How do you deal with step children who are disrespectful and don't listen?
My husband & I have been together for over 10 years. My SKs are 18 1/2 (manchild) and 16 (girl). Over the years, my husband & I have tried everything we could think of to get them to be respectful (mostly of me, but a bit to him, as well). OUR biggest problem was that their mother was badmouthing both of to them at her house, where they live most of the time. MY biggest problem was the amount of stress it caused our household (I also have a now-almost-12yo girl; she, btw, adores her "Papa" and thinks of us as her "parents"); hubs has high blood pressure as it is! So, my solution (*WITH* my husband's agreement, of course) was to remove myself as any type of mother-figure to them. I stopped helping with homework, I stopped cooking for them, I stopped doing their laundry (the manchild was 15 at this point; plenty old enough to do his own), I stopped shopping for them, I even stopped disciplining them (unless it was a serious offense; rare in this house)! I would pick them up from the train stop because HE asked me to (they came while he was still at work for a couple more hours), but that was about it. They started to realize that everything they needed & wanted while with us had to be taken care of by themselves or wait for their dad. He's a good dad; but not having me take care of everything (1) makes his relationship with his kids better, (2) reduces my own stress, & (3) forces them to sometimes figure out things on their own (making them more productive members of society). For the last two years, I've also chosen to leave on Sundays; my daughter & I have a mommy/daughter date (shopping, movie & lunch, etc), and Papa gets some one on one with his daughter (was with both kids, but manchild no longer comes over).
I'm sorry, but in certain situations you need to be their parent even if they are step children. I have a 19 year old step son, and he has been living with us since he was 7, but in my life since he was 4. 7 is also the last time he had contact with his mom. I raised him as his father has always worked and I stayed at home with the other kids too. I disciplined him because I was not going to run to my husband over everything and stress him out and deal with all the little things when he got home from a long day of work. MY son lives under my roof & he will listen to me and my rules! I'm the adult, not him. If he didn't like it, theres the door and don't let it hit you on the way out. He has Always respected me and called me mom. He said she was his mother for having him, but I am in every since of the word, his mom. He and I are like best friends, but he knows I am his mom and to respect me. We have a very open relationship. He chose to still live with us after he had the means to move out. He is now serving in the Army and said that he has me to thank for being by his side and pushing him to do better. When asked how many kids I have, always say 4 because he IS my son. I treat him just like the others. There is no need for special treatment. My other kids would resent him for it. They all get along and he helps with the younger ones. His mother use to bad mouth me to Jim all the time, but I can't change that. He had to see for himself, he did, and we get along great! I am so Proud of him and the man he has become and I take pride in knowing I had something to do with that! Just because they are step kids don't mean they don't need boundaries and rules. They are in your house. Now if the mom was still in the picture, I would say obviously respect the mom and talk to her. All parents need to get along for the kids. And then it might not be in your best interest to be the disciplinarian, but they still have to respect you and listen to your rules. I never told him to call me mom, he chose that. Don't be so caught up on them calling you mom or dad, cuz you aren't. I get that in my case that I am not biologically his mom, but in every sense of the word, yes I am.
Are you the stepmother or stepfather? Doesn't matter!! Because you BOTH deserve the SAME RESPECT.
Having mentioned that, BOTH PARENTS need to sit down, talk it out, and come to some sort of plan involving your children, if you haven't done so already.
Then BOTH parents should speak to the children TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME, so that it is understood what is expected from them in the absence of either parent. BOTH PARENTS need to FOLLOW THROUGH AND BACK EACH OTHER UP. Neither parent should allow any/all of the children to WITNESS negativity regarding arguments about child rearing, discipline, etc......
IF IT IS ALLOWED, then you GIVE your child the OPENING for disrespect....and you have no one to blame but yourself. If this has been done already.....then CHOP IT OFF AT THE KNEES......MEANING......no, don't take off your children's knee caps........but do not allow it to go further......then it already has.
