What kind of discipline is appropriate for step-parents?

It can be tough to navigate the boundaries between ensuring order in your own home, and respecting the wishes of a child's natural parent with whom you share parenting responsibilities. How much authority do you have when it comes to disciplining your step-children?

40  Answers

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OK, I have a lot I can say about this topic, will try to keep it brief ;)
First, Remy I agree that you have to first establish the difference between abuse and discipline, but let's just touch on discipline here for now.
Dusty and Terri, I am in your shoes!
My husband and I have a his/hers/ours blended family. My (step) son (goodness I hate that word) is almost 20, my son is 13, and our daughters are 9 & 6. Due to a tumultuous relationship and then his mother leaving, my son has some abandonment issues. As such, when his Dad and I got together, he tried to make me leave in any way he could, he admits to that now. Dad worked midnights, slept days, and I was responsible for day to day discipline. Time outs, groundings, I personally could never spank him, that was not within my comfort zone. He would defy me with "your not my mother!" every chance he got. Like Terri's significant other, I had given him the speech that "no one can ever replace your mother, I only hope to be your friend, and if you choose to call me Mom that is your choice, I will never force it on you. but I do have to enforce the rules for you, same as the other kids, it has to be fair" Things got really bad, and at one point he went to live with my husband's parents for awhile, as he could not cope with the changes in the family dynamic (it had been just him and Dad, for more than 5 years) anyway, he did come home. And things are amazing. He now (granted as an adult) understands and respects what I was trying to accomplish, and we have an amazingly close relationship. He will talk to me about things he cant even talk to Dad about.
I guess what I am trying to say is, stand your ground. Discipline as you would your own children. Enforce the same rules and punishments. Dont leave it all to your partner, we tried that, it just leaves them feeling in the middle, and like he has to choose between you and his child, NOT a good place to be. Eventually, if not right away, your CHILD (forget this step crap, blood is thicker than water, true, but love is stronger than blood) will come to appreciate and respect that you are making them into a better person. Remember... It takes a village ;) Good Luck!!

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Thank you Nicole, that was helpful. I am currently struggling with a similar situation. My daughter was abandoned by her father, not once but twice. My fiance and I have been together for 13 years. We've had our issues over the years and unfortunately my daughter has been wrapped up in it. Didn't really help her abandonment issues, but my fiance has been in her life since she was 2. We have a 2 year old son together and another on the way. My daughter had a hard time accepting no longer being an only child, understandable, but she feels left out. Its hard to make her understand that there is equal discipline when they are so far apart in age. Any advice? Constructive criticism welcome.

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I agree with Terri. If the natural parent in the household is comfortable with the step parent having no boundaries in the discipline then the step parent shouldn't have boundaries. I myself am a step parent to a wonderful little girl, who wasn't always so wonderful. When she lived with her mother, she had no rules. Her mother NEVER disciplined her. For anything. When she came to live with us, I made it clear that there were rules, & she would follow them. My husband let me handle any problems I had out of her. I was allowed to spank her, put her in a corner, give time outs, whatever discipline was needed. She learned to respect me, & the rules of my husband & I's home, & now she is very well behaved. I think step parents need to treat their step children the same as they do their own children. No worse, & no better. Set the same rules, the same consequences, & the same rewards.

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Sorry for telling you this ) you said your husband and your rules house. her father's house it should be also her home. 2) You have nor right to phisically discipline any child that is not YOURS, i dislike when women talks bad about others women, you dont know if the woman for sure has discipline or not. I am a step mother and i though my girl did not know discipline, i though just like you, I WAS WRONG.the kid only neededt love, and not love my way, but the way she deserved it, she need it assurance, understanding and the knowledge that even though her father was with me, he was always going to be her father. I made sure that she understood that her father separated her mommy but he never separeted her. I also make sure my husband have plenty of space for him andher without my presence as well as family times toguether, her mother is invited to all of her birthdays parties and she is very participate when we made changes to her room. we all celebrate after every recital of her. i believe your insecurities, toward the other woman made you want to make her look bad. you can time her out in a corner, yes, but not WATERVER discipline was need it. you have to tried and exhaust every possibility, and then let be the father discipline her with spanking. i do not believe she respect you, and in a future you will know, I DONT EVEN RESPECT YOU BY READING YOUR COMMENT. And the day you husband open the eyes, he my dear, will see what you are doing to that child he will realize that instead of a person more to love his child he got an enemy for hislittle gilr. gosh how upset i am. Do you have kids that are not your husband and if you do, do you want them to be treated like you are treating your step daugthter. you sound like snow white step mom. and your comment does not relate to Terri;s at all.

