SO and I had our first argument about difficult children.


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Well actually it was pretty much our first argument ever. In the eight months we have been dating, we have never fought. Until now. On Friday night the kids went to their dad's for the weekend. My boyfriend texted me and asked me why I never invite him over when the kids are with me on the weekends. To tell the truth, none of my previous boyfriend never showed any interest in my children before, so I really never thought about it. I did, however, invite him to my son's birthday party last Saturday, which I reminded him. This led into a discussion about difficult children and how disrespectful they are to me. According to him, difficult child 1 called me dumb and stupid in front of everybody at the birthday party. I seriously don't recall it at all whatsoever. If I would have heard her say such a thing, I would have corrected her.

SO insists I heard her and did absolutely nothing to stop her. He says my mom is the one who spoke up and told my daughter to show me some respect. I don't recall that ever happening either! I swear to you I really don't. I may have been spacing out (I can get a little bit spacey sometimes) or maybe I was busy talking to someone else. Anyway, he then told me that my kids walk all over me, never show me any respect, act out, and basically it's all my fault for them being the way they are. I took serious offense at his accusations. My kids may get disrespectful every now and then (typical teen behavior, in my opinion) and when they do, I get on their case about it. My kids do have consequences. He has no idea what goes on in my house because he isn't there 99% of the time. He even accused the kids of listening to my mom better than they do me.

When he came over a few weeks ago to have pizza and watch movies with us, my kids were very well behaved. I have no idea what he's talking about when he says they walk all over me. He inists that I spoil my kids and they always get their own way. How does he know this? I asked him to cite me some examples. He couldn't give me any. I reminded me that my kids have disabities and may act out more than the norm, but he has never raised a difficult child so telling me how to raise mine is unfair. His son never grew up with him, and to this day they are not close at all whatsoever. He has no right to talk. He ended up saying he was "apparently out of line" and he was choosing to walk away from the converstation.

I decided to forget about it and drop it because the argument was getting us nowhere. I am still really resentful for his accusations. This is why I've been single for so long. Almost seven years to be exact. I don't want any man telling me how to raise my kids. He wants to spend more time with them, but now I'm worried that if they ever do act out, or say something out of line, he's gonna blame me. Now I'm reluctant to invite him over when the kids are with me. I feel like we are taking one huge step backward instead of forward. Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of it than it really is. He really hit a sore spot with my difficult children. Am I overreacting? Should I hear him out and accept his criticism? Cause right now I feel like he's over stepping his boundaries, but maybe it's normal in this stage of a relationship. He has been my longest relationship since my kids' dad and I broke up seven years ago, so I really don't know.


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I agree with YOU and YOUR thinking. Maybe staying single is a good idea. It is very hard for others to understand difficult children and who wants to hear the lie about "spoiled" and "our fault?" Sounds like he's a good man to keep for dating, but not one who would adjust well to taking it any further. He does not understand how difficult our k ids are and how just chewing them out or even grounding them usually gets limited results. in my opinion it's probably better to keep him separate from your kids or you may hear this stuff all the time. Unless you are going to marry him, no reason for the kids to know him.

I have very little patience for those who honestly think WE cause our children's inappropriate behavior by "spoiling" them. Some kids are REALLY, TRULY spoiled and still behave. Our kids are wired differently and they are much, much harder to raise and it is NOT our faults. What are we supposed to do? Beat them. Even that probably wouldn't :)

In short, if your boyfriend can't change his way of thinking, I don't think you'll be very happy with him. Haven't you heard it all before, how it's all your fault? Do you really want to hear him explain how he could make them behave in ways that you did not? I personally don't think you are overreacting. in my opinion if somebody thinks difficult children are the way they are because of their upbringings, they are not really very good matches for us and our struggling children. This is JMO. I'm sure you'll get many who disagree with me.


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Your reaction is normal. However i do not think you can expect him to understand the world of a difficult child family. It took years for my now husband to understand/believe in/really see the difficult child in my difficult child.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I'm not taking sides. But it could be that he's offering you an honest outside perspective. That doesn't mean he's right, doesn't make him wrong. Just means that perhaps this is how those outside of the situation perceive it.

Kids normally respond to grandparents better. It's a grandparent thing. lol Grandparents are understanding and patient and when they speak up, it makes a child sit up and pay attention.....make them realize they might have over stepped. Parents can't get away with what grandparents can. Shoot, my grandkids respond to me far better than their parents. (a fact their parents are not always thrilled with) But I don't have to need to correct them often, so when I do......there must be a good reason. Know what I mean??

