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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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my boyfriend of 3 years and I just moved in together - he brings

Resolved Question:

my boyfriend of 3 years and I just moved in together - he brings 2 girls, age 15 & 12, while i bring one 6 year old boy, into the new household (new for all of us). I see him spoiling & favoring his younger daughter, with sugary treats and/or tangible objects, to the point it drives me nuts & i can't help myself but say something which often comes out as criticism of his parenting. He then of course criticizes my parenting. How can I better approach this situation?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 5 years ago.
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective

Dear friend,

I think that it is wonderful that you are trying to bring two single parent families into a cohesive group with dual parents for all of the children. Now the trick is to hold it together and prosper.

Success depends on several factors, in your situation. Fortunately, you have the services of a neutral third part who will help.

You are now awakening to the realities of his relationship with his children, which has been ongoing all of their lives.

Even if he agreed with you about the potential harm of too many treats and too many bribes, these are established and he cannot very well change his behavior because you know they are unhealthy (except perhaps in moderation).

You cannot disrupt the established patterns, but you can begin to educate him with the help of a neutral party.

Let the changes be very slow.

The little girl probably benefits greatly from the treats. They could be slowly reduced.

It takes time to adapt, and it is so complex because there are many different relationships here interacting, and adjustment will take a long time. Let the family blend slowly, and don't let your considerations about the harms of sugar interfere with the big picture.

I do agree with your point of view, but right now this is a very secondary issue. If you want this family to work, then work on the details of parenting later, unless they are so blatantly unbearable that you are ready and willing to abandon the entire project. It does not seem that you are, so you can make your points of view heard but don't let them dominate this union.

Over time, the tools, and the understanding will take shape. Right now, use the best tools in your box - unconditional love and patience - and they will help the others fall into place.

I feel that you have a good thing going. Don't let the details swamp it. Just take one day at a time with patience and love.

God bless your new family.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC
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