Anonymous asks:

My boyfriend's children

I am 35 years old, never had children and living in Europe. My boyfriend, 42 years old, with whom I am dating for over a year now has two kids from two different mothers. The first one is an 18 years old girl and the second one is a nearly 5 years old boy.
With the 18 years old girl, I have established a friendly relation which resembles the communication between two sisters. She stays over at her father's 2 weekends a month.
The 5 years old boy stays at his father's one week in every 2 weeks. I have met him just 1-2 months after starting dating his father. Although I thought it was too early for meeting him (both for him and for me, too), his father insisted and we built a nice relationship. Neither the boy(to my knowledge), nor I have any complaints. Our relationship is built on a lot of games, sharing responsibilities together (brushing teeth, setting the dinner table etc) and we are having a lot of fun. I always call him my "small friend". I love him so much and I know I am not his mother, and I try not to play that role. I also met his mother via telephone and later face to face. (For the telephone conversation, the boy insisted when he was talking to his mom that I should talk to his mom. We did.)
My question is regarding my responsibilities and limits in this relationship with him. I love him so much and I don't want to make any mistakes which could have negative impacts on the development of his personality. Please help. How shall I interact with him?
In Topics: Single parent families, Divorce Issues
> 60 days ago



Oct 27, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

The best thing you have going for you right now is your clarity that you are not replacing or competing with his mother. The fact that you love your "small friend," and care about his welfare is also very favorable. The father and mother, of course, must make the major decisions about what is in the best interest of their children. However, since you do have an ongoing relationship with this little boy, who is still developing, what I recommend is that you and his father talk about the best way for you to continue to relate to and interact with his son.

It is best for a small child that the parents and caring others, who are in their lives on a regular basis, subscribe to consistent strategies and techniques for dealing with them.  Take your lead from his Dad, and ask how much input he might welcome from you.  The limits and responsibilities are issues that you and your boyfriend can discuss and agree on.  There are no hard and fast rules about that.
These are individual and personal decisions.

I think you are doing a great job so far. Refrain from worrying too much about mistakes.  Everyone makes mistakes bringing up kids, or helping another person with their kids. If something doesn't go so well, you can talk it over with your boyfriend and plan for how to make things work more effectively going forward.

Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
Clinical Social Worker
JustAsk Expert

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Additional Answers (1)

bkkm3 writes:
You are not his mother and you are not his step mother.  You are his Dads girlfriend.  You have no permiance in his life at this time.  It is good for children to have healthy relationships - It is not healthy to be too close, especially if you break-up with his Dad.  He has already suffered that loss when his mother/father seperated or divorced.  Be loving, just like you would to any child.  Dont go overboard because those boards just might come crashing down on him.  Play with him, be kind, help him, talk with him and enourage him to play with his own friends when you are together, enourage him to do things on his own and with his Dad.  Make your relationship with his Dad obviouse - spend alone time with his Dad, even on weekends when he is over (get him babysitters).  You are not his mom, you are not his sitter or nany, and you are not the little boys girlfriend!  Be honest with yourself - if you and his Dad break up you most likely will not see the little boy again (he will be involved with the new girlfriend and his dad).  Until you are married, you need to guard yourself and most importantly the little boy.
> 60 days ago

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