Like you said, he's not around your kids, he doesn't know them well. His judgements are based on only how little he has actually interacted with him. Of course it's not going to give him an accurate picture. And if he really didn't get involved raising his bio son........when then he has inexperience clouding his judgement too.


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Because there is a very small proportion of kids with problems where the "parenting" IS the problem... it has become the "default" explanation.

In reality, the default should be "wired differently"... at least it would be more fair to the kids who have genuine problems but are closer to typical teen... if "wired differently" is assumed, then typical teen kids with LDs or APDs or other stuff would by default get extensive testing and some solutions, too.

However, I don't have the energy to change the world...


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What really makes me sad is that I truly love this man. He is the best boyfriend I have ever had. I would be seriously bummed if things didn't work out with me and him. He treats me like gold. He treats my kids good too. He's the only boyfriend so far that has ever expressed any interest in my kids. Someday I would love to get married but the only thing stopping me is difficult children. I dread giving them a stepdad. I know there's many good step parents out there, but there's plenty of other families who are having major problems due to stepparenting. I know my boyfriend is trying to be helpful he really is. He loves me and wants to see me get treated right. But him blaming me is just wrong. I really hope he backs off and it works itself out. I really want to see how things go with him and I still want him in my life.


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He is a guy. He sees a problem. He wants to be hero and FIX the problem.
And it doesn't work that way... even when they get the right problem to fix, they can't just fix it.
For a man to learn how to live with what cannot be easily fixed is a HUGE leap.


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Staff member
Perhaps trying to educate him in ways that he can understand, he has to adjust to quite a bit and it's all new to him. Could you have him talk to one of your children's therapists to ask questions and get some information about just what you and your children have to deal with. I think it's a lot for someone outside of the family to have to grasp and it appears he doesn't have enough information to make any kind of rational judgment. Are there books you could give him? There are other parents here who have brought in a partner and over time they have learned to live in the difficult child world too, perhaps you could pick their brains on how they succeeded. I think it will take work and a real commitment from him and a real commitment for you too, to teach him and learn how to talk to him, and for both of you to find a way to communicate without blame and judgment. I agree with Insane, men tend to want to take action and fix a problem, all the nuances can be lost on them, but that doesn't mean he can't be educated. You're opening up a whole new world to him, it seems appropriate that there will be 'bumps' along the way that you both will have to learn to negotiate. You might both look at this as an opportunity to learn how to communicate in positive and healthy ways so that you can build a strong and loving connection with each other and with your children.


New Member
First, most kids listen to almost anyone better than their mom and even dads. (Yes this is a generalization ). I actually count on this sometimes! While at horseback riding if I want Q to pick up his jacket or wait for a second, I will even ask 1 of the people there to tell him to do it, and he always will do it for them. It's a nice respite for me.

Second, he sounds like he has some nice qualities but he doesn't sound like he has very much experience . It's easy to be an armchair coach. I don't know if this is possible, do you think he could just be a boyfriend? Maybe it doesn't have to be having a relationship or not having a relationship. Do you have to work towards marriage right now? I know it may be a huge compromise, but given that you do have 2 children with special needs, could that ever be a satisfying choice for you?? ( to not have an intensly committed relationship).....

I realize that could be a huge change in dreams for you and even for him, so it may not be an option, but it could be something to think about if not with him in a future relationship until your kids are grown. (Not like I say this lightly, I had to make that choice ).

Of course he still would need to understand that there differences in parenting your children compare to other children. You'd still have to come to a place where you weren't afraid.that he would criticize your children and your parenting. That could take lots of education and risk taking. Or a new boyfriend and that is not an easy thing to find---I understand that. Once you have kids it's just very hard to work on another relationship. Not impossible and certainly worth working toward if its your dream. So, just throwing out ideas.


Well-Known Member
Personally I wouldnt break it off simply because he said something like that. He really hasnt met your kids and he probably doesnt have experience with many people with mental health issues. You havent so far been upfront with him about your issues from what you have posted. I think you need to have some long conversations with this guy if you want to be with him. He really could be a good guy who has your best interests at heart. It sounds like it hurt him to hear someone talking badly to you. That sounds like someone who cares about you.

You may be selling him short in being able to understand things. Truth be told, Tony had a whole lot of evidence that I was crazier than a loon and he should have run for the hills but he stood by me. This was even before we had kids. Heck even after we had the boys he could have kicked me out and I would have left the boys with him. He chose to stay with me. None of us knew what my problem was for years.

Talk to this guy and give him a chance. See what his views are and what he has to say. You will know pretty fast how he reacts and where you need to go from there.