What to Do When My Boyfriend Doesnt See Eye-to Eye with My Parenting Choices,,,,

Updated on May 25, 2012
B.H. asks from Huntington Beach, CA
33 answers

I am in need of some suggestions and honesty, I am having issues with my boyfriend and not agreeing with my parenting choices. I have a 5 year old and have been a single mother for over 3 years. I have met an amazing man, who loves both myself and my son. However, I feel like he underminds me with my son, and is very strongly set in his opinions and beliefs. For example, today we celebrated my boyfriends birthday. My son has had a couple of very busy days. He has been swimming, having playdates, boating, as well as going to school each day, today being his extra long day. I felt he was tired and decided that the gym and his evening class could be missed for the evening so he could get a good night sleep, He was upset I didnt want to join him at the gym, that we have planned as our weekly routine. He asked my son, "Dylan are you tried?" Dylan answered, "No.." (What 5 year old just comes out and says he is exhausted?) So my boyfriend then said, "Well your mom thinks your too tired and you can't go to AWANAS (his wed night activity) tonight". Of course my son was upset and said he wanted to go. I then immediately felt like the bad guy. I currently don't have a car, so my boyfriend usually drops us off to this activity. I got him ready and then my boyfriend and I fought about the situation, and left my son and I saying "Sorry, your mom said you couldn't go so Im not taking you". There is more details, but mainly I need to know how to handel this situation. Was I in the wrong by choosing to stay home tonight and going off the "normal" schedule'? How do I make my boyfriend understand the consiquences of what he says and what it does to the relationship between all of us? How do I show him the importance of sleep in a 5 year olds life? I do completely agree that a schedule is vital in any childs life, but when there are busy days, I feel some things need to be cut out for the well-being of a child as well as a parent. What should I do from here???

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answers from Detroit on

Whether you were right or wrong doesn't matter. If he has an issue, he needs to discuss it with YOU, not the kid.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

He needs to understand that he is not the parent and he needs to back off - YOU are the mother and he has not a say until you are married.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Was I in the wrong by choosing to stay home tonight and going off the "normal" schedule'?
No. You are his mother.

How do I make my boyfriend understand the consiquences of what he says and what it does to the relationship between all of us?
You don't. You are his mother. He's not a parent. And he's acting like a 15 year old.

How do I show him the importance of sleep in a 5 year olds life?
Shouldn't be necessary. You are his mother.

What should I do from here???
Think long and hard about a future with this guy.

Personally, I'd run. Away. Quickly.

You have a child. You allegiance and loyalty is with your child. Always. If you remember that, you'll always make the right choices.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


B., I just want to add that you did NOT do anything wrong. I realize that this man is making you question yourself, and that, to me, is an even LARGER red flag. To drive off and leave you both (probably with your little boy crying) is actually cruel.

I hope that you will have access to a car soon so that you won't be relying on him. I also hope that you two aren't living together. It would be good if you became less available to him, and when he asks why, you should tell him that you feel that he is not only undermining your parenting, but he is also becoming abusive. What he did WAS abusive.

You need to take off the rose-colored glasses, B.. He's not really all that wonderful. A wonderful man wouldn't have done what he did, to either you OR that little boy.

And next time he starts this stuff, don't change your decision to appease him. Stand by your parenting decision. You KNOW when your child has had too much. That's your job to know.

These are big red flags, B.. He is throwing you under the bus to a 5 year old. Because he can't win his argument with you just between the two of you, he's including your child to hurt you.

You shouldn't be with this guy. The things he will say and do if you marry him will just escalate.

So sorry!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Welcome to Mamapedia! You made a Good Mom choice. Time for boyfriend to back off....or get the boot.

To me, this screams jealousy & insecurity. He was insisting on his time with you....at the expense of your child. Don't allow your lack of transportation to replace your rights as the only parent in your child's life.

& that's what you are.....your child's only parent. The very fact that he had to have an ignorant parting shot at your son....is very insightful as to his true nature.

this is the perfect opportunity to add up the negatives vs. positives. How frequently do events such as this occur? & how much do you want to work for this relationship? I know it was his BD, but how frequently is life all about him & his needs vs. you & your child?

I know this all sounds like a Negative Nelly posting....but I'm not thrilled with his behavior. :) Peace to you & your child.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This sends up red flags for me. A grown man just put a child directly in the middle of an adult disagreement and pitted your son against you. Loving and caring about someone means doing what's in their best interest, even if it inconveniences you (which you did!). Loving and caring about someone means treating them respectfully. If he's not willing to put your son's needs ahead of his own right now (and this was all about the gym? really?) and respect you, what makes you think this is going to change? If he's not willing to apologize for his behavior and thinks you're the one in the wrong, you need to get out now!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

He is not the child's father, he needs to butt out of your parenting.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hey B.,

I think you've already had two good answers. Your boyfriend may be very nice, but he's not be stepfather material yet.

