Boyfriend Not Relating Well with My 12 Year Old Son

Updated on September 09, 2010
P.H. asks from McKinney, TX
23 answers

I'm sharing this because I don't have any friends to talk to. I've been dating a wonderful guy for almost 7 months. I'm very sad because my son and my boyfriend do not seem to like each other. My son, boyfriend and I took a bike ride a few day ago.. During the bike ride my son stopped quickly and I almost ran into his bike and my boyfriend told him in a bossy tone to USE HIS SIGNALS. I felt really hurt that he would talk to my son like that. My son has never even been TAUGHT bike signals (I don't even know them!!!) I feel my boyfriend should not have talked to him in that tone of voice. IMy son told me today he didn't think my boyfriend liked him and I told him not to worry about it because he (my son) is the MOST important thing to me and if things don't change I will not be seeing my boyfriend any longer. I also told my son how WONDERFUL HE IS and how much I love him.
Anyway, I just wanted to write this because I feel alone. I needed someone to hear me and I thank you for reading my post. I realized I need to talk to my boyfriend and find out how he feels and tell him how I feel about his behavior too. I have felt angry and wish I had already told him so. Please do not judge me, but I do appreciate any words or wisdom or experience with similar experiences. Thank you.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I called my BF today and told him I needed to talk to him in person. He came over right away and I told him about my concerns regarding my son. He said he didn't realize how he was coming across with my son and that he is use to dealing with his adult children vs. a 12 year old. He said my son is so much different than his kids were at my son's age. He was apologetic and was grateful I told him about my concerns and asked that I give him a chance to make things better. I told him that he needs to leave any disipline to me and that he must always talk in a kind tone of voice. I will see what happens in the future and if things don't change then I have my answer. Thank you all for your great advice.

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

You know the answers, you have a wonderful son...that happens once in a life time..boyfriends are a dime a dozll, mabe a quarter! Dump him

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Dump the boyfriend and go out and make some friends instead. You will feel much better then.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Just tell your boyfriend what your son said, and see what he has to say about that.

If he doesn't like your son, and it doesn't get any better, by all means get out of the relationship. You will eventually hate your bf if he doesn't like your son.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi P. -

I have read many of your other posts concerning your family and was really worried about your son's father multiple suicide attempts. I think it is really the time to concentrate on your son alone, not dilute his time with a short term boyfriend. You know that your son is the most important thing, I think it would be best for you two to work through your issues.

Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Boyfriends come and go. Children are forever.

When a situation occurs that is potentially dangerous (your son stopping suddenly), people tend to just react. This propably what BF did. You need to determine if this was a one time thing, or does this type of thing happen often. Your on the right track. Sit down and have a discussion with BF.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I'd pay very close attention to these red flags. This man is in both of your lives and needs to treat you both with respect. I think you handled it well with your son. I'd speak to your BF and if he doesn't change, then I'd move on. There are plenty of mature men out there who will treat both you and your son AWESOME! Good luck to you!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Is this the only instance or does it occur regularly? Either way you have to talk to your BF, the difference being a one time occurrance warrants A talk; repetitive behavior warrants THE talk (as in goodbye). It is great that your son is the most important thing to you.

Sounds like what your BF said is not the problem as much as how it was said and you need to tell him about it. As great as you think he is, he may not be the right fit for a single mom. As for the hand signals, if you are riding on the road you all need to know them (they are very easy) is a matter of safety.

Stay strong.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I don't think anyone should be talked to like that, child or not. I get upset at my husband if he says something rude to me or uses that tone, and boy do I let him have it. I wonder if he ever talks to you like that and you overlook it? Is this how he acts usually, or is it an isolated event? Does he only act that way toward your son? If he loves you, then he needs to respect your son. If he doesn't respect your son and treat him well, I wonder if he really loves you. Even if he's not a "kid person" or doesn't know how to talk to kids, he should at the very least be polite towards him.

The only thing to do is talk to your boyfriend about it specifically. Tell him just how much it bothered you. Maybe he didn't realize he hurt your sons feelings and yours. Maybe he will try to keep his anger in check (it seems like a tiny outburst of anger). If he doesn't change then you already know what you have to do.

