We were near the end of a family-like dinner, The Kid, Sean and me, when Trent said something rude to me.
I let it slide — Sean was our guest and was a bit embarrassed — although inside I was pissed.
“Why are you letting him get away with that?” Sean asked me later, as I washed the dishes and he dried.
“Well, I know he’s really upset because he bombed his history test.”
“And what does that have to do with anything?”
“That doesn’t mean he should be rude, which he’s been a number of times. Stop excusing him! Do you want me to say something?”
“No, let it be.”
Sean sighed deeply and started drying a little more vigorously; I thought for sure he was going to take the glaze off my plates. Now, I had a rude kid, a pissed-off mom and a frustrated boyfriend on my hands.
Sean was right; Trent has dissed me from time to time. I’ve tended to shrug it off as a teenage thing — I pick my battles carefully, opting for the biggies like drugs and booze. Still, I don’t like rudeness from anyone, and I certainly don’t want to indulge it in my own kid — but I wrestle with how much of that Sean should be part of.
How much parenting should a boyfriend do?
I asked the experts — my friends — and like most experts, they were all over the map.
“You’ve been seeing each other long enough. It’s absolutely his right to say something,” Sara said when she, Mia and I met for coffee the next morning.
“I don’t think so,” Mia said, shaking her head. “He’s not his stepdad and you guys aren’t married or even living together. You could split tomorrow, and Trent knows that. Sean doesn’t have full creds. If anything, you should tell Rob about the rudeness so he could say something. You may be divorced, but you’re still the mom and he’s still the dad.”
Both of them made sense, especially since my discipline techniques wouldn’t be anything I’d put on a resume; sometime they work, sometimes not. Like a lot of moms — especially single or divorced moms — I tend to feel guilty. I just wimp out.
But in what way should my partner step into the fray, if he should at all?
It’s not like we’re talking about “go to your room” or “washing your mouth out with soap” disciplining. And Trent’s hardly a baby or a little kid who’ll work the angles, like Single Mom Seeking blogged about. He’s as tall as Sean and he shaves as often (sometimes more, because it’s still new and exciting).
Honestly, though, it would be so nice to have the support of another adult saying, “Don’t talk that way to your mother!” That’s one thing married couples have that single parents don’t. Still, there’s a part of me that thinks divorced or not, parents need to be a united front so the kids know where the boundaries are and, guess what? — the front exists at mom’s house and dad’s house.
- Who disciplines better, you or your spouse/ex-spouse?
- What role should a boyfriend/girlfriend have, if any?
- Are men better at disciplining than women?
Other single parenting dilemmas:
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