I want a professional opinion about parenting a 10 year old boy. I have lived with my girlfriend for a year. She has been divorced for two years. We alternate weeks with her ex. I have a wonderful relationship with mother and son. I also get along just fine with ex hubby. Her son looks up to me and enjoys spending time with me. He is a good hearted kid for the most part and very bright. I don’t actively parent him, but I do try to share values and lead by example. He responds well to my advice and actions.My issue is that I feel his mother needs to set some boundaries and start treating him like a young man. He lies straight to her face all the time, cries like a baby when in trouble and back talks her all the time. He doesn’t back talk me at all. I’ve never disciplined him in any way. Mother expects him to be responsible and start acting like a young man, yet treats him like a 4 year old in many ways.When I try to talk to her about changing her approach, she shuts me out and gets angry with me. She doesn’t want to hear it and thinks I have no basis for my opinion because I don’t have children.I think everything with the son stems from a lack of boundaries and letting go of her baby. She thinks it is perfectly fine to engage in long body hugs with him in public while he kisses her on the chest. When we watch a movie together, he lays all over us and rubs her legs. She cuddles with him in our bed, which annoys me. He mounts her and gives her back massages. I believe there should be space for us that he isn’t part of and our bed seems like one of them. He walks around naked without any thought of it being inappropriate. She cuts his nails and starts the shower for him. She tried to talk him out of a field trip to a small amusement park with his summer camp because he may get lost or whatever. All of this behavior seems like something you may do with a 4 or 5 year old, but he is 10. I feel he thinks much more like 15 than 5. She slept in bed with him until he was almost nine. Not every night I suppose, but most nights. She stopped doing this when I moved in. He seemed ok with it. She set a boundary and explained that he was getting older and it’s time to sleep in his bed. He hasn’t had any problems at all.When he gets in trouble, he cries like a little baby. Next step is to act sweet and sad. Then he cuddles up with mom and everything is ok. She opens her arms and all is well. To me, that defeats the whole purpose of explaining what he did wrong and how he needs to change the behavior. Yesterday they had an argument because he has been doing fun things all week and weekend. She asked him to work on his prep work for school. He didn’t listen and just goofed off all morning. She gave him a lecture and he starts crying and talking about how much pressure he is under. He lies to her about what he has done with the school work. She was upset and she left the room. Ten minutes later she is cuddled up in our bed with him and all is good. He got his way and all was fine. She then resents me for being disgusted by this behavior. He knows what he is doing. He told me he always wins with mom and he just has to do what he used to do (ie cry and cuddle).Last weekend I suggested we all watch a movie and he got to stay up late. I explained to him that I hadn’t seen mom much this week so I wanted to cuddle with her during the movie. I asked if he would be good with just sitting next to us on the couch as opposed to on us. He said sure and it was a nice evening for all of us. I thought this seemed like a nice step in the right direction.Am I crazy for thinking that it’s time to explain that he isn’t a baby and stop with the cuddling, body kisses and PDA? Wouldn’t it make sense to explain that he is a young man and this type of affection is for babies or partners? It annoys her many times, but she just asks him to do something else in order to get him off of her. I think she should just explain that he isn’t a baby and he isn’t her partner. She says it’s way too early for this and it will just naturally happen. He has her wrapped around his finger because she doesn’t want to lose her precious baby. I don’t view him as a baby. I view him as a spoiled brat that is getting worse, not better. Also, he has to always be touching me as well. If we are talking or doing something quiet, he has to rub me and sit on me and constantly touch. It’s not a huge thing, but I think it is odd. I don’t always want his fingers in my face and his crotch pressed against me. I have managed to stop this behavior for the most part by just telling him that I don’t want him all over me. He seems to get it and be ok with the idea.Most web posts advocate cuddling with your kids until they are teenagers if they like it. When I ask my mother or female friends with children, they tell me that they think mother and son could both use counseling. I see a 10 year old that thinks the
Person's Gender: Male
Person's Age: 40
Talking to my girlfriend and leading by example.
Thanks for your question. My name is XXXX XXX I'd like to help you out.It seems like the last part of your question got cut off, so if there is more information that you would like me to comment on, you are certainly welcome to reply and I'd be happy to do that. From what you've described, it seems like your instincts are very much on target with the boundaries and limitations that need to be set with your girlfriend's son. Kids are very smart, and the fact that he has figured out exactly what to do in order to get away with whatever he wants is a sign that this is no longer a productive way of parenting him. As of now, he is manipulating the system his mother has in place in order to get what he wants, and you can't really blame him for that since he's just a kid.It is a great sign that he's been responsive to you and some of the requests that you have made for him to stop touching you and for you to be closer with his mother. Kids tend to crave boundaries and usually respond pretty well. Some of the behaviors that you have described with the touching are somewhat odd, but as long as he seems to understand that you're not welcome to it and doesn't seem to have any other problems with it, it may not be anything to be overly concerned about. Overall, it sounds like her son would be very receptive to proper boundaries, it is just a matter of his mother enforcing them.Unfortunately I suspect that you're correct that a lot of this has something to do with your girlfriend's inability to let go of him as a baby. This is a time in his life where he needs to start the transition of being treated like a young man. Although your girlfriend says this will occur naturally, the things that she is doing that you've mentioned are inhibiting this process from taking place and are potentially counter productive. She is treating him much younger than his age indicates, and if nothing else, the fact that he knows this and can manipulate her should be a red flag that something needs to change. I didn't get the end of your question, so there may be more to this situation. Counseling can certainly help, although if her son is reasonably well adjusted, then his issues may get straightened out once his mother is treating him as his age. It is also possible that even a parenting class would help her to determine the most appropriate way of treating a child who is his age. Either way, if she is not receptive to what you have to say, it would seem like some outside help would be very beneficial to her.I definitely wish you the best in working this out with your girlfriend and respect the fact that you care enough about her and her son to try and help out. Leading by example can be one of the most powerful ways to send a message, and I would encourage you to continue with that. If there's anything else I can do to help just let me know.Ryan
Hi again, I haven't heard back from you so I hope that I was able to help you out. Feel free to send me a follow-up if you need anything else, otherwise I'd appreciate it if you'd leave me a positive rating so that I'm compensated for my time. Thanks a lot and take care. Ryan