Someecards Logo
GF asks for genuine advice on how to deal with BF's parenting style; 'he pokes the children.' AITA?

GF asks for genuine advice on how to deal with BF's parenting style; 'he pokes the children.' AITA?


"WIBTA for expressing my discomfort with some boundaries regarding my partners parenting behaviours with his children?"


I (26,F) am dating a man with 2 young children. I love his kids, they love me, and he loves the way we all interact and has indicated he thinks I am a good role model and influence for them. We have discussed long-term intentions and the idea that I will eventually be their step mom.

I am the eldest sibling in a very large family, I have worked with children for over 10 years, and I am studying in my last year of my undergrad in psychology, where I have placed particular emphasis on courses related to child development, learning, specific contexts of child abuse/maltreatment, and research methodology (particularly related to those other topics).

I know he loves and accepts his children and we have similar views on the values and goals of raising children; however, there are some specific behaviours I do not really feel comfortable witnessing?

I've never had this role before so I'm not sure if I'd BTA for expressing this or placing boundaries around my willingness to remain in environments where these behaviours are being consistently/frequently or strongly displayed?

I know they're not my kids and I don't get to make any actual choices for them, but I'm worried that I will say something during one of these moments in front of the kids, due to my discomfort, which I wouldn't want to do.

He doesn't get much time with them, and there's a lot of friction with their mother (based on interaction and tidbits from the children she is not the easiest to deal with and often can get verbally aggressive towards people when they "screw up" etc., which often leaves stress around their visits because of the lead up and following visit aggression).

I know he's very stressed, has illness and injury affecting him, and that he does everything he can for his kids; so I'm not sure if expressing discomfort with or some boundaries around the behaviours would be beneficial to or harm the relationship.

The specific behaviours I am particularly concerned with are (1) not listening to the children's non-safety-risking boundaries (ie. pokes child repeatedly "please stop"/"you're bothering me"/etc. continues poking)

(2) verbally encouraging or enforcing physical contact (ie. family member wants hug, child says no, child is guilted or encouraged into the contact to abide by social norms/expectations)

(3) aggressive and fear-inducing behaviours to encourage listening in non-safety-threatening circumstances (ie. yelling because toys not cleaned up). I want to emphasize I don't think this behaviours are always negative (they can be positive in urgent or emergent situations), nor do I think he's bad for engaging in them.

I just want to express that I'm not comfortable when they are being used repeatedly for minor or default situations. So Reddit, WIBTA for expressing my discomfort or some boundaries regarding my partner's parenting behaviours?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. It's completely valid to feel uncomfortable with certain parenting behaviors, especially given your background and experience. You're not trying to overstep, but rather protect your own boundaries and potentially offer a different perspective.

It's important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner about this in a supportive way. Explain your concerns, emphasizing that you understand his position and the challenges he faces, but also share your knowledge and how these behaviors can impact children.


I think you'd be within your rights to bring this stuff up (tactfully!) with your partner. His reaction will tell you a lot about his willingness to consider his own parenting style and his willingness to include you in important conversations. YWNBTA.


NTA. You absolutely should discuss this with your BF in a calm and rational manner. The interaction will be a really good indicator of your future compatibility. Are you able to communicate in a healthy and constructive way?

Can you make joint parenting decisions or are your ideas immediately shut down? It sounds like he’s parenting the way he was parented and maybe hasn’t considered other ways of doing things.


NTA. You've had the discussion about being a future step mum to the kids, which should mean some parental responsibility and say in how the children are raised/treated, to a point. I would say these concerns are valid and should be raised with him. Do so in a calm, non judgemental way and I think you'll see improvements. Good luck.


NTA. Why not have a discussion about what concerns you? Sit down with him and express what bothers you and why. If you're worried that he'll react negatively that tells you a lot about how you actually view him. If you're not comfortable discussing these behaviours with him then you shouldn't be in this relationship.


Approach is everything here. My wife has an education a lot like yours and I’ll give you some of our lessons learned as she tried to help me unlearn my parents parenting style. Don’t bring it up in the moment or in front of the kids, this wouldn’t be well received even if they were your kids too.

Pick your moment when it’s just the two of you, ideally there’s a good transition where you’re already discussing parenting or your education. Something like “hey I have a lot of education about this stuff can I share some with you?”

Don’t mention how long it’s been bothering you because that could derail the whole conversation. Don’t pile it all on at once. Pick one or two things and if the conversation doesn’t turn into a fight ask how he would like this stuff brought up later.


In 5 years he'll be poking you. Run.


I think it depends on how you bring them up. It's fine to have a discussion (if he's willing to have that discussion), but you don't want to come off as you know better than he does in regards to his children. If you do have that discussion, be fully prepared for him to say that he doesn't think what he's doing is wrong and leave it at that. You'll have said your piece and he'll have given you his answer.


Poking a child after they have asked you to stop - OP in what world is that okay? And why do you want to stay with a person who is borderline abusing his kids? GTFO now.


You don't get to set boundaries on others' parenting. YWBTA.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
© Copyright 2024 Someecards, Inc

Featured Content