I have had this issue with my girlfriend's daughter, mind you I have been with her for approx 3 years and I seem to have a discussion on how her daughter does not obey or respect what she is told or is dramatic when things don't go her way. Since I am not her father, I just find it difficult to enforce any discipline and I don't get mad or yell at her, but all I can do is try to talk and have communication that will reflect some logical sense to my girlfriend and daughter.

Through these years that I have been around, I feel that she had always been given, previously by both parents, what she wanted due to being an only child and for this reason she whines or cries when we tell her no or try to talk to her about discipline. She is a smart little girl, which behaves in school, has excellent grades, is in the gifted and talented program, and never do we get any complaints from teachers.

What I have noticed, and not only from how my significant other would parent her (which I despise, but is changing by us communicating and understanding/respecting our different point of views), is the way most parents nowadays will give a child a smartphone to distract, calm, entertain, or simply to use as a reward. We have limited or have tried to implement the use of the device for only an hour or so, even if I really dislike the idea of Youtube or games being a type of reward.

Previously, she would cry for the phone and my girlfriend would hand it over. Now it's still something she asks for everyday after school, but it isn't given to her as easily, and timed before she would be stuck on it for hours and cry when taken away. Now she cooperates when she is told to hand it over.
What I now find hard to help on parenting is how she has to cry for everything.

I understand she is a girl, which can be more sensitive or emotional, but if we are going to a restaurant she doesn't like or to a store at the mall she knows is for her mom, she whines/cries and even after being at the park for, say 2hrs, riding her bike and being at the playground, once we let her know that it is time to leave, she cries and yells and it has become very frustrating.

She would do it before at restaurants, with video games and things of that sort as well, and I completely understand that kids just want to keep playing and having fun. She will cry for losing at a board game, she will cry for not waiting for her while walking and she is on her bike, or if she cant pedal uphill (she exaggerates immensely), for a scuff, fall, not wanting to switch the tv channel, sending her to her room to watch tv/movie, not wanting to sleep in her room while we are in the living room, crying or yell because we switch the song on the radio, etc. We have had talks with her about understanding that crying is not something that will allow her to get it her way and that unless she has hurt herself, as kids are prone to injuries, she shouldn't cry for everything.

She also tends to not obey when something had been asked or if she is told to do something, like pick up her shoes, change, etc. And what I think is she doesn't respect her mother as an authority figure. She can be told 3 times to do something and honestly, it's as if she needs to be scolded on a daily basis. There is not one day when her mom does not get after her due to repeating herself and having to reiterate in a tone of frustration/upset after she was talked/asked in a calm tone a few times.

I have tried explaining to my gf that her daughter knows that punishment, whether grounding or removing privileges are never upheld and that she knows that she can get away at the end of the day.. I do know that at school, with her grandmother, and her father she seems to be in a better behaved state and acts less spoiled/bratty. I honestly don't want to make her a soldier and be strict or for her not to be a kid.

I actually like asking her about her day at school, try to teach her new things, especially since my punishment as a kid was having to go to my room and get a book and sit there for an hour or so, whether dictionary, encyclopedia, bible, then writing a summary or short essay on math problems, repetition of writing multiplication table, but my father would make me study or read with no tv.

I also don't like to be telling my girlfriend how she should discipline or raise her daughter. Let me just add that my gf is expecting (we will have a baby girl in 2 moths, god-willing) and I know that for me it will be a blessing but, a tough and interesting life change and that I'm anxiously waiting my princess' arrival.

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    I liked your answer, Louis. I am counselling a family with this problem and am seeing it more often. I think it almost safe to call it an addiction -- but until it is widely acknowledged, I won't! ;) I think you are on the right track. This family has a 5 year old boy who tantrums every time he loses or doesn't get a device and he is really out of control -- desperate for the iPad. We are weaning him from it slowly as he became self-injurious when it was simply removed by his dad. – WRX Mar 18 '17 at 14:28
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    This question could do with a little revision, it is very hard to read as is. – Neil Meyer Mar 19 '17 at 14:17

Louis, I think you are getting some fairly punitive answers here and I would like to address your question from a more positive place.

  • Sit down with your girlfriend and ask how much support she would like. She may want some or none and until you have 'permission', and unless it is your personal property (your stuff -- your rules), you should stay out of it. This might be a reason that you decide not to live there.
  • If your girlfriend has agreed that you can participate (to some degree -- I would not get into physical punishment with any child, especially one that is not your biological child.) then suggest that both of your talk to her daughter together.
  • Turn off TV and devices before you talk (by this I mean Mum talks and you sit beside her in supportive agreement) and calmly suggest that because the daughter has been having some trouble listening and cooperating that there will be some changes in the routines.
  • Then write the 'rules' down and go over them together. The rules might be that all chores are done and/or all school work is completed to her mom's satisfaction. They might include that for every time she is asked to turn off a device and does not listen, she loses a few (3-5) minutes from her time limit the next time she has the device. The rules should include a maximum number of minutes/periods by week and by day. Those limits are set by her mom.
  • Agree that you all will help fill the time positively with an outdoor activity or a board or card game. Maybe good behaviour can buy her extra device or TV time after a week of listening. Perhaps poor behaviour reduces the amount the next week.
  • I suggest time periods that are fairly set -- if she is ready for school and there's time -- she can play for X minutes. When she comes home from school and has done one chore, she can have X minutes. You get the idea. Divvy it up across the day so that she always has something to work for.
  • Make it up to the daughter to decide if she gets all/most/some or no time with the items she wants. You can commiserate with her. "It's too bad you stayed on the iPad too long and did not listen because now there's no time for it today. Let's do a bike ride instead."

