I refuse to compete with a child…..

by Rod Smith

“My three children live with my partner of 9 months and me. His children visit regularly. His son (12) pushes the boundaries and my partner allows him get away with a lot more than the other kids, including his daughter. My partner, who is brilliant with my children, will comment on bad behavior from my children, yet will not judge his son for the same behavior. His son lies to get the other kids into trouble and when I am near his father he makes sure that I cannot get too near. I refuse to compete with a 12-year-old for the affections of his father. My issue is the unfairness. It drives me up the wall. His father feels his son is sensitive and because he sees him so little that he will be less harsh with him. I understand this and am not sure if I am being unfair. I am starting to dislike the boy more and more. Please help.”

Get out of the middle...

Get out of the middle...

Rod: You are already competing and the boy is winning! Get off the “life is fair” gig and out of the middle. Leave EVERYTHING about his children UP TO HIM. While you are 12-year-old-focused, dad doesn’t have to be, – and you will always, always, end up looking like the enemy!



Kathryn: Ignoring the behavior is not loving to anyone. The boy’s “sensitivity” is never a good reason for parents not to discipline a child. Consistently setting good boundaries with children is very loving. Spend intentional time together and perhaps your partner’s own guilt may dissipate bringing change into the dynamic. Be honest.

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