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Thread: Advice regarding relationship between girlfriend and my daughter.

  1. #1

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    Advice regarding relationship between girlfriend and my daughter.

    Sorry in advance for the length of this.

    I'm looking for input to help me come up with an appropriate way to speak to my girlfriend (of over a year), who I live with, in regards to where she stands when it comes to a role in my daughter's life. My daughter's mother and I have split custody and a 'good enough' relationship that there aren't any problems in terms of child custody.

    Some background:

    I live with my girlfriend and we have a very strong relationship. We get a long fine and don't seem to have too many conflicts. My daughter is almost four years old, and really seems to enjoy my girlfriend. If I pick my daughter up and my girlfriend is at work, my daughter is always eager to know when she will be home. My girlfriend is very responsible with my daughter and has come to take on somewhat of a mother roll, for lack of better way to put it. My daughter's mother does have a boyfriend in the same situation, so my daughter is used to having a split family situation.

    Earlier in our relationship, my girlfriend expressed concern as to what her boundaries were with my daughter. She asked what her limits were in terms of if I was out running errands and they were home together and she had to get after her for doing something she shouldn't, etc. My response was similar to: treat her like she's your own and just make common sense decisions with what you think is appropriate based on how she's been parented so far. I figured this was a pretty safe statement to make considering she has been around myself, my daughter, and has met my daughter's mother. She knows how we parent her and abides to it. She does a great job, actually, with taking care of her when she needs to.

    Recently, my girlfriend has opened up more in terms of my daughter and has started having interest in taking her to see her side of the family more. Her mom and dad are divorced. Her mom and I don't have the best relationship, but she treats my daughter well so I have no problem with it. Her dad and I get along fine and he also is very good with my daughter and seems very excited to see her, so I have no issue with that either.

    My girlfriend has a brother with two kids. Her brother is a pretty good parent, in my opinion, however the kids, both between 6-10 years old (I think...) are a little...let's say energetic. Basically they do nothing but bounce off the walls 24/7 and not always the most respectful. A good way to put it would be to say they need pretty close supervision. In contrast, my daughter is very quiet, but seems to have good social skills. She's not shy, she's just polite and respectful. Always says please and thank you, as well as waits her turn to talk; where the other two kids most certainly do not. Oh well, kids are kids.

    My girlfriend would like her brother's kids to come over and spend the night a few times now and then with my daughter. We have a small apartment and all things aside, frankly there isn't any room. There really isn't. The 3 of us is about all it holds. I honestly can't imagine 2 more bodies in there. Personally, I get kind of anxious and upset when people are loud and obnoxious (like the two other kids), and having 5 bodies in the house (2 of which are loud and bouncing off the walls) sounds like it would push me over the edge. I do not want that to happen.

    I am afraid if I come out and tell my girlfriend, "Hey, absolutely not. Not in a million years," that she will think I'm a jerk. Frankly, I would agree, so I need a better way to speak to her regarding this issue. I respect that my girlfriend is an important part of my daughter's life now, so I do not want to make her feel like I "clipped her wings" in terms of my daughter. I want girlfriend to feel like she is an important roll model in daughter's life and not just a room mate. If that makes sense. To me, I feel like if I shoot down the idea of the kids all coming over I am taking away "rights" and hurting her feelings.

    I thought of sitting down with her and coming up with a way to explain to her that while I do support her being a roll model in daughter's life and all the things she does, that having them over on a regular basis does bother me. Let me know what you all think, but I think I will also say something like: "this would be no different if you and I had a child, I would still feel uneasy about this same topic. It has nothing to do with trying to overrule you or shoot down your ideas."

    I'm really in a tough spot because this is the first time we have ever disagreed on something in terms of my daughter. I have no problem if she wants to meet her brother and the kids at a park or something and have a play date like that. It really is simply the fact that I work really long hours and the little time I have at home I don't want to be crowded and chaotic. I'm just really weird about my space. Just the way I am.

    Please let me know what you think. Any input is appreciated. Again, looking for constructive ways to explain to her that I do not think having them over to spend the night for a few weekends here and there is a good idea WITHOUT making it seem like I am playing the "I'm the parent, what I say goes" card.

  2. #2
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    How long have you been dating, just a year?
    If so, i think that sometimes you should arrange childcare with your parents or someone else on your side when you can't be with your daughter during your time with her. If you are a week on a week off and you have a work commitment Friday night, arrange for your daughter to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa vs having your girlfriend provide childcare. She is a girlfriend, not a stepmom or your fiancee so even though she is great with your daughter, you need to have that bit of space in place.

    Firstly, BOTH of you live there and it would be wrong to tell her that she cannot invite her relatives over to visit.
    I do think that your 4 year old would not relate to a 6 and 10 year old. Maybe the 6 year old but not the 10 year old. If she had nephews/ nieces in the 3-5 year old range i could see arranging a playdate.

    I do think its not appropriate to have these two BOYS spend the night with your daughter.