You may have to remove remotes and lock devices if she is uncooperative -- but until you've tried a positive approach, imo -- you should not be removing everything from her room or anything near to that extreme.


I don't know if you have ever read the Asterix stories. In the one book where they go to Spain the leader of the Spaniard's son also does this type of thing.

Every time, the Spanish king's son wants his way he stops says something to the effect of "I'm going to stop breathing until I get, X, Y or X and every time all his father says when he does this is, how colorful his breathing exercises makes his cheeks.

If you give children the power to get there ways trough crying then you should not expect them to not use that power. Children have to know that they are still the children and you are still the parents.

Maybe you should just let your child cry if he does it in public in an attempt to shame you, let him. After a couple of times of crying to no effect you can teach him that you are still his parent, you still no better and all the crying in the world is not going to change that.

Don't give your child that power.


Everytime they play up.

  1. Remove there toy / gaming system if they have 1 to a location they cannot get to.

  2. Be assertative and used a raised voice to tell them not to do something. (most people won't agree a slap on the hand is the right course of action but if the child would endanger themselves with stupid actions i disagree.

  3. Give her a broken phone, create a fake argument about money and then use deception like your child is doing to you and say that the phone is broken and we can't afford a new one, get her off the addiction of the phone firstly.

  4. As for always crying etc are you sure its not stress/ bully related at school?

  5. The last action is reverse psychology ignore her crying unless she is physically hurt, she will eventually get the message it doesn't work anymore, change her school as this will have one of two effects make her cry and beg to stay where she is or she will be happy to move.

  6. Doesn't do as told empty her room of everything except school clothes a bed and leave a single book and make it a very hard to understand book like advance math in the room this will teach her respect of objects, you say if you want certain things back you must learnt to respect the provider of these objects and to ensure that you have learned your lesson we will ask you 10 questions from chapter 1 of this book this week and your items will be confiscated until you have completed each chapter and if you disobey you items will be confiscated a further week each time.

  7. Punishment systems work, but at the same time you need to find a way to better your child's education and reasoning so they are able to learn new tricks at trying to emotionally blackmail you, this way you still take a supportive role but at the same time allow the child to develop. You may not agree with my methods , but raised voice, controlled emotions (being cold towards her instead of the usual warm self, fake arguements and other things can be used to get the desire outcome i would use the smack but its frowned up on these days but that's why we have so many degenerates and trouble makers effecting the progress of our classrooms.

  8. Read all about parent locum, and lock down your phone with pin codes.

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    I think you went too far here. – WRX Mar 20 '17 at 20:53
  • You are most likely correct. But if it gets to the stage where you have no control over a young child it means they can be seriously hurt, injurged or even die in an accident. Also without control in later life they might do drugs , do alchol abuse or skip out on education all of which can ruin there life in different ways. I don't suggest using all the above at once just try different tactics and techiques till you find something that works after all the child's future is important and without guidance from an authority figure they won't succeed in the best possible way. – The Cookies Apr 29 '17 at 16:56
  • Suggesting lying teaches her to lie -- sorry, I disagree with you on points 2,3,5,6 and 7. – WRX Apr 29 '17 at 17:01

Being with your girlfriend and her daughter for this long, in order to contribute more effectively in a parenting role, both your girlfriend and her are going to need you in a more authoritative role. In order for them to allow you to fill that role, though, there will have to be some changes that show commitment so you have standing and acceptance as the father figure. Traditionally, this is done through marriage. Now, I don't know if that's on the table for you or not, but there are many reasons why marriage is a great idea for long term relationships. This isn't about marriage, though. If marriage is not on the table, you could offer to adopt her so you are legally her parent.

Both forms of commitment show both the mother and daughter you are in it for the long haul, not some stranger telling them what to do. Ideally, after showing somehow that you are committed long term, they would accept you in the father role and you would have more standing to assist in the development and discipline areas.

The reasons I bring this up is that this situation is typically resolved by a father's role. A mother, being more nurturing, is going to want to appease their wants. The father generally knows where the line is drawn and takes a harsher stance in these situations, which provides structure, discipline, and consistency. They are much more likely not to accept this guidance if they don't know for sure you are committed long term. Note that this is mostly not appreciated right away. (also note use of term generally, not always)

As for actually disciplining her to stop the crying, well, there are various ways to do this. Depending on severity of the outburst (and geological location, legally), spanking* and following up with why she was spanked in a loving manner while being stern is very effective. Another approach is time outs. The older the kid gets, the more embarrassing this is, to an extent, and could be effective assuming her room doesn't have many toys. My daughter used to "go limp" and fake cry. In some situations we spanked if it was really bad. In others we ignored her (harder if in public), and sometimes we just picked her up right away and gave her a half "come on" half silly look so she knew we knew she was faking it. Giving her what she wants is usually a bad idea.

*Spanking would be almost assuredly not accepted without them accepting you in the father role, hence the prerequisite.

  • seems preachy (about marriages and long term commitments) and presumptuous (..A mother, being more nurturing, is going to want to appease their wants. The father generally knows where the line is drawn and takes a harsher stance in these situations.. ) – learner101 Mar 21 '17 at 7:44
  • I gave options for both traditional and non-traditional paths. For the other area you mentioned, I know some people may have an immediate reaction based on the emotional aspect of what I said, but is there factually anything wrong? (Some people are surprised to hear there are differences between males and females, and mother/father roles, in general) – Physics-Compute Mar 21 '17 at 13:33

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