Ask the expert… my partners son is causing a rift

I am one half of a lesbian couple and my partner has a son by IVF from a previous civil partnership which is now dissolved. The problem is she won’t let me discipline him in any way and as a consequence he has no respect for me at all. It is really causing a rift. Debbie

Set boundaries so the child is given a framework of rules which you and his mother enforce together.

It is your partner who is at fault, not the child, so try not to resent him for playing up. Work out a list together of when the child may need boundaries. Pick three issues and make them your responsibility.

Make sure his mum informs him that you will be ensuring he does his homework, cleans his room etc., because she needs to take time for herself and cannot monitor him 24/7, and that if he does not follow these rules she will deny him privileges. Reward him if he does these things.

Make sure she sticks to it and if she can’t, insist on family counselling. You must get this right, as the longer it drags on, the greater the problem.

Expert advice provided by Aunt Broody

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