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There are no steps in our household. My oldest two sons, 9 and 10, have different biological fathers from my husband. We have a nine month old together. My 9 year olds father has been mia for 7 years, but suddenly wanted to be in the picture this year. My husband has been in his life since he was 3 years old. He has been there getting his hands dirty with every disciplinary issue, boo boo, temper tantrum, and soccer goal. I say if the "step" parent is putting in the love, time, and attention the kid needs as well as taking care of the physical needs, there should be no boundries for discipline. If the biological parent has surrendered that right previously, or can not be trusted to do what is in the best interest of the child or is just being petty toward the "step" parent, they do not get a say on who disciplines the child or how. My oldests father has completely abandoned him, and even though he didn't understand why Mommy had to date at first, he frequently says how much better our family is with my husband in it and how proud he is to call him Dad. Did I mention in all of this he is the strict one and often the one doling out punishments? The key to step parenting is to have a great partner that you can trust and both of you putting up a unified front you can agree on.

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This is kind of a loaded question... My soon to be 16 year old (step) son was a mere 12 months old when I met his father, my now husband. As my husband had 50/50 legal custody that really amounted to actual 80/20 physcal custody, there isn't a time in my son's life that he can't remember me being there for him. That, I feel, has given me the RIGHT to be involved in the dsciplinary process in our home. Either my husband or I are the ones who take him to the MD, dentist, etc. His bio-mom tends to be the "fun parent"... This is why I feel it is a loaded question. Up until middle school, "all was well"... I was empowered to "discipline" as was necessary - neither my husband or I are "hitters", so that wasn't an issue - there are other ways of demonstrating consequential actions - and that works for us- the mere threat of loosing a cell phone can be pretty powerful. I pay for it, therefore, I control its use - it's a privledge, not a right. Upon hitting 8th grade, my son realized that there are no expectations or accountability at Mom's house, so the battle lines have been drawn. It has been a battle for the past three years, as we strive to "save him from himself" and not flush his future down the toilet with failing grades (former 4.0), drinking and smoking pot. This is where is has gotten sticky. The bio-mom has systematically turned him against me, "you don't have to do what she says" etc... and now, I am resented if I so much as ask him to take out the trash. It has caused A TON of strife between my husband and me. All of this culminated in my recent decision to "release it".... This has been THE MOST DIFFICULT parenting decision I have ever had to make. My husband and I have a soon to be 8 year old together that has had to take a back seat to our efforts to intervene on behalf of the 15 year old. No more. Upon my emotional release (which is HARDER that I thought), I can focus on positive endeavors with my son and only hope and pray for the 15 year old. My husband and I are merely trying to get him through HS and if he wants to be a slacker who abuses substances, then he can live at his mom's house. I am a law enforcement officer and I cannot afford to have that negative influence on my son.

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Very well-said and I understand and totally agree with your decision. That's very similar to my situation. My stepson is now 12 years old and I've been in his life since he was 4. I took to him immediately. I understood he was just a toddler and was having a hard time adjusting to a woman other than his mom with his dad. But eventually his mom started playing alot of games and even came on to my husband. I felt so disrespected! Next thing you know, my stepson started acting different towards me, like being rude or not wanting me and his dad alone, or blatantly ignoring our rules or things I'd tell him to do when he'd come to visit. It has been an issue for the past few years and as he gets older, he gets a little nastier. Now he's failing in school, when he's been an honor roll student. His mom has 3 other children besides him and she's been going to school for as long as I've been with my husband, so maybe he's not getting all the attention he'd like to have or needs. My husband and I now have a 2-year old together so I've also stepped back from disciplining my stepson and allowed my husband to handle things during this tough time.