It comes down to how supportive BOTH PARENTS are with EACH OTHER. THE PARENTS TOGETHER, working in CAHOOTS, are how you fix disrespect. It also helps if the parents are RESPECTFUL towards EACH OTHER, and TO YOUR CHILDREN.
Your children deserve respect. ALWAYS. Ever heard....to GIVE.....you must first RECEIVE? Well, it begins.....in INFANCY. Good luck. You can do it.....pray for patience!! :)
First, I don't have step-children. However, I have been closely involved with several families that have dealt with this issue. This is a tough one, because the children sometimes resent the step-parent. Even if your spouse was divorced from the other parent for many years, the children often have a secret hope that their parents will get back together. In other situations, the child may feel that the new spouse gets more attention.
From what I've seen, you simply must approach this issue as a team. If your spouse is not in full support of stopping the disrespect, then trying to discipline a stepchild on your own can really backfire.
I would sit down with your spouse (children not present) and write out some firm examples of what is disrespect. For example:
Interrupting while an adult is speaking
Refusing to follow directions
Calling the step-parent names
Saying "I don't have to listen to you, you aren't my mom or dad"
Once you and your spouse agree on what is disrespectful behavior, you must decide on some consequences. For example:
First offense - One warning (not 80 warnings)
Second offense - Loss of privilege for one day (whatever the child likes most - phone, computer, video games, etc.)
Third offense - Loss of privilege for two days and so on
Also, it can be helpful to invite the other parent to discuss your thoughts on the problems and the consequences you have planned. If the child goes home and tells the parent how mean you are, he or she will know the rules and why you implemented consequences.
Once all this is hashed out, and it may be pretty difficult if you are dealing with a spouse who doesn't support you or the other parent instigates things, then you need to all three sit down with the child and explain the new rules. Once they've been explained, don't hesitate. Implement them immediately.
The truth is that if you allow this type of disrepect to fester and grow, a couple of things will likely happen. First, it will get worse if there are no consequences. Second, you will eventually snap out of frustration and say something you can't take back that may hurt a child that is already in emotional turmoil and pain.
You need to sit down with your spouse and talk about the problem and then how to address it. Because these aren't your kids (and boy will they tell you that) they need to hear it from the both of you. "While your in our house you will listen and obey _______" He/She is my husband/wife and if I'm not here they are in charge and if you have a problem you need to tell us now or help us come up with a solution that works. If they are old enough they will respect that your asking for their input, I have a step son and it was hard for the first few years but now I'm Mom and he listens to me more than his father :).
First of all Does your spouse discipline your step children? If they are in your care without their parent then you have the right to get onto to them. But if their parent is right there then I would let them handle them. I would not let them be disrespectful to you or anyone else. YOU have the right to tell them that is not right and punish them by taking away priveleges. If they are younger sit them in time out. Talk with your spouse\their parent and let them know what is going on and how this is not appropriate behavior. Good Luck!! I dealth with this and still have problems with it. Both parents have to back each other up.
Do the best you can and keep your cool. They are trying to defend their other parent or see how far they can push you. Keep your partner involved with the learning process. Depending on your partner's actions and support for you they may come around in time. If you tell them the positive things they are doing it sort of kills them with kindness. Don't dwell on the negative actions.
Treat them with respect but do not except disrespect. Tell them until they make it right you aren't available for anything! Stop doing anything for them. Just explain that until they treat you better you're not available PERIOD!
Good Luck ♥
I have been a step-mom for 28 years. My best advice is DON'T PARENT! Kill them with kindness! Treat steps as a neice or nephew or a houseguest. I treated my step children better then my own kids (they came later). I had to parent my own kids. My steps had a hard time saying anything bad about me. I am not their mom and did not act like one as far as dicipline. I cooked, did laundry all the things a mom would do but for the most part treated them like house guests. I called it "all the work and none of the glory." Now they are adults and we get along great! Remember, you are NOT their parent!
