I Dislike My Boyfriend’s Daughter

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Please help. I really don’t like my boyfriends daughter. I don’t really know why. We’ve been together for two years and his daughter is two. She was four weeks old when we got together but I had been aeeimg my boyfriend before she was born. There was a period of time that I was not aware of her existance. He didn’t have a lot to do with her after she was born (for the first year) but I encouraged him strongly to see her more and spend time with her. He did this and I thought it was great. I didn’t mind her being around at all.

Lately, the whole situation is bothering me. I do all the cooking and cleaning and I find myself constantly picking up after her and feeding her. He doesn’t give her snacks so I just do it because I think it’s unfair. I change her, feed her etc and that would mostly be fine but I feel like I can’t keep doing it for much longer. It’s now after 7 and she still hasn’t had tea. She whines majority of the day because she’s always hungry and tired. So I don’t want her around me now. I just want peace. She also sleeps in our room nightly and wakes about 5 times in the night. By screaming. There is more to the situation but basically, she is a victim of my boyfriends laziness and I feel like I’m picking up the slack. What should I do? I don’t want to leave because I do love him but I don’t know if I can keep going in this situation. I desperate for a good nights sleep and for someone to cook me a meal, just once.

A: I think you already know what I’m going to say: Your problem is not with this little girl. Your problem is with your so-called boyfriend. He is being a terrible father. A 2-year-old needs routine, security, and love. She needs to be fed regularly and well, put down for regular naps, and cuddled and loved as much as possible. Your boyfriend is guilty of neglect. If it were not for you, she would be malnourished and uncared for. Of course she whines. Of course she screams. She is communicating in the only way she can that the situation is intolerable for her.

You didn’t mention what goes on with the little girl’s mother. Even if you aren’t fond of each other, you two should be allies in caring for the little girl. Let the mom know what is going on. The needs of the child come first. Work together to make sure she gets the attention and care she wants and deserves.

You also didn’t mention how often and for how long you have the child in your care. If it is only a weekend now and then (and you insist on staying with this boy), you need to accept that you will be the parent as long as she is with you. Surely you can manage for a couple of days now and then if it means the health and welfare of a child. But if she is with you regularly, you have every right to insist that your boyfriend man up and be a dad. Actually, I don’t care if she is with you five minutes or five days. This little girl deserves a whole lot better than she is getting from her father.

I have to wonder: Why on earth are you staying with this guy? The way he treats his little daughter is the way he’ll treat any children you may have in the future. The way he is treating you is unlikely to change. I’m sure he can be sweet or you won’t be with him at all. But sweetness doesn’t let a man off from being responsible.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). I Dislike My Boyfriend’s Daughter. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/02/i-dislike-my-boyfriends-daughter/