How to Stop Being a Nanny for a Weak Partner and Their Lazy Kids

You have problems, I have advice. This tip does not contain powdered sugar – in fact, it does not contain sugar and can even be slightly bitter. Welcome to Tough Love .

This week we have a woman who has just moved in with her significant other and his two sons who are walking around him. Things aren’t going well.

Mind you, I am not a therapist or any other healthcare professional, but just a guy who is willing to talk about it the way it is. I just want to give you the tools you need to enrich your damn life. If for any reason you don’t like my advice, feel free to file a formal complaint here . So let’s get on with it.

Hi, Patrick,

Here is a 37-year-old woman with no children of her choice, and about 11 months ago, more or less free-spirited when I made the decision to move in with my significant other and his two teenage boys. It was not an easy decision and I knew it would be difficult. What I didn’t know is that my SO has almost no structure for discipline for my children. They behave well in public, so I had no idea how different their married life was. It doesn’t bother me that they come home, go to their rooms, and play video games all night (although I’m sad to think about that); What worries me is that they need to be begged and persuaded to do the smallest thing, and it seems that no matter how many times they are told to stop insulting their brother or that dirty dishes are sent to the dishwasher, they will never drown. , they are helpless and ask you to shout at him all over the house for every little thing. It affects my attachment and attraction to him and prevents me from developing relationships with children. We turn to a therapist about this. Here’s an example from yesterday:

  • SO : I need to hear from you what the consequences of bad behavior should be.
  • Me : As not a parent, I feel that this should be your job. What did you do before I was here?
  • SO : This is not relevant, we are a new family now. I can’t make rules when I have no idea what you want. What are your recommendations?
  • Me : I sent them to you in a Word document 2 months ago after we last talked about it.
  • SO : Are you done? Well then, let’s think about some of the implications. What ideas do you have?
  • Me : How about not showing onscreen time?
  • SO : No way, I don’t want screen time to be a reward.
  • Me : Okay, how about cooking vegetarian meals for them when they misbehave at the table?
  • SO : No! I don’t want food to be a punishment! Food problems! Body problems! Bad!
  • I : …

In fact, it seems to me that he does not raise children and does not want to punish his children at all and never. And I’m wondering if he’s projecting that failure onto me. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing and the only reference I have is how my parents raised me, which is terrible compared to his vision of parenting. When I tell him this, he says that I am trying to avoid the problem by “hiding behind” my lack of experience / lack of children. So, I need tough love. Our sweet therapist is not going to do this, so bring it up, please.

Thanks! Nobody’s mother

Hello, no one’s mother :

I will call you “MoN” for short because it amuses me and I can pretend I have an accent in my head. Hi MoN, these kids seem like a nightmare and absolutely need discipline. If they don’t learn to follow simple instructions and do things on their own, they will end up becoming criminals, vagabonds, or worse, video game streamers who are still living with you after 18 years of age. And for the record, removing the screen. time is the absolute punishment when they misbehave. Your SO is totally wrong. My parents knew how much I loved my Super Nintendo, so they never grounded me, they would just take it away from me. Guess who got better so quickly?

But the real problem here isn’t the kids – not least. Your S.O. trying to give you a turnaround by rejecting all of his long-standing parenting problems on you. He is completely, as you put it, “projecting his failure” onto you. He says he wants your input, that you are now part of the family, but then refuses to listen to you and ignores your ideas. Or, when he listens, he just knocks them down without offering any alternatives. This is serious nonsense, MON. He tries to make his problem your problem and then hopes that you end up getting so tired of trying to fix it that you just give it up and give in to their unstructured, undisciplined lifestyle. No, well.

You need to put it all on the table, whether during therapy or when the two of you are not busy serving Cheetos to his kids from the golden goblet. Tell him that this is a serious problem – his problem – and it won’t just go away. You’re not going to just roll over and forget about it because you love him. Explain that you are ready to help and be part of the solution, but make it clear that he needs to act here. He needs to know everything: that his lack of disciplinary action makes him unattractive to you, that you feel that he blames you for his shortcomings, and that you feel that your affection for him is waning because of this. A good parent doesn’t let their kids walk over them and then point the finger at a new family member just because they want to point out what’s wrong. Damn, MoN, it’s like you’ve moved into a house with three teenagers. I hope you haven’t forgotten about the pizza at the store.

If after talking to him nothing changes (give him a little time to make sure that he really heard you), you have several options:

  • Option one : try raising these kids alone and – actually, never mind – to hell. You are not a nanny.
  • Option two : Tell him you are moving out to live on your own again. You do not part with him; you just wait for the kids to grow up and leave (if they ever do).
  • Option three : give him an ultimatum. It can be risky and doesn’t always work, but he needs to know how serious you are about it. Either he will start listening to you and work with you to find a smart way to punish those little devils who are screaming insults to people in their online game right now, or you will be gone forever.

None of these options are easy, but you will now remember why you initially decided not to have children, MoN. If this guy cannot meet you halfway and at least try to solve these problems with you, what is the point? Are you going to clean up after these villains and listen to them barking at each other all over the house for the rest of your life? I would not.

That’s all for this week, but I still have a lot of frank and honest advice. Tell me what is bothering you? Does work upset you? Are you having problems with a friend or colleague? Is your love life going through rough times? Do you just feel lost in life, as if you have no direction? Tell me, maybe I can help. I probably won’t make you feel warm and foggy inside, but sometimes you need tough love. Ask a question in the comments below or email me at the address you see at the bottom of the page ( please include “TIP” in the subject line ). Or tweet me #ToughLove ! Also, DO NOT WRITE ME IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR INQUIRY TO OPEN . I don’t have time to answer everyone for fun. “Until next time, figure it out yourself.


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