Social Question

shortdude11's avatar

Am I addressing my girlfriend correctly?

Asked by shortdude11 (61points) 1 month ago

So I have been with my girlfriend for 2-years now and like every relationship, we have our differences on certain topics. However, there has been one specific topic that has been bugging me like crazy.

So my girlfriend has a 4-year old daughter and this little girl is super smart and sometimes amazing to be around, however, lately, she has been acting up a lot, and when I say a lot I mean so much that she has been lying more than ever, not listening at all to anyone except me. Now to me, I feel as if the little is crying out for attention, see the father of the child moved out of state back during Easter time, and has only spoken to the child through video chat about a handful of times. So although she is only 4— years old I know that she is having a sense of abandonment issue. On top of all this, Her mother and I work a lot, however, for the days that my girlfriend has off she does not seem to want to pay attention to the child for example she will sit on the phone or watch tv or sleep and I am not the only one who notices this behavior. So in hand, the child will make lots of noise in the morning playing with her toys or even continuously not listen; on top of saying, “mommy” over and over again. So I will speak to my girlfriend in regards to these issues and all she does is get frustrated with me or tell me that she does not just watch tv or watch or phone, but that she does play with the child. And yes don’t get me wrong she will spend like 10–30 mins with the child playing, however, I feel as if the child is crying out and I do not know what to do. It is getting so bad that it is creating issues with my girlfriend and me. And I love them dearly but I am losing sleep due to them constantly arguing in the morning( I work overnights). Please help! I am to the point of seeking family counseling, however, I do not know if the little one is only enough for that yet. Help….

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11 Answers

Inspired_2write's avatar

Talk calmly in private with your girlfriend.

I think that the 4 year old fears that since her father was replaced that she might be next?
You cannot be her father, but instead her friend .

The only time that a child will accept you as a father figure is when they are 3 years of age of younger( according to Doctor Phil’s observation over the years.).

Also they will NOT accept discipline well from an outsider as they see you as.( therefore only the mother can discipline her).

Best way to handle it is to talk openly to your girlfriend.
( perhaps another female Grandmother , Aunt can take up the time with her as a outlet.
But not sure how she would handle that.

smudges's avatar

Why is the child not in daycare or preschool? That’s what should be happening. The kid is probably bored to death in large part, and at that age should be learning all kinds of things. My nephew just turned 3 at the beginning of July and is planting a garden, and knows his numbers and alphabet. He’s been going to daycare or preschool since he was a baby and loves it. He’s very smart and happy. I think she needs a lot more stimulation for her little curious, growing brain, not to mention the social aspect!

Pandora's avatar

If mom doesn’t spend too much time with her than she may see you as competeing with time she wants. In other words she may be jealous of you. It may also be that she sees you as the reason dad moved away. Best thing you can do is reward good behavior. Give her a short task that she can do. Like playing quietly till you get up and then promise to take her out to get icecream with mom. Then you are rewarding her with icecream and time with mom. My daughter was about 3 when my mom came to visit. She misbehaved and was driving me nuts. I got so angry that I yelled at her what was her problem. And she said she hated Grandma because I spend so much time with her. Then I thought about it and she was right. I was so grateful to have an adult to talk to all day that I was ignoring her. She said that I didn’t love her anymore. So I, the 3 of us went out to the park or movies or out for treats. I also told her that no one could ever steal the love I had for her but the way she loved me I love Grandma who is my mommy. After that she started to behave as normal.
Another time she was misbehaving and I didn’t understand why. I tried everything but the more she misbehaved the less I wanted to deal with her. It went on for at least 2 weeks before I called a family counselor for advice. She asked me, when was the last time I told her I loved her. I had to think about it. She would get me upset everyday so I was just tucking her into bed at night without our ritual hugs and kisses and verbal confirmation of how much I loved her. I was being cold to her and that was making matters worse. So that day I sat her down and told her I was not happy with her behavior lately but that I loved her and always will love her. That was enough for her to again go back to a normal happy little girl.

That time it was because her brother had started school and she thought that meant more time for her, especially since she didn’t have her brother to play with. She was mad she couldn’t go to school with him and thought I was being mean in keeping her home and not playing all day with her.

So my point is ask her. Most children are willing to express themselves but don’t openly volunteer why they are mad without being asked. You may be able to clear out some confusion or misunderstanding on both sides.

nikipedia's avatar

Family counseling isn’t for the 4 year old, it’s for you two. Your girlfriend might benefit from Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).

But from what you wrote it sounds like you have a pretty normal 4 year old on your hands, and a tired, overworked mom. Are you ready to take on a stepdad role? What other support does she have?

shortdude11's avatar

I am ready, I just am completely new to this so I am nervous. And she has her grandparents here from both the father’s side and my girlfriend’s side.

YARNLADY's avatar

What does she want?

Forever_Free's avatar

Yes, she may be experiencing some of these things. She is also 4 years old and at this age there is much going on as her mind develops. Some may be normal and pass.

If the Mother does not want to authentically do it on her own, then you saying something may just create another issue.

Personally, I would take it as an opportunity to bond with her. She is 4 and wants attention. Spend the time with her. A lose of your leep is nothing compared to the loss this little girl has gone through or may go through. Children grow so fast and absorb everything.

Do all you can for her in a complete unselfish manner. Do it as a gift to her and it will be realized as a gift to you as well.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Not a parent but psychologically, it sounds like the normal mother-daughter dynamic playing out.
Can you possibly find a day job? Little ones and overnights don’t seem to ever work out well.

JLoon's avatar

You’re not in control dude – And you’re not supposed to be.

No parent is ever completely in control of every aspect of their child’s behavior. Even at age 4 young ones are forming individual personalities and everything goes with that. No matter how much care you provide as a mother or father your responsibilty really only goes so far.

And your not the father, or even the husband in this relationship. Start by realizing that before you begin making decisions for anyone else.

shortdude11's avatar

Thank you, everyone! I am new to all of this child stuff and even the girlfriend with a child. However, I will take all of this insight and apply it to my situation. Thank you.

gorillapaws's avatar

My advice would be to think of some games/activities the three of you could play together. Every night set aside x amount of time for a structured activity with no phones allowed: perform a 3-person play for the audience of stuffed animals, do an arts & crafts project, write a song together, do an age appropriate science experiment, go for a walk, play croquet in the backyard (the sillier the course, the better), etc. Mix it up and have fun.

You’re not her dad, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a positive role model and encourage her creativity and development.

Best of luck to you all. And welcome to Fluther! I hope you stick around.

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