Dating a man with Children? Need advice on how to handle this.?

I have been dating a man with a 10 yr old male child for the last ten mos. The father is raising his son full time. When they at my home, the child will act in such a way to deliberatly pull his fathers attention from me as if he is in a power play for his fathers attention. If we are making dinner, the child will demand that his child come to where he is and will actually want nothing. If we are cuddling in a chair, the child will immediately get up and try to get in our space. If his father asks him to sit down, he goes into tear or pouting mode. If I get up for a moment to get my babe water or anything, the child will immediately run and take my spot. If the father moves to where I am, the boy follows or will throw a tantrum. The little boy still sleeps in the same bed with his dad. I am worried that once we marry, this will be another issue. For me this is a non-negotiable. I feel he is too old to be sleeping in the same bed with his dad. How do I handle this delicate issue?


I want to handle this in a way that does not offend the father. Even though I have no children, I am an educator and have worked with children for the last 20+ years. Even though I have no children, I have a definate parenting style from dealing with all the children who have no parenting in their own homes. The child also does things like jump on the furniture I believe in an effort to get attention. The child gets in our "adult" conversations and I am not comfortable with this and have expressed this to my boyfriend. I am looking for constructive and non-threatening ways of handling this situation.

Update 2:

The boy spends the weekends with his mother and even though his mother is dating someone, he does not behave in the same manner with her. He does not make any attempts to get under she and her boyfriend when they are cuddling or are in the kitchen fixing dinner, etc.

Update 3:

It was suggested that I do activties with the child and I have made attempts. He had basketball practice one day and his father had a scheduling conflict so I offered to step in. The child resisted even though he really wanted to go to practice and had NO OTHER WAY of getting to practice. His dad had BRIBE him with an offer of me taking him to his favorite place to eat which I complied with. We've done movies, dvd night, but the behavior only escalated. Lately he has resorted to calling the mom saying he has nothing to eat when in fact his father has just bought groceries. He will call his father when he dad is at my house and demand that he bring him something to eat, even though there is newly purchased food. His father admitted that if he were at the house and the boy were hungry, he would go into the kitchen and be fine with what is in there.

22 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Have a heart to heart talk with your boyfriend, let him know how you feel. It is also a good idea to set some guidelines for the kid. The next thing I would do (seriously) is pray. Seek His wisdom in whatever problems you have, sometimes He can give more than any one of us here. Hope the advice helps.

    Source(s): Family Experience, no online source can beat real life.
  • First off, give the kid a break. He's probably still grieving over the loss of the mom, and is doing exactly what you are describing; he's doing everything he can to hamper his father moving to another relationship. If you really don't see that, you need to get over yourself. If you're entering into this relationship from that selfish of a perspective, you can go ahead and book reservations for divorce #2.

    What have you done to reach out to this kid? To talk to him about his feelings? If he starts to see you as a real person that is not looking to take place of mommy, then he's likely to relax somewhat. But even if he doesn't, you're the adult here, not him. So you need to act like one.

    So he's clingy with his Dad. That's somewhat understandable. But it also sounds like Dad, either in his guilt over mommy not being there (even if he's widowed, he could still be having this feeling), or just not having good parenting skills, has enabled his child to be this way. That's not going to change overnight, and is mainly on Dad to correct, and I'm doubting that he will.

    In this situation, the kids have to be a higher priority right now. There is only so far that the two of you will go comfortably without at least preparing the children (which also needs to be handled maturely and responsibly by the two of you). So you both should work on that and lay the groundwork for a chance at a relationship with minimal flak.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes the father is encouraging bad behavior, but there is nothing you should do except pray the kid grows up. Ten is a delicate age for a young man. He needs his father, especially with the mother absent. Actually you have an advantage. Being female let your instincts kick in and invite him into your world. The boy needs the kindness of a woman, which the father can not give.

    The bed thing is part of his fear of abandonment. A mother is always providing for the child's needs. Now that is gone. Men are not in tune like women when it comes to caring for a child.

    Men tend to just give orders and draw limits. This builds up frustrations for all.

    If he allows you to hug that will be the time he begins to accept you. Show your enthusiasm for his accomplishments.

    Make sure you never argue. Make sure you never take issues to him directly, that's the fathers job.

    The father needs to improve his parenting skills. He also needs to divide part of each day with the child and let the child know when the father's time is scheduled, (for you or other things).

    This is a huge responsibility on your part and I wonder if you are prepared for it. Do your best not to compete, but to share your lives together.

    Whenever the child has demands you must step aside and be patient. The father will appreciate it more if he's not being pulled in two directions.

  • 1 decade ago

    Run for the hills. Find someone else. The kid will always come first. You will be X'd out because the Dad clearly lets the kid run the relationship now. I dated a guy with a kid and it was terrible. Never again for me. Trust me, no matter how much the guy says that he loves you, he has to and should put the child first. It will be a huge issue later on since the kid is such a monster now. You'll not only be dealing with the kid but then the Dad who is standing up for the bratty kid. You've only invested 10 months, I invested 3 1/2 years thinking I could change the situation. You can't. Take it for what it is now and get the heck out. You won't have to deal with all the kid or mama drama. I think it is very difficult for a person who does not have children to date someone who has children. If the Dad wants the kid to sleep in the bed with him and you, there's a problem. That's your time to communicate and be intimate. Yuck. Get out before you have anything else more invested. Trust me on this!