Your son shouldn't have to worry about whether your BF likes him... its the other way around.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You should discuss this with your boyfriend and the incident of his tone. IF he reacts defensive or other than Apologetic and willing to try harder then out the door he should go. Good job on reinforcing to your son how much you love him and telling him he is first.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Amen, Lee P! She totally nailed perfect advice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am glad that you talked to your son and let him know that he's your priority in this matter. My son was much younger when I met my husband but I made sure when we started dating that he knew that my son came first. And he totally respected that. I do think you need to sit down with your BF and let me know how you feel and make ground rules so to speak for what you will allow him to so when it comes to your son. If he does not understand then he's not the right one for you. The right one will understand and respect your feelings!

Good luck and God Bless!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It was absolutely NOT your boyfriend's place to reprimand your son. He is not your son's parent, and therefore,had no business parenting him. That is YOUR job. If you and bf do continue on your relationship, he needs to know his boundaries when it comes to your son. Especially with your son's age, he will not take well to being parented by someone who is not his parent. If there is any relationship to be had between your bf and your son, your bf needs to know his place. He needs to develop a mutually respectful relationship with your son. He needs to be told that any and all disciplining will come from you, not him. If you observe your son engaging in any behavior that you believe warrants a reprimand, YOU will address it. Your bf does not have any bond with your son, much less, the deep parental bond that you have with him that allows you to discipline him and not have your relationship negatively affected as result. Your bf needs to be told that if he is to have a relationship with you, he must respect your authority as the parent of your son. Often, men feel like if they don't step in as an authority figure from the start, they won't get respect from the child. SO NOT TRUE. The child needs to develop a positive, loving relationship with them first. They need to learn that they can trust them, and it is the ADULT's responsibility to EARN that trust from the child. We should not expect or want our kids to indiscriminately trust everyone, should we? They should only trust the people that have earned that from them. Such is the case with boyfriends. Once they develop a positive relationship and trust, and if the relationship progresses to a permanent situation, then and only then should they take on any parenting roles. And EVEN THEN, discipline should be left up to the bio parent. Again, the parental bond will never be there with the bf and the child.

My fiance, at first, tried to take on parenting roles, as he thought he was being helpful, and wanted to do his part. I quickly told him that he needed to leave all discipline or redirection of my son up to me. He was NOT to reprimand him at all if I was present - I would address any behavior that needed to be addressed. If I was not present, he could address a behavior that was dangerous in any way, but only if I was not there (which is RARE.) I also told my fiance in no uncertain terms that he is to speak to my son kindly. Even if he is redirecting him, he is to do it kindly, not in a mean spirited manner. I don't speak to my son that way, and neither will anyone else. If your bf loves you and wants to make this work with your family, he will happily oblige you on these things. Mine did.

Taking these steps took pressure off my bf to do things that he may not have been completely comfortable doing in the first place. Second, it reinforced with my son that he could trust ME because I was not letting this person come into his life and take over, discipline him, be mean to him, etc. And lastly, it is fostering a positive, trusting relationship between my son and my fiance because they are being allowed to develop their relationship in a positive way, enjoying their time together, without being complicated by discipline issues.

I definitely think that you need to discuss this with your bf, or any man that you may enter into a relationship with. Best wishes to you. I know this can be a tough situation, but I promise you, a ton of stress was alleviated from everyone in my situation when we cleared the air on this situation, and left all discipline up to me. You did a wonderful thing by reinforcing your relationship with your son after this happened, but you need to take it a step further and set boundaries and parameters for your bf with your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Was the bike incident the only example of your BF snapping at your son or have you seen other indications that they do not like each other? You gave a wonderful, loving supportive response to your son. If your BF is not willing or able to have a good relationship with your son, then you might want to find someone different who will value your son like you do. To find some friends with common interests, why don't you check into some local churches with a singles ministry or a family ministry program? Good luck!


answers from Houston on

I really hope things work out with you guys. Does your boyfriend have any kids? Maybe he was just afraid that your son would get hurt or something. I would personally address this issue with the boyfriend because if your son is not happy, this could prove to be a difficult relationship.



answers from Dallas on

First of all, I commend you for even wanting to talk about it, because too many women just don't and end up making a mistake that could seriously affect the family. I try not to judge....let's face it...none of us are perfect and I am pretty sure we have all made errors in judgment and therefore remove us from the right to judge. :)