I have 3 children, 16 yrs and 10 yrs. girls from a previous relationship, and a 2 month baby boy from my current marriage. My current husband has a 13 1/2 year old daughter from a previous relationship. When my husband told me about her, she seemed very sweet (because she that way around her family on her mothers side) but when I met her, she gave me the cold shoulder and she never liked my daughters ever since because my 16 year old falsely accused her of stealing and later she confessed and tried to apologize for it but my stepdaughter (she hates when I call her that!) have told her to get out of her face and that she hated her and thus would never forgive her. And she tell my ten year old to shut up when she whines (I admit she does do that often when she doesn't get her way!) I recently gave birth to a baby boy and when my husband/ her dad convinced her to come to the hospital to see her little brother, she wouldn't hold him and thus saying that he wasn't her brother and we were not her family because the baby had nothing to do with her. And when I asked her why she said is was because since the baby wasn't going live at her house nor did her mother laid down and had it so therefor he wasn't her problem! Each time me or my daughters would try to help her with something she'll them "I'm not retarded i know what I'm doing!" and when she comes over she flips off my daughters when they're just trying to be friendly towards her. One weekend she was over and a few of the neighborhood girls had introduced themselves to her and she asked in a very rude way "Is that supposed to have anything to do with me?" and the girls were wondering if they did something to her and I said to them that she just adjusting. But she's been over every weekend and she's still being rude to everybody saying that I'm not her stepmom and my kids are not her siblings. I've tried very hard to get her to like me but it's getting to the point where I wish she wouldn't come at all! Any advice?
I was a step child, and now am a step parent. I believe that ALL children should be treated equally, no matter, who they "belong" to. As a child growing up with a step father and a step mother, I could see my siblings all being treated differently. My step mother's "kids" were perfect and could do as they wished, My step father's " kids" were older and perfect. My step mother preferred my older sister because she wasn't as "needy" as I was being the youngest, and my brother was too much trouble. Fast forward to adult, and I had 2 girls(14&9) of my own, my husband had a girl(8) and boy(6)of his own, and we had a girl together. My girls lived with us full time, his kids would visit. I told my girls they had to listen and respect him, he never told his kids anything. Now, after 8 yrs. together, my oldest girl is married, and has her own family. His son now 14, lives with us because where he was living they couldn't get him to listen and behave. I told him in no uncertain terms, if he lives here, there are rules that are to be followed, and I'm in charge of this house. I explained to my son that him being here was because I want him here, because i want to show him a better way of life. I do have a hard time getting my husband to understand that he can't yell at the girls for doing something wrong, and then letting the boy get away with everything because he has "issues", because all that does is show him that what he does, doesn't matter but it does. I explained to dad that it sends mixed messages to everyone by having separate rules for boys and girls. My boy has been living with us for 7 months now, and I can see him blossoming under the positive attention and being told what is expected of him. My step daughter still lives with her grandmother by her own choice and that's fine. My oldest at home is 17, and while she didn't want me to marry her step dad, she respects him and I think she even came to love him because he became her dad and is here!!!!
How I dealt with mine was simple, first BEFORE we married, DADDY and I sat down and laid out the ground rules, and the number one groundrule was they are the same as my own child,, they are expected to follow the same rules, have the same type of chores, the same personal responsibilities are expected of them, and if they could not handle that they could darn well stay with their badmouthing mom. I also laid down the groundrules to her, she and her EX were divorced and SHE was NOT part of our marriage or our life, we do not badmouth her, and if she decided badmouthing me and the ex for spite or to be nasty was a good idea, she could darn well kiss her free time goodbye, because we were NOT putting up with delinquent behavior, and if the kids acted out because of her, they could be grounded to their rooms because of her, and if the behavior continiued, they could stay their butts at home, with her. Amazing how quickly she decided we were best buds......
I have a few questions for you. 1. Do you have children of your own? 2. Is your spouse involved with the discipline and how does he feel about this. 3. How long have you been married? It's hard to give any advice with more information. Good luck.
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