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  • 1 decade ago

    It sounds like his son see you as a threat to "steal" daddy's love....and the way he acted indicate he doesn't trust you yet, talk to your guy about this and tell him you hope his son can accept you. Then talk to the son about it, tell him you are not there to steal his dad, you love his dad very much just like him, and that you hope the 3 of you can all be best friends and enjoy each other's company. Then your guy have to reassure the child that he loves him very much and there's nothing will change that, but he got to understand daddy need an adult friend, a woman that daddy loves.

    The things you want to avoid is either you or your guy tell the son off when he's throwing one of those tantrums, he'll see that as a sign that he's "losing" his dad to you. Be very patient and build up his trust. If he does sopmething bad to you behind the dad's back, don't tell the dad,and act like nothing ever happened, always praise him infront of his dad, all these will make him feel more secure.

    Also let your guy understand, IT IS TOO OLD For A 10 YEAR OLD to still SLEEP with the dad in the SAME bed, it is not very good for the child to develop independence and maturity.

    Good Luck

    Source(s): my similar situation
  • 1 decade ago

    The father has been lonely for quite some time and his son is the only person he has loved up until you (or maybe still the only person he loves). I have a 3 year old son and have 50% custody of him (month on, month off). Other than for 30 days a year ago, I have not dated anyone and I can honestly state that my son is the person that I love the most.

    Your boyfriend letting his son sleep with him may be for his comfort more than his son's. It is lonely when you are used to having someone you love with you at night.

    I would first of all step back and look at things from your boyfriend's perspective. He doesn't necessarily need your love as that is nearly filled from the love he has between him and his son. He does need your support, your guidance, your sex, and your companionship.

    As for the son's jealousy . . . damn straight he is jealous you are getting inbetween him and his father. Kids in situations that he has been put through grow up fast and they are more mature than you may think. If the 10 year old wants to be treated like an adult then treat him like an adult. Try talking to him (with the dad around so things can not get misconstrued) just like you would to any other adult doing similiar things. If he throws a tantrum then tell him he isn't acting like an adult anymore so he will be treated like a child and sent to his room. If he wants to continue to be treated like an adult then he should act like one.

    As for the adult conversations. You didn't clarify enough for me to tell if those are sex conversations or if those are conversations about politics, religion, and finances. If it is not about sex, chill out a little and allow the child to participate in the conversation. I mean he is 10 years old and it is a great way to introduce him to it.

    I think you are a bit jealous of his son and frankly you too need to stop throwing your own types of tantrums. You are the outsider right now, find a way to be part of the family not destroy the family to 'get your man'.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    Myself and my partner have gone through the same thing but I have a daughter.

    The first thing as a father you don't want to make the child feel secluded but at the same time you don't want to alienate your partner which often is the case at the start.

    My partner and I decided to have a discussion in private and decided that my daughter when she is aroound that she has a set bed time and the father has to say that it is adult time and its time for you to go to bed.

    This still does not solve it imediately but persisitence works.

    The other thing is at some point the father has to realise that you are apart of the equation now and he has to set guidelines with his son and also needs to allow you to start being a disciplinary figure in his sons life aswel. Now at times the father will think that you are going to far but if the father has faith in you and he understands that you have no malice to the child and you yourself understands that he is only a ten year old child and he will do things to make you angry and question things you should be fine.

    As the saying goes though there is no rule to parenting but I know what has worked for us and my partner and my daughter are the best of mates now and jen my daughter calls my partner Mum by her own choice and they are like two peas in a pod.

    They actually gang up on me now !!

    So good luck and I hope that this info helps!!

    Just remeber to always talk with each other and even have a family meeting at the table and never let the child know that you 2 are arguing because of him as he know then he can maniuplate you both.

    Stand strong together in front of him and even if you don't don't show it. if you must explode at each other have a safe word like " butterfly " and go into another room and discuss it quitely..

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the short answer is - you don't handle it at all.

    this boy is acting this way for 1 reason only - he's scared you'll take his dad away and he will no longer be the centre of his world.

    he feels second rate next to you.

    try NOT to act like a parent, and more of a friend.

    try to include him in anything you can, maybe take him to the movies and leave dad at home.

    it is the fathers responsibility to not have the child in your bed, and HE must make him sleep in his own bed.

    I know it's hard, but it really is worth it - i have been that little boy on 3 occasions now.

    chin up, and try to be a little more understandable. :)

  • 1 decade ago

    I went through the same thing with my boyfriend. Only difference is that he has a girl, which is even worse. Have you talked to him about this? Where is the child's mother? He needs to understand that he has a child and a girlfriend also and that he needs to make time for the both of you. If he is stubborn like the one I'm dating, then it will only get worse unless the kid leaves or something. He may not be stubborn. But try to talk to him about it and let him know that it is making you uncomfortable and that something needs to be done or you're done! And trust me once you're gone, he's gonna miss you! We need to talk girl because i went through the EXACT same thing.

  • 1 decade ago

    His child may not have had a mother in a while and to see another woman in his dads life is a surprize.If you really love him then try to look over it try talkin to his child maybe that will help him stay out of you and your boyfriends personal space.

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