    If she would like to have her nephew overs for a night to have some aunt time when your daughter is with your mom GREAT. slumber party on the floor. But i do not think a sleepover benefits your daughter.

    If your daughter was 9 and developed a friendship with her 8-10 year old niece and the girls asked to do it YES for sure, but taking on those two boys who are not on the same wavelength as your daughter - that's a big nope.

    Sorry, but i am on your side here. If she is upset, that's fine, there are two issues here though - making sure its her house too and she is not isolated from her family but on the other hand, you don't have the space to host them for the weekend and NOT with your daughter.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    You don't know how they'l behave while in your home if you've never had them in your home.

    I've seen it over and over. Kids act like maniacs while with their own parents and then act civilized in someone else's home.

    I raised two boys. When kids were guests in my home they knew the limits. If they didn't, I'd firmly remind them or they were sent home.

    It wasn't always perfect but it worked for the most part.

    The kids from across the street behaved horribly. So much so I preferred them to all hang out in my house, if I could subtly navigate it. The stuff I saw that went on in their home made my hair stand up. They knew they couldn't get away with it in my home.

    In all fairness, I think you at least need to give this the benefit of the doubt and give it a try. And as others have pointed out, there is that likelihood she'll notice that 6 & 10yr old have little in common with a 4 year quiet child. It may just work itself out.

    You don't have much to lose by having a play date and see how it goes.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vincew350

    My girlfriend has a brother with two kids. Her brother is a pretty good parent, in my opinion, however the kids, both between 6-10 years old (I think...) are a little...let's say energetic. Basically they do nothing but bounce off the walls 24/7 and not always the most respectful. A good way to put it would be to say they need pretty close supervision.
    Judge much?


    My girlfriend would like her brother's kids to come over and spend the night a few times now and then with my daughter. We have a small apartment and all things aside, frankly there isn't any room. There really isn't. The 3 of us is about all it holds. I honestly can't imagine 2 more bodies in there. Personally, I get kind of anxious and upset when people are loud and obnoxious (like the two other kids), and having 5 bodies in the house (2 of which are loud and bouncing off the walls) sounds like it would push me over the edge. I do not want that to happen.
    Now you are pre-judging. Most kids are very well behaved when they are not with their own parents. Why not give it a chance before you convict them? Your daughter would do well to get to know her extended family since she's an only child... give it a chance and then if it doesn't turn out at least you have good reason to judge them the way you have.

    I am afraid if I come out and tell my girlfriend, "Hey, absolutely not. Not in a million years," that she will think I'm a jerk.
    Well, frankly, that is because you will be being one.
    Frankly, I would agree, so I need a better way to speak to her regarding this issue.
    No, actually what you need is to give it a chance and then if it doesn't work out, you will naturally be able to talk to her without needing strangers help from the internet.



    I respect that my girlfriend is an important part of my daughter's life now, so I do not want to make her feel like I "clipped her wings" in terms of my daughter.
    But you ARE trying to "clip her wings" so why deny it? You're being unreasonable.

    I want girlfriend to feel like she is an important roll model in daughter's life and not just a room mate. If that makes sense. To me, I feel like if I shoot down the idea of the kids all coming over I am taking away "rights" and hurting her feelings.
    So don't do it then without proof of your concerns. You are being unreasonable.

    I thought of sitting down with her and coming up with a way to explain to her that while I do support her being a roll model in daughter's life and all the things she does, that having them over on a regular basis does bother me.
    Good grief. Control much?
    Let me know what you all think, but I think I will also say something like: "this would be no different if you and I had a child, I would still feel uneasy about this same topic. It has nothing to do with trying to overrule you or shoot down your ideas."
    Uneasy when you haven't even given those boys a chance to show you that they are not evil sociopaths? What is wrong with you?

    I'm really in a tough spot because this is the first time we have ever disagreed on something in terms of my daughter.
    This has nothing to do with your daughter. It's all about you and how you feel about her nephews.

    I have no problem if she wants to meet her brother and the kids at a park or something and have a play date like that.
    How magnanimous of you? O.o

    It really is simply the fact that I work really long hours and the little time I have at home I don't want to be crowded and chaotic. I'm just really weird about my space. Just the way I am.
    Surely you can forsake the "way you are" for one weekend or two out of the year.

    Please let me know what you think.
    I have but I will assume that you will be offended by my straight to it approach because it's so far against your very grain to see anything other than your preconceived ideas about your wife's nephews.
    Any input is appreciated.
    Please remember that when you read my opinion.

    Again, looking for constructive ways to explain to her that I do not think having them over to spend the night for a few weekends here and there is a good idea WITHOUT making it seem like I am playing the "I'm the parent, what I say goes" card.
    I'll not give you advice on how to curtail your daughter from spending time with her step cousins when you've not even given them a chance to show you how they are when not around their own parents... sorry.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Legally, a live-in gf is no more than a baby-sitter. You are unfortunately treating her like a live-in baby-sitter as well. Only you and the child's mother have any say in the child's life. Your gf, however can invite anyone she wants to the place because she pays rent and it's her place as well. So you can't make the rules like she's a just a baby-sitter if she is paying rent. In fact you should be paying her for all the babysitting she is doing for you.

