I have a question regarding discipline of a teenage step daughter

Heather - posted on 09/17/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My step daughter has a dog, 2 year old german shephard. She is very much into her dog, goes to dog training etc. This dog has known agression issues towards other dogs (not people really) and therefore she has been instructed, several times, not to play with or train the dog in the front yard without a leash. About 2 weeks ago, she was in the front yard with the dog, without a leash and talking on her cell phone. Our next door neighbor came out of his house with his two dogs and my step daughters dog bolted across the yard towards one of my neighbors dogs. The neighbor reached down to break up the commotion and got bit!!! Blood every where!!! He was obviously, extremely upset and told us we needed to get rid of this dangerous dog!!! Step-daughter was very upset as this dog is her baby!! The next day, our neighbor came over and told us that he wasnt going to require us to get rid of the dog as long as my step daughter kept the dog muzzeled when out side which we agreed to.

My question is this: 1. My step daughter disobeyed our rule of having the dog in the front yard without a leash, was speaking on the phone and not paying attention to the dog and I feel she should have had some sort of consequence. Maybe taking her phone away for a few days or something. Her father feels it was a terrible ACCIDENT and that no consequences are in order!! He feels that believing that she was going to have to get rid of the dog for a day was enough of a consequence.

We are fortunate that the bite didnt require stitches and that he didnt decide to sue ME, as we are not married and the house and homeowners insurance is in my name alone. I FIRMLY believe there should have been some sort of consequence for this and cant seem to get this across to my fiance'. Am I out of line here??? HELP ME PLEASE!!!!

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Heather - posted on 09/20/2011

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Once again, JuLeah thank you for your response!! And you are correct, there were consequences, for our neighbor, but not my step daughter!! And in my opinion do to the fact that she disregarded the rule of not having a known agressive dog in the front yard without a leash cause unnecessary consequence for our neighbor. SHE was not punished in any way!!! So let me understand you please.......you, as well as my fiance, feel that a 15 year old girl should not have been punished for her irresponsibilty, by ignoring her dog, by talking on the phone, and disregard for our rules by not even having the dog in the front yard to begin with??? This seems like such a no brainer to me!!!

JuLeah - posted on 09/19/2011

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I didn't understand you would/could be sued. And but, I was a step parent and learned how challenging it is to enforce, well anything, if the parent is not in union with you. It doesn't sound like the dad is with you on this, so was basically suggesting natural consequences might be the best/only option. There were consequences, just not any real punishment. Just my opinion

Heather - posted on 09/19/2011

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Forgive me JuLeah, but I believe you may have misunderstood......It happened at our home, which is solely owned by ME.....therefore I would could have gotten sued, or well my homeowners insurance. I never said anything about having any legal say over her, I am simply stating that I believe my step daughter should have had a consequence to her actions, much more than just feeling bad about it.

JuLeah - posted on 09/19/2011

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It was not an accident on any level. It was fully and 100% her choice.



There was a consequence. The neighbor was bitten, the dog must now be in a muzzle.



If he sued, he'd sue your partner, not you. You have no legal say over the kid. Her father does.



Look into this from a legal aspect if you wish, but whats done is done in my opinion.



It might be that she does this again. It might be that the dog is put down. That too would be her choice, in that she allowed it to happen.



As her parents you always have the option of getting rid of the dog yourselves, but who wants a dog that aggressive. It would have to be put down. It would be wrong on all levels to give it to, sell it to, anyone if they didn't know the truth.

Heather - posted on 09/19/2011

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Thank you for your response Marsha.....and yes, she is 15. You gave great ideas, but my problem is that I cant get my fiance' to understand that there should have been consequences. He said she felt bad enough about it and apologized to the neighbor and that should have been the end of it!!

Marsha - posted on 09/18/2011

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For starters, you and hubby need to really discuss how discipline will be handled and get on the same page. Yes you may be step mom, but if she is living in your home, I believe you should be allowed to discipline when need be.

She should absolutely have some sort of consequence. She needs to realize that her actions caused someone else to be hurt and that it could have been much worse.You didn't mention how old she is. I am guessing tween/teen age? First off, that phone would be gone for a couple WEEKS, not just days. I would also have her help the neighbor who was injured if they are agreeable to it.Take trash out, mow grass, do dishes, whatever is needed! If the neighbor is not agreeable to that, maybe you can have her do volunteer work at a shelter. While I am sure she never meant for this to happen and I fully understand the special relationship with the dog she needs to understand the big picture here. Next time it could be a small kid on a bike or out playing in their yard and they may not be as lucky. Good luck!

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