The kids of my GF, 14 and 11 respectively, have that annoying tendancy to nag at each other when night time is coming. Teen girl likes to pout and teenage boy thinks himself as some kind of prima donna that like to be respected.

Please find the kind of scene/play, I'm witnessing

TB: Let me show you, the pictures I've taken from entertainement park

TG: Oh this is the rabbit I draw (she goes to the screen and point that out to us)

TB: TG! Are these your pics or mine? Do you want to show them or should I???

Another example:

Mom: Let me do a charade

TG: Oh! I know this charade! I give you the answer

TB: No! Me first!

TG is unhappy and pouts

Other example:

TB: Hey TG, are you ok?

TG will not answer because she pouts due to sensitiveness over different topics

Luckily, they don't do it often but when they do, I'm at loss at what I should say if I should say anything. Usually, I'm taking a back seat and it is like I'm having to endure a bad play, a funny bad play I would say but still a bad play.

My aim is to get minimal peace of mind when I'm arriving at home, but if I want that minimal peace of mind, I have to intervene (or I think I do). One of my belief is I should intervene only if their behaviour are going out of hands and that they should find a way to deal with their issues or simply to be able to behave properly, despite the tiredness/emotional upheaval.

I'm bit at loss between strict authoritarian rule and too much laissez faire. I know the limit is between the two but I could not find my balance yet. I know that their mum should be doing the discpline but she has more of a friend's attitude toward them and sometimes just sometimes, she has a all or nothing attitude, yell or unconditional love.

I'm also a bit at loss because, well , it is a teenage boy and also a teenage girl

Most likely, my question will be very much opinion based but to be honest, your insights are more than welcome as I'm learning parenthood and hopefully, becoming a decent one.


  • I'm having a bit of a hard time imagining what is going on and why it bothers you. Could you provide a concrete example of something that happens that you feel is worth doing something about?
    – Becuzz
    Apr 13, 2016 at 15:19
  • Hi @Becuzz, please see my update
    – Andy K
    Apr 13, 2016 at 15:39
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    You have two teenagers learning to be more assertive, and basic issues of sibling rivalries. If you expect them to always be polite and for no tension to occur... dream on! And newsflash - its going to get worse! At this point they are fighting between each others. Another couple of years and it's time to REALLY test the parents. And maybe the kids are also testing your willingness to step into more of a parent role. But as the outsider, anything you want to try will have to be discussed with their mother unless you want tension in that relationship too. Apr 13, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    @MichaelBroughton That's almost an answer right there.
    – Becuzz
    Apr 13, 2016 at 16:28
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    I didn't post as an answer as I really didn't give one. More of a "yeah, you're in it now!" comment. Been there. Became a step-dad 14 years ago and it was an evolutionary process from "mom's boyfriend with limited parental obligations" to full-time Dad. All I can say is to step in lightly at first, and with your GFs support you will find your feet. Be consistent, and build up the respect and trust of the kids. Be there just as much with the praise when deserved as the discipline. Its a shock, I know. But if it works out its the best thing you'll ever do. Apr 14, 2016 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


There's a few considerations here. First and foremost is that you aren't their Dad, you're their mother's boyfriend. This means parenting strategy is her responsibility and not yours, and you need to take your cues from her. If you step in and start trying to parent them it might cause friction between you and her. Take her lead, she knows them better than you anyway.

You need to ask yourself what you want out of the relationship with these kids. Do you want to be their dad, or just to help out occasionally? What are your GF's expectations? Get the first straight in your head before you talk to your GF about this. You are not their father and its entirely fair if you don't want to be. If you are in this for the long haul with your GF and see being life partners then you will end up being these kids stepfather though, and you need to start thinking about what kind of dad you want to be.

So talk to her about it, tell her your concerns and ask how she wants to play it. If she wants you to be a father figure to them then you need to develop a partnership with a strategy. Then she needs to tell the kids that they need to listen to you and that you have authority.

If you are going to be a dad you need to be realistic about it and start slowly. You can't go from 0 to dad instantly, parenting is a skill and requires judgement and experience. Build a model in your head about how you want to be as a parent and work your way to it. You'll make plenty of mistakes, learn from them and move on.

If all you want is some peace and quiet then you may have to revise your expectations a bit. You have 2 kids at difficult ages, they have lots of hormones coursing through their veins and at the same time they want to stop being kids and start becoming adults, but they don't really know what that means. It's not easy for them or you, so you have to develop a certain zen about it. Try to be patient and understanding and teach them life skills. Set expectations of behavior with penalties and rewards.

  • Hi @GdD, thanks for reaching out. We had many talks with GF and she wants me to step in. Kids's dad, although not entirely absent is often not present. I do have authority as I had to break out an argument 2 weeks ago. I think I'm bit unrealistic to have peace of mind. Bunch of teenagers ... At that time, I was worse than them ... Many thanks for your insights
    – Andy K
    Apr 14, 2016 at 9:41
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    I will add that, as you have noted that you don't always agree with how the GF handles things - in front of the kids you must be a united front. Any strategy discussions are to be private between you and her. Sure, you can get in the kids good favour by taking their side - but it will not work in the long run as they will try to exploit your division, and it will damage your relationship with the GF. Doesn't mean that your parenting style has to be the same as hers, but if she has already stepped into a situation - you're on her side of it at that moment. And vice versa if you've taken a lead. Apr 14, 2016 at 13:53
  • Absolutely! Pandering to kids will lose you any credibility, and damage your relationship with your GF.
    – GdD
    Apr 14, 2016 at 14:04
  • Hi @GdD, what do you mean by pandering? (not native Anglo speakers, need bit of context). Thanks
    – Andy K
    Apr 18, 2016 at 18:14
  • @AndyK, it means in this case to deliberately side with the kids to gain their favor.
    – GdD
    Apr 19, 2016 at 7:15

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