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by reinventmyself
    You don't know how they'l behave while in your home if you've never had them in your home.

    I've seen it over and over. Kids act like maniacs while with their own parents and then act civilized in someone else's home.

    I raised two boys. When kids were guests in my home they knew the limits. If they didn't, I'd firmly remind them or they were sent home.

    It wasn't always perfect but it worked for the most part.

    The kids from across the street behaved horribly. So much so I preferred them to all hang out in my house, if I could subtly navigate it. The stuff I saw that went on in their home made my hair stand up. They knew they couldn't get away with it in my home.

    In all fairness, I think you at least need to give this the benefit of the doubt and give it a try. And as others have pointed out, there is that likelihood she'll notice that 6 & 10yr old have little in common with a 4 year quiet child. It may just work itself out.

    You don't have much to lose by having a play date and see how it goes.
    I agree with inviting them over but i *disagree* with having sleepovers the entire weekend while the daughter is there. I get they might behave super well, but having them for an afternoon vs wall to wall 48 hours to see how it goes is more in order.

    The girlfriend wanting the nephews there is ONE issue
    The girlfriend wanting them to have a sleepover with the daughter is ANOTHER issue. She seems to believe its about "getting the kids together" and that part I disagree with. There is no benefit to a 4 year old girl to have a 10 year old boy spend the night with the intent that its "getting the kids together". My parents were not inviting my 8-12 year old cousins to spend the night to spend time with me.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Do you have children, abitbroken? There is plenty of benefit for his daughter to have sleepovers with the Op's only child. I suspect they wouldn't be sleeping in the same bed as her if that is what you are implying. I'm sure an over-night stay (rather than a whole weekend which may be too much for a 4 year old to handle) would be very beneficial to her as she needs to be around kids and to get to know her cousins. This is a live in situation for the Op and his g/f... not some random woman he's been recently dating.

    IMO this isn't about what is best for the daughter but rather what is best for the dad. It's all about him and him being uncomfortable.

  9. #8
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    Originally Posted by ThatwasThen
    Do you have children, abitbroken? There is plenty of benefit for his daughter to have sleepovers with the Op's only child. I suspect they wouldn't be sleeping in the same bed as her if that is what you are implying. I'm sure an over-night stay (rather than a whole weekend which may be too much for a 4 year old to handle) would be very beneficial to her as she needs to be around kids and to get to know her cousins. This is a live in situation for the Op and his g/f... not some random woman he's been recently dating.

    IMO this isn't about what is best for the daughter but rather what is best for the dad. It's all about him and him being uncomfortable.
    No i don't. I have nieces and nephews, which i am sure you don't feel count. The older cousins do not spend the night with the younger cousins. The ones that are close in age and are especially close do for sure.

    The girlfriend of one years's nephews are not her cousins.

    How would a sleepover with 6 and 10 year old boys benefit a 4 year old girl? I see no benefit to her. I see benefit to the OP's girlfriend to have her nephew's over, but not the other way. I think babysteps - let her have her nephews over with the daughter out of the picture for sure, but i don't find it necessary or benefcial to the daughter to have 2 older boys spending the night to "spend time with her". Have them come for the day and see how it goes but i don't see how "spending the night" is a benefit. if the OP's gf had a 3-6 year old niece, maybe.

    i was the "little kid" whose arm got pulled out of the socket when the "older kids" next door. who "wanted to play with me" played with me. So just sayin' from experience.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    My gut response to this, similar to others, is: Why not just have the kids over, either for a playdate or a sleepover, see how it goes, and then make future choices and have future talks based on that?

    Your absolute worst case scenario here—overwhelming couple of hours, some tears, maybe a broken glass or a stained something—isn't exactly the apocalypse. And all the scenarios between that and the best case—well, they are scenarios that allow you and your girlfriend to become closer, to take another small step in figuring out this arrangement together, and, of course, for your young daughter's life to be enriched.

    Best I can tell, the only thing stopping you from all that is that you don't much care for her brother's kids and are worried that the playdate and/or sleepover is going to suck for you. It might! But also? It might not! Seems to me the kind thing to do is make that conclusion post fact, rather than preemptively.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    As a parent, you'll have to get a bit more tolerant of that type of thing, whether it's her family or kids they meet at school, want parties, sleepovers, etc. Wait until a birthday party comes along. What are you going to do? Freak out every time little kids act like little kids? Will there be giggling, running around, somewhat of a mess? Sure, but you'll have to learn to cope.
    Originally Posted by vincew350
    I get kind of anxious and upset when people are loud and obnoxious (like the two other kids), and having 5 bodies in the house (2 of which are loud and bouncing off the walls) sounds like it would push me over the edge.

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