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Hello Itsmejak. Can I ask how long you've been in your present relationship? Your 4 year old son obviously is looking to your partner for the father relationship he didn't have with his dad. Is your partner violent with your son, or just a bit unrelenting in his chastising of him. If your partner has never had much contact with little children, this would explain his feeling of being overridden when it comes to discipline. Some men who are not used to dealing with little children sometimes either go slightly overboard in their attempts at trying to be the ideal father, or they tend to ignore because, again, they're unsure how to deal with certain situations. Perhaps you and partner need to talk about the discipline side of things. If your partner feels his ideas of discipline are being questioned, this will tend to make him a bit uptight too. Maybe discussing with, possibly a third party who is not emotionally involved, might help clear the air. I'm thinking possibly a child psychologist who might be able to help clarify what you can't put into words. I realise you're in a difficult situation, because while you want your partner and son to 'bond', his feelings of being in the wrong with regard to disciplining your son, is going to put more of a wall between you. I think the reason your partner said 'no' to son calling him 'dad' is possibly because he doesn't feel like he is a 'dad'. Has he tried being one on one with your son, this may help solve some of the problem too. Maybe take son out, just the two of them.
Have a think about the child psychologist idea.
I think Pipsy has a good recommendation for a child psychologist.
See, step parenting is difficult for all. Parents as a whole don't usually read or do research on parenting. People often think parenting come natural and I think there is a good argument that it doesn't. Add to that complexity a non biological step dad in this case and you have issues. Why?
Well without knowing him and you it isn't easy to get it right but my guess is that there is some level of jealousy from the man to your son. Many men would laugh at this in denial but it happens a lot. See, the man wants you, wants the relationship but at times your son, as young and little as he is, is an irritation that gets in the way.
I've been a step dad when in my 20's. It wasn't easy and I was also over strict on the little fella. I had no idea what I was doing frankly but I thought at the time I was bringing him up the "right way". My partner wasn't convinced and I saw her as a softy without any discipline with him.
When 40yo I met a lady that had a 17yo daughter and 14yo son. At the time I had 2 daughters 7 and 4yo. By this time I was a much better step dad and treated my step children as friends. But my partner was unfortunately the step mother from hell. She wouldn't see any good at all in my girls. Eventually the relationship fell apart.
The message here is that step parent, to be successful in a relationship need to step back and allow the parent to raise the child/children how they feel is right and for the step parent to blend....not the other way around. I also firmly believe that step parent families require the step parent to be of a nurturing type that adore all children or it wont work out in the long term.
There will be tell tale signs of it not working out. My ex girlfriend the so called mother from hell, never wanted my kids to accompany us on holidays saying "not until they behave themselves". So we travelled the country without them. I should have seen the signs but hope for many years they would end up close. they never did.
Hi Itsmejak. I don't think you're a bad judge of character. He, as Tony said obviously didn't really give the whole, you/child package deal much forethought. Not being willing to learn makes it difficult too. Had he been genuinely willing to watch and learn things might have been better. Unfortunately it didn't happen quite as you hoped. Dating is totally different from living together. May I ask how long before you moved in together? Before you decided to live together, presumably he would've only spent a very short time with your son. Not long enough really to realise the difference between dating and living with you. Please don't berate yourself too much, how could you see what was not obvious? If all of us were gifted with foresight, no mistakes or learning from them, would happen. I don't feel you were stupid or dumb, you hoped things would work out. It is not your fault or your partner's fault that they didn't. Not being suited isn't a fault, it's learning and accepting that things aren't always meant to be.
I am sorry that you've been so hurt and I hope you won't see it as a failure on your part, cause it's not. Both of you made a mistake.
Like any bust up (I've had 4 long term ones) adjusting to the fact that it isn't going to work out is the first step. Accepting you need to put your little boy first is the second, moving out hopefully in an amicably way id third. Then, you'll be relieved because there wont be any further issues.
When seeking another partner screen them better in terms of what nurturing qualities he has.
You are lucky in that its only been 12 months. I lasted 11 years with my first wife. It lasted 11 years too long. We had two children and I stayed for the kids, was emotionally abused to extreme levels and broke down under the pressure. In the last week, I planned my demise, then put my kids first by accepting the part time dad role rather than no dad at all. And once my car got to the end of our street I clicked into new life mode. Built my own home and now happily married to a wonderful lady that one daughter calls "mum".
Don't give up, be courageous and stand your ground. Do not allow his excess discipline ways to overule your parenting methods. And by the way, silence is an emotional weapon and is unacceptable. Adult talk. He should be told! Allow him free reign and your little boy will end up scarred.