. It's very difficult to talk to him about this topic though. He is a choleric personality (if any of you are familiar with this) and very matter of fact, know it all type of person where as I'm a phlegmatic which is more of a laid back, no conflicting type person.

One quick example that upset me on how my fiancé will react in some situations. My son woke up in the middle of the night and screamed (I did not hear it but my fiancé did), he said he screamed "like a little girl" and was laughing as my son walks in to my room to tell me he had a bad dream. And my fiancé sat there and kept laughing saying that was the funniest thing and he sounded like a little girl. To me, you are belittling a child when you do that. If he wanted to laugh about it after the fact...fine. But to do it in the child's face, bothers the hell out of me and I said something to him which hence brought on another "discussion".

I don't know, I'm almost at my wits end. I feel like I'm making effort to be a little bit harder and he says he's trying his best to be a little bit less harsh. I just don't think he sees me doing it enough and therefore doesn't think I am, he works until 9pm most nights. I know I'm missing details and I'm sorry for it being so long. I'm just at a loss....

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Mar 05, 2013
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Bullying
by: Anonymous

In my opinion, your fiancé is a bully. You are the only thing that stands between your son and your fiancé's destructive behavior with your son. You may feel you need your fiancé, but in my opinion your son does not, and the relationship between him and your fiancé is detrimental. Unfortunately for you, the responsibility that makes you your son's protector, and your feeling for your fiancé produces a real conflict for you. However, as his mother, you must protect your son from this bully, because you are all he's got. From the tone of your letter, it appears to me that you understand this, you are just having trouble admitting it.

Mar 05, 2013
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...
by: Anonymous

i agree wih you, laughing at a scared little boy? that IS belittling and being treated that way can/will effect him later on. my dad treated my brother much like you're describing with the excuse of "toughening him up" my brother is a junior in high school now, and one of the most introverted people i know. he hates school, he has very few friends, and he absolutely despises our dad.. and just recently i caught him trying to get some pot. obviously this doesnt result from all similar situations but i believe whole heartedly that it was caused by the way my dad treated him. it doesnt matter how old they are kids KNOW when they are being treated differently.

Mar 02, 2013
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Controlling Stepfather
by: Laura Ramirez

I am concerned about your son and wonder if this man is ultimately going to help or hurt him. His ideas about what it means to be a man are old school and abusive. The fact that he made fun of a young child who had a nightmare and came running to his caretakers for comfort is inexcusable and is a real tell about what you can expect down the road if you don't put your foot down and establish some limits.

This man tries to make you feel insecure about your parenting, but you seem to be doing a fine job and there are plenty of examples of women who have single-handedly raised boys to become fine young men. Although you need to be firm at times, your ultimate goal is to help your child feel loved and accepted so he can reach his full potential as an adult. Please read my parenting book. It will teach you the loving yet firm philosophy that I used to raise two boys into young men who are athletes and in the process of discovering who they are and what they have to contribute to the world.

You might want to take a careful look at whether you really want to go forward with this marriage. The difference in your philosophies about parenting will continue to be an issue unless your fiance changes (and I highly doubt that he will). If you need help, I also provide guidance through my parenting coach services.

Hope this helps. Please come back and update your post to let us know what happened. Your experiences can serve as a guide post for others so please share.

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