Here are two questions to ask:

1. Do you want to continue this relationship and do the hard work of helping your boyfriend to be a good partner and parent? This would realistically mean counseling, because Dawn hit the nail on the head: his discussing things with your son after you had made a decision is a pretty immature and undermining action. He is trying to exert his authority when he should have trusted your decision as your son's mom, and as such, THE authority in your household. IF you want your boyfriend around long-term, he will have to change how he interacts/communicates with both you and your son, or he will only sow more heartbreak and chaos. What he did was extremely unfair to both of you and seems either immature or deliberately emotionally abusive. Only you know, and neither are flattering to him.

2. Does HE want to be seriously involved, and is he willing to do the work of learning how to be part of your family, how to make decisions as a couple in a mutually respectful way, and how (and when it is appropriate to) discuss things with a child?

Counseling is a good window into how a person's true attitude, how much they are willing to change (or not), how able they are to empathize and see things from each others perspectives. The proof is in the pudding, too... those commitments to change have to come home to roost and be evident. The counselor can also give you some good insights, too. Being the impartial third party, they are a great resource.

I think you made some very good calls in regard to your son's day, and showed good parental discretion by NOT bringing up missing AWANAS to your son. THAT was the mature thing to do. Your boyfriend's openly challenging your authority, however, was not.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Get some couple's counseling before you take this relationship any farther!

There are few things that will ruin a relationship as quickly as not being on the same page as far as parenting goes. This guy isn't even your kid's dad. Soon enough your son will figure out how to play you two against each other (not because he's a bad kid, but because ALL kids try this) and your relationship will go downhill fast... and your relationship with your son will suffer, too.

You either get on the same page or have him step back from anything concerning your son or you must consider that he is just not the right guy for you and your child.
Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Don't give up your power so easily. You are the parent. You make the decisions. What decisions you make, STAND! PERIOD. NO ROOM FOR DISCUSSION.

Sorry to be blunt but you need to draw the line. Your BF isn't respecting your decisions and is playing games. Don't allow it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Time to ditch the boyfriend!
Our Mom divorced our Dad when we were babies.
She raised us herself.
Absolutely no one undermined her parenting - she would not stand for it.
Get yourself a cheap car and maintain your independence and you won't be having problems like this.
See, when Momma says 'No', it does not mean 'Maybe' and there should be NO debate about changing your mind.
Explain the consequences? It's not your job to raise your boyfriend.
I don't know what his relationship with his mother is like but his attitude is a deal breaker.
You and your son are better off without him.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

This boyfriend isn't the child's father correct?

He needs to learn to keep his mouth shut! You know your child and if you feel that he's been over scheduled the last few days, then you have every right to say no, we're slowing down tonight. If your boyfriend can't understand that and chooses to undermine what you say, then he needs a stern talking to. If he continues to undermine you, then he needs to take a walk.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Sorry but I think your boyfriend sounds immature and manipulative. HE wanted the plans to go through so he tried to manipulate a 5 year old in order to get what he wanted. He did not have you or your son's best interest in mind and he used your son to try to get what he wanted.
It's not that he didn't agree with your parenting choice. He wanted things to go his way and have you join him at the gym he didn't care what was best for your son.

I don't mean to sound harsh but this is a red flag for how this man operates. If things like this consistently happen I would be concerned about your future with this guy.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First off, you are the mother! Second...be so very thankful that he loves your son so very much!
That being said, it sounds like you definitely need to have a conversation with him about this. I am a step-parent, so I understand from his side as well as yours, since I also have biological kids.
My husband used to get mad at me when I would tell his daughter what to do or would set some ground rules. I understood his point and respected it. But at the same time, he needed to understand mine. She lived in my house, she was treated the exact same as my daughter and I did not discipline her other than telling her no for something and I think once I sent her to her room. He may feel that he has a right to co-parent your son.
All that being said...maybe finding out how he views himself in the life of your son. Does he see himself as a father, as a good friend, as "Oh...he;s only my girlfriends son." (which it doesn't sound like). That may help you figure out where his head is when he does that. Since you have been a single parent, you may not be aware, that many households of co-parenting have the same issue...so it may not be an intentional attempt to disrespect you. He may not even realize that he is causing a problem.
I would suggest laying some ground rules with him. Telling him what is appropriate and what is not. Spell out for him how YOU expect him to be in your son's life. Tell him that in the end YOU are the responsible party in charge of your son and your word is that and he can not question you in front of your son. What ever he disagrees with you about needs to take place behind closed doors.
It is up to you to communicate this with him...especially if he doesn't know what is going on.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

This issue is not whether your son was really tired or whether he should have gone to a particular activity. The issue is how your boyfriend treats you, through how the speaks of you to your son.

If this is how he treats you and teaches your son to treat you while he's "courting" you, imagine how disrespectful he will be and teach your son to me after you are married (if you imagine marriage in your future).

I don't see how he is an amazing man if he is teaching your son to see you as anything but a loving authority figure. How will he teach him to see other women?

Please remember that children gain their security through how they are parented. If he is being taught that you are not a good mother, it will effect him for a long, long time.

I say, tell your boyfriend to support you 100% to your son (and any future children. If he has issues with how you raise him, speak to you privately about it. If he can't do this, you need to move on. And remember he is YOUR son, not your boufriend's!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When you aren't in a married relationship it is easy to get advice that gear towards quitting, giving up or not considering the boyfriend at all...

But I don't see any "red flags". Actually, what I see is a man who cares about you and your son. ...and PLEASE lets not pretend that married couples do not have these "issues".

It sounds from what you said that this relationship is serious... like perhaps there's maybe a permanent future in store? If so, you need to talk to him, when you aren't mad and when the thing you are talking about does not pertain to the near future. YES, YOU are the one to say what goes in your child's life... HOWEVER, I think this is a hard thing for your boyfriend (or anyone is a situation like that) to accept when they become in a relationship with a mother and child- I think one naturally wants to say what they think is best. It is kinda like trying to change an adult that you are in a relationship with. You care a lot about them and you want what you think is best for them... I think that is what is going on here, sorta.

I think you should remind him that it is you that is in charge of your son, and that you are open to suggestions, but not to have contradictory discussions in front of your son (as well as in the moment, because when you say something goes, it goes, it has been said) because it undermines you and would cause your son to lose respect for you... etc.

Your boyfriend wants to feel like he is being listened to while at the same time you need to be the one who is in charge. It is kinda like compromising. Hear him out, but also stand your ground. Everyone feels respected and appreciated.

Good Luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You did NOTHING WRONG. You are the parent. He is not married to you, and he is not your son's father. He has NO say, and he needs to butt out. What he did is very passive aggressive and manipulative. VERY manipulative. How long has this guy been around? He's using YOUR child against you, to make you look like a lesser mom. What a loser. Please tell me you aren't living with him. Do you really want your son to resent you, because some boyfriend of yours is manipulating his emotions? I'd be running...fast.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

He's manipulating your son & trying to make you the bad guy. Time for a very serious conversation. He is your boyfriend, not your son's father and he needs to remember that no matter, you both need to back each other up & be a team, not undermine the other one. If he can't, then it's better to know now, before you've made a lifetime commitment to him.

On another note, it sounds like your son is very over scheduled. Does he really need to be in that many activities? When does he get any down time?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Definitely time for a sit down discussion about roles in parenting your son. I would start it out by asking him questions and listening. For example, "It seemed like things didn't go too smoothly the other night. Can you explain your perspective? I am wondering why it felt like you were saying the things you did." Be sure to mirror (repeat back) summaries of what he says. Then ask him to do the same for you when you give your perspective. Once you have both discussed what happened, then request that the 2 of you come to some agreed upon guidelines for you both to follow in the future. Clarify his role in your son's life as well as your own. It helps to write down the key points you both agree upon and post them on the fridge for reference. Good luck. This is a great litmus test for your relationship. If you can't sit down and work out these kind of core issues then the relationship will not succeed in the long run.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Your BOYFRIEND is undermining your parenting and your son sounds very over-scheduled. Do you permit him to act this way because you need rides?

I would buy a car and ditch the guy who behaved like that. Sorry.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Red flag, red flag, red flag! If he can't honor YOUR parenting style with YOUR child - he needs to be with someone else. He did not raise this child so he has no idea where you are coming from.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

you made the right decision absolutely by your son - absolutely. i would've done the exact same thing.
re: boyfriend - idk what to tell you b/c my boy's 3 & i've been a single mom the whole time too and can't fathom running into a situation like the one you've got. hang in there....BUT...remember your MAMA instincts come first. good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Wow..... scheduling is the least of your problems here. I would tell bf not EVER under mind you again in front of your son. If he cared about your son he would NOT do that. What a bully!!! I would make it clear that you discus things like this in private not in front of your son!!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Coming from a divided family myself and being a stepmom, I may see somethings a lil different from other posts.
Do I see redflags in his behavior YES. But this could come from a place of insecrurity. Until things were more serious in my relationship, I felt a lil threathened and left out. That even though it was my house to, I didnt have much of a say because they werent my kids. It took alot of communication and patience, working with my boyfriend/ now husband and setting guidelines, chores and responsiblity. But one thing I can say is that the kids always knew there was a united front between us and there was mutual respect from/for both of us.
Even if I didnt agree with something he said or did, we always talked about in private, so the kids never knew. we still do that and they are adults and we have a child together.
He may have some growing up to do and you need to be a voice/example for your child! Your boyfrined may not understand or agree with you but he needs to back you up and support you, not being selfish because there was a chnage in schedule.
Good luck, its not always easy!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your boyfriend is not the parent, correct? If he is not the bio-dad, he is consistently disrespecting you. He is not as amazing as you want him to be if he is undermining you, especially if he is being selfish. Step back and REALLY look at his behavior. Never put a companion before your child. It WILL end badly.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

That needs to be nipped in the bud. Before my (now)husband even met my son, there was a lengthy discussion where we discussed his role in my son's life. Although we did talk about how and when Tom could bring up parenting if he had concerns (completely away from my son), there was no give and take in the discussion. The only right and responsibility Tom had was to step in if my son was endangering himself or somene else, but even then he had no power to discipline. Corey is my son and there was no way in hell some man (no matter how wonderful he was) was going to come in and screw things up.

Honestly, if your boyfriend can't remember the boundaries, he needs to have a time out from contact with your son. This is the sort of problem people step gingerly around and then later on say really stupid things like, "I didn't think it would always be like this." It will.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Welcome to sharing parental responsibilities! As a couple you are going to continue to have your opnions on everything, including parenting. Regardless of whether this child is both of yours or not. In this circumstance I see that you see him as a great guy. Good enough to be closely involved in your son's life in what it seems daily. If that the case and you see this moving forward, then you too have to respect his role if you place him there. Your BF may see it as you do not go to him for his viewpoint so why should he come to you...instead you both just "do" what you feel. You, of course, feel entitled because he is "your" son and that he is. However, if you choose to involve your BF to this level you really should start looking at your relationship in a more joint manner and then you will have less failures in communitcation because the respect will be established on both sides.

Good luck. I married my husband after having 3 from my precious marriage. We have one together and we raise them all with our relationship as the foundation and move from there. We disagree at times but feel heard at all times with each other.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

A few things...
1. stop overscheduling your child
2. how long is "currently", don't depend on boyfriend for transportation
3. realize that boyfriend does not care about a 5 year olds routine and schedule
4. you should not be changing plans without discussing them with boyfriend first
5. communicate - there are many things both you and your boyfriend could have done differently in this situation

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Not good. Your boyfriend is manipulating your son so you get to be the bad guy. Mom's are the bad guys a lot because you have to be the PARENT. I suspect if your boyfriend had to deal with a tired son by himself (and the whining and temper tantrums that come from a tired child), he would better understand why you made that choice.

Ultimately your boyfriend was being selfish because he wanted to go to the gym. There's the difference between dating someone and being a full-time parent.

I'd talk with him about some of the sacrifices you've had to make as a parent, acknowledged the sacrifice you've asked him to make (time with you at the gym), and ask for his support and back up with parenting your son.

And if he says no, then he's seriously not ready to be any thing more than a date. Good luck. dc

P.S. You'd better work on some transportation options or the boyfriend has all the control in the daily schedule.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Do not marry him.
He is a Boyfriend.
And he is already trying to control you/your child, and undermines everything.
This is not, compatible for your son nor for you.

He will affect the emotional and mental well being of your child. And you. YOU are the Mom, and your children's well being should be first.

I would, not have this man in your child's life.
Your Boyfriend, is creating a bad example, for your son, about what a Man is, and how his Mom is treated. And how a woman, is treated.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Honestly I think you are using your son as your excuse for not doing the routine, bf knows this, then used your son as you did against him, against you.
This issue is about you and your boyfriend and your ability to communicate.
When Dylan said "no" to being tired you should have just loaded up and gone.
Be honest. 5 yr olds have a LOT more energy than grown ups.
Who was tired, Mommy or Dylan?
BF was immature pulling that power play on you, but you were guilty too, that's the way I see it.
I'm not trying to be mean or bash you. I'm just sayin I know I used my kids for excuses before, and I still even use my husband as an excuse sometimes when I dont want to do something.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

You are the mother. If you feel your child was tired, then he was tired. You need to have a discussion with boyfriend and explain that he will never behave in that manner again infront of your child. That crosses the line and if he can't respect that then you have much bigger issues that a tired 5 year old. Also, you might review your son's schedule. Seems to very active for a 5 year old.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with everyone here who said this is "red flag" behavior--inappropriate and self-serving. If your boyfriend had a concern regarding your choice (which as many have pointed out, he shouldn't have because your son is just that, YOUR son) he could have brought it up with you privately in another room, out of earshot of your son. He should have NEVER involved him in the discussion. That was petty, immature and did nothing but upset your son and as you said, make you look like the bad guy. Please address this with him and if he is not willing to acknowledge that this was a bad decision, consider not keeping him as part of you and your son's life. Speaking as another single mom. Good luck.

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