I think the right guy would value your child as you do and not be so crass when interacting with your son. That is a red flag. That does not mean that he is a bad person, but that he may not be the best choice for you and your son. I agree that your son should always come first. Let him know that his opinion is valuable and ask him if he thinks you should continue dating this guy. Ask him the thoughts and feelings he gets about this guy, cuz sometimes kids have great intuition about relationships. Ask him what kind of man he sees you with. What are the qualities he wants your potential suitor to possess. See if you agree with those qualities and shoot for a man who possesses them. All, if not, most kids want their parents to be happy, but not if they are settling. Always keep communication a priority and maybe after you confront your boyfriend about his behavior towards your son...take a break. Your concern about your boyfriend's response is your good judgment that something is not right and your discernment is trying to guide you to make a different choice. Remember...your son is your priority. Work together in finding your perfect suitor. Most importantly pray about every decision you make, especially when it may affect your son. You are a great mom because you care enough to think about how your choices you make will affect your son. He is only 12. He won't be home forever and when he starts life on his own (like me with my kids) you want them to look back and say, " mom always made me feel important and loved. She always had my back and did what she could to always protect me." Don't let anyone ever talk you out of following your gut instincts. They are there for a reason.

Hope this helps. I wish you and your wonderful son many blessings.



answers from Las Vegas on

I think it would be good for you to clear the air with you boyfriend and let him what you expect from him with regard to your son. I would be offended also if someone had spoken to my son as harshly as that but, if your talk goes well with this guy and he takes responsibility for what he had said and how he had said it, and he seems to understand your point of view, I think you should be able to lay this matter to rest. I would keep my eyes and ears open from now on, whenever your boyfriend and son are together to see if there are any more disturbances with how they interact. If you are seeing a pattern then, I hate to say it, this guy is Mr. Almost, not Mr. Right.

I'm glad that you are putting your son first.



answers from Anchorage on

It sounds to me like your BF was simply concerned that you could have gotten hurt, and is not used to relating that type of information in a child friendly way. Talk with him about it.



answers from Tyler on

Does your BF have kids of his own? That makes a huge difference! Then add the tension that accompanies dealing with a 12-year-old and you can have some awkward moments. You gave your son the needed reassurance and thinking this whole thing through, you will do the right thing.



answers from San Antonio on

Men always need to be taught from my experiences. Has your b.f. ever been around children before in a father figure role? He may not know how to behave under certain circumstances. Your son is a child though and I think you did the right thing by telling him how he is #1 in your life and the b.f. is second, good for you, that's how it should be. I would def. talk to the b.f. about how your son feels and how that biking incident still bothers you.



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Washington DC on

You sound like a good mom, with your priorities in place. It could have been a misunderstanding, and maybe the bf is not used to being around kids? However, if he does have his own kids, this would be a sign that he is a rather dominant and difficult person, and probably not one you'd want as the father of your child...

It is possible that your boyfriend is jealous of your son, if you are so loving and caring towards your son (as you should be!!)... sometimes guys are like that - they feel a little insecure. As you said, it would be good to talk with your boyfriend about your feelings. If he is not open to talking about it, or seeing that his actions towards your son are too mean/strict, then maybe he is not the right man for you... best wishes.



answers from New York on

I think you handeld it perfectly. You told your son he is the most important part of your life and if the BF can't handle things he's gone. Children need to feel safe and you provided that for your son. People, men , who don't have kids don't know how to speak to kids sometimes. When they are frustrated they blurt out whatever they are feeling at that moment and don't realize how their outburst can affect a child. That being said, yes you should tell your BF about how you feel, and what your son feels. Depending on his reaction he is a keeper or not. On this site you read a lot about some singles putting their BF's before their kids, it's nice to read that there are a few like you who know where their loyalties lie.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Do not beat yourself up, we have all wished in hindsight we had said something at the time... but now you should bring up the subject again... clearly he needs to take a better tone with your son and he also needs to be aware that he, the boyfriend, does not know everything about your son so should not judge him. He demonstrated this by not realising that your son didn't know his signals. Maybe he would be able to teach them to you both and then practice them whilst taking another, hopefully friendlier bike-ride.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions