My Son Won't Be Him Self Around My Boyfriend

Updated on October 01, 2012
L.D. asks from Clay City, KY
14 answers

My 3 year old son won't act like his playful self when my boyfriend is around.. He also throws a fit when he stays with his mamaw and has to come back home. I never leave him with my boyfriend but if I walk out of the room he will talk and laugh with him but he won't when I'm around anyone have any in put cause I'm running out of ideas I just want him to be his self and want to come home when I ask him to. It's making me feel like he don't wanna be with me.

What can I do next?

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answers from San Francisco on

A three year old doesn't really understand what a boyfriend is, or what your relationship with this guy means. I think it's for the best to keep your dating life separate from your child. There's no reason for them to spend time together unless you are close to getting married.
The fact that he doesn't want to come home with you is very sad. Please, please, please do everything you can to make him feel more secure, starting with only spending time with your boyfriend when your son is not around. If he is a good man, and a good potential father, he will totally understand and support you, and if he doesn't, well then you know this guy's not worth it.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If I was shoved to Grandma's, so my mom could have fun with her boyfriend...
I wouldn't want to be around mom either. I would start RESENTING her. Put your child's needs first, maybe he'll trust you again. Maybe, he will feel like you WANT him around.

Also, WHY did you already ask the question (under another account) and post an answer in it yourself? WHY did you answer THIS question from the other account. What's your angle?

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm also a single mom, and I understand the need for some social time
away from the little one whether dating a boyfriend or going out with old friends. So, I totally understand spending some time at his grandma's or with a sitter. In my case, my daughter doesn't know where I've gone or with whom when she is with a sitter, as she doesn't understand why I sometimes want to spend time with other adults vs. her. When other adults come to our home, it's hard for her to have to split my attention. When your boyfriend is at your house, you are forcing your son to give up attention that he would normally get from you in favor of giving that attention to your boyfriend. Attention from your boyfriend is not at all the same thing to him as attention from you. Unless marriage is imminent, I'd keep the two separate. Spending time with your son and boyfriend at the same time is a way for you to have the best of both worlds, but it is a bit of sacrifice for your son. Don't force it unless your boyfriend is permanent. I'm assuming you work outside the home, so your son is already away from you a lot and in environments where he shares caregiver attention with other kids.

You say that your son makes you feel like he doesn't want to be with you. However, bringing your boyfriend into your home may be making your son feel like you don't really want to be with him, either. Refocus on attachment...set a regular routine/schedule so he knows what to expect day to day and make his world smaller (just the two of you at home).

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

L. -- your son is still a baby. What he is doing is normal, for his age. You can't make him be playful around your boyfriend if he doesn't want to, and he shouldn't have to be playful around him, either.

If there are people that you aren't comfortable around, would you want to have to keep being with them and acting like you're having a good time? Don't expect your son to do things you wouldn't want to do.

Of course your son wants to be with you, but apparently he doesn't really want to be with your boyfriend. He probably wants to be with YOU, WITHOUT having your boyfriend around.

Give your son lots of love, and PAY ATTENTION TO AND LISTEN TO HIS FEELINGS. Don't make him "do" or "be" something he doesn't want to be. The most important thing for a child's emotional health is having a mother who listens to and respects his feelings.

I completely agree with Mamazita, and most of the other responses below who tell you that your son shouldn't have to be overly exposed to your boyfriend.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Please excuse me, I know this sounds brutal, I am trying to make it as nice as possible and have no intention of offending anyone.... you asked...

It sounds to me like you have put your bf and your needs above your sons needs and even though he is 3, he can sense that you are focused on bf.

He is a little boy and he needs his mom 100+%. You are modeling behavior now that he will learn for later... Make sure you are ok with what you are modeling for when your son acts like you do and possibly years down the road, puts his needs before anyone else because that is what he learned growing up,

I don't know if you are divorced but if so, this is a finality for your son and he realizes his mom and dad will not be back together..

How long have you known bf? how far into that "relationship" did you introduce our son and bring him into the relationship? Maybe you introduced your son way too early and he is acting out.

I sure hope bf is not living with you right now because no matter how good you think a bf is, you need to have red flags when you bring them into your home with children.

Children should always be the priority. He'll be 18 and off to college before you know it, THEN you can think about adventures with bf.

Best wishes to you.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Who comes first?
Your Boyfriend or your son?
What comes first?
Being a Girlfriend or a Mom?
What is first?
Being a parent or a Girlfriend with a guy that is just a Boyfriend.
What comes first?
Pleasing your boyfriend, or learning and knowing about child development?
What comes first?
KNOWING your child better, or knowing your Boyfriend?
What is first?

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

If you're a single mom, you might have introduced him way too soon.
At 3, he doesn't (and shouldn't) understand your need for a boyfriend.
Keep your boyfriend(s) separate from your child.
Get a sitter for dates. No overnights with your son in the house.
He's little and (rightly so) wants his mom to himself.
He's a little, dear heart and he's watching you.
Always put your child first over a boyfriend.
Good luck!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

It takes children a while to warm up to strangers, and don't fool yourself... you may think your boyfriend is amazing and wonderful and fabulous, and you see all of these terrific qualities that make you love him but you can't possibly expect your child to to feel the same way.

Perhaps his behavior when you're around with your boyfriend is because you introduced your boyfriend to your son way, way, way too soon. He's not even a fiance. And maybe, just maybe, your son feels uncomfortable around your boyfriend and picks up on something that you don't. So don't force it.

I really, really, really hope you haven't moved this "boyfriend" into your home with a small child that is clearly uncomfortable around this strange man. It would be a horrible mistake.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

So instead of keeping your son there when your boyfriend is around you send him to your mom's house and you don't understand why he is hurt by this? Your are putting your needs and your boyfriend's needs above his. I mean I can only come up with one reason why he has to go to grandma's house while your boyfriend is over and that is pretty damn self centered reason to cast your child aside.

If you want him to want to be with you I suggest you act like you want him around, all the time, not just when it is convenient.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Some people have been unnecessarily brutal to you. I hope that won't stop you from listening to the kinder and thoughtful people on this site.

You are learning how to be a good Mom (as all of us have to do) but under difficult circumstances. I don't think your wanting to be alone with your boyfriend as making you a bad Mom. You are certainly entitled! Different people do things differently.

As complicated as it is for you imagine how hard the whole thing is to understand for a 3 year old who is developing.

Things I would consider.
1) Until you are in a committed relationship you may not want your child to meet any boyfriend you have. Then I think it would be appropriate for your son to go to Mamaw's when you go out on a date, but I would make overnights very rare. And I would limit dates to once or twice a week. Avoid confusing your baby by not even allowing them to meet until the relationship reaches a certain level.

2)Maybe you are in a committed relationship? If you and the "boyfriend" have discussed it and think that you may end up marrying then yes I would have your son involved to see if you are comfortable with how your boyfriend is with your son. But take it slowly. Be sure to spend quality time alone with your child to avoid jealousy but if you were married Mommy and Daddy would go out on a date occasionally. Mommy and boyfriend should be able to do that too.

3)If you are at #2 and your child does well with your boyfriend when you are out of the room, then spend more time in the kitchen preparing dinner. Go have to make a few phone calls. Don't leave them totally alone but give them more space. Eventually maybe you can be on the computer in the same room but allowing them to interact, play a game, build some leggos. Eventually I bet your baby will gain comfort.

Good Luck!

p.s. You and the boyfriend might consider a parenting class together too! That might help the boyfriend feel he knows what to do and give you confidence too.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

it actually sounds pretty normal for a 3 year old to me. I have a 3 year old grandson, and he would pick me over his mom any day. Why? Because grandmas are fun, they don't have as many rules, they spoil, they love, they give undivided attention. Your son has you every day and you are situation normal to him. It's not that he doesn't love and want you, it is that he feels secure with you and knows that you will always be there.
as for the boyfriend, you don't say how long he has been around. If it is a fairly new situation, he could be shy. It could be that he picks up on you acting different. How many men are a regular part of your sons life? (as in grandfather, uncles, etc) If none, then he may be adjusting to the male-ness aspect. And then there is just the boyfriend part. Have you had very many bfs? If so, that may make him leary of the whole situation.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

He'll come around-would you feel the same if he clung to the boyfriend and acted like he didn't want you or his Gran? It might happen-and don't feel bad if it does. The question is-is the boyfriend "father and husband" material or are your asking a baby to flip over someone who is not going to be in his life for the long-haul? Maybe he's being cautious because of dad who is in and out of his life? Or not in his life at all? Maybe this isn't the first boyfriend who's been in the picture? Not judging-just thinking you have to reevaluate the situation and ask yourself these questions, assume that your child is bright and has feelings and try to see the world through his eyes. That's where you will best serve your son as his mother-down there on his level.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

This is the first bf since me and his dad split and we have been dating for around 10 months my son is a real nervous and tender hearted kid but he acts so different when my guy friend are around the when the bf is around he buys him things and loves on him I'm not sure what's going on in his head I wish I knew

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Been there. You both are acting normal. You, of course, need adult time. Your son wants attention, too. Can the boyfriend take your son out just the two of them for catch on Saturday mornings? Play wii? Look at cartoons? They need to bond.

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