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I have been a step-child and a step-parent. As a step child I had both types of step parents, one that did discipline me and one that did not. As a child, to me the Step parent that did not discipline me, it felt like they were disinterested with me. Now as an adult I have 2 step-children. I have been in their lives since the youngest was 18months – he doesn’t remember a time without me, and the oldest was 3. I was never given boundaries from my husband or the biological mom. I have always treated these two as my own; they have responsibilities, consequences and rewards like most children their ages. They have all the love they could possibly ask for. After seeing the difference in step-parenting as a child, and knowing what I wanted to pass down to my kids, I wanted them to know I loved them whole heartedly through every accomplishment and discipline. I never wanted them to think there was a barrier because I was a Step-parent, society puts enough stigma on step-parents I was not going to allow that to carry over in my home, and 5 years late, those 2 beautiful children know how much I love them, and I know how much they love me.

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As far as I've been concerned when my step children came into my home environment, they were treated exactly the same as my own resident children were concerned. Special requests from their own mother were respectfully considered, however if it didn't suit our family environment, were over ridden, to ensure the comfort and safety of the children. Meaning, they were never mean't to feel 'different' or alienated in any way.

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I was in a sort of unique position because I have never had biological children, but I married a widower who had a then 10-year-old son. My step-son is now 27 and is just beginning to get his life together. My biggest regret is that I did not push the discipline issue more when he was younger. While he was fairly well-behaved until his teen years, his parents had babied him, so he did not develop a sense of self-discipline. As a 10 year old, his father was doing everything from pouring milk on his cereal to sitting with him while he did homework. I'm a teacher, but I was too afraid to discuss issues about our son with his father, because his father was very sensitive about his parenting skills.. I did manage to get our step-son into speech therapy, because he was being bullied about the way he talked, but my husband was mad about that. When our son was in high school I realized he was doing drugs and was hanging out with "the wrong crowd." His father was in denial because "he never found any drugs in his room." For about 13 or 14 years, our son has been in and out of jail and has had a hard time keeping a job. There are abandonment issues, since his mother died, and I had to fight with my husband to get him into counseling. My biggest regret and advice to step parents is to be brave enough to stand up to your spouse, if you sense problems with your step-child before they get out of hand.

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I had a step-father growing up who was the discipinarian. I have more respect for him then I do for wither one of my biological parents. I always knew even as a young child that he would be there for me. Even to this day and I am 41 years old. It made me feel like he cared for me even though I didn't act like I apprecated it at the time. My son now has a step-mother and as long as she treats him with love that is all that I care about.

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I have personally realized that there are no clear cut rules to discipline and step parents. I do agree that step children should be treated the same and have same rules and consequences as biological children. I also believe that the natural parent and the step parent must have similar beliefs or there will be issues as to what is too much and not enough. If any parent , natural or step is being excessive and the other parent is uncomfortable with theiractions there should most definitely be changes made. There is a thin line with discipline and abuse and wether it is your child or not, abuse should not be tolereted. So I suppose the first order of business is are there the same disciplnary beliefs on both sides? Second, is there a relationship established between step parent and child that will sustain disciplinary measures? and Last, as a step parent, are the things you say and do to the step children equivalent to your biological. Every case is different and it is easier to say what you would do or how you would feel until actually in that position.
I have full authority in disciplining my step daughter because I see her as mine and I will not allow her to do anything my children cannot and I wont give or do anything for my children that I wouldnt for her. I know tis cause I have been there. The most I have had to enforce are chores and step in on sibling rivalry here and there...nothing real major. However, I have given my husband the same authority over my hildren, because he has been there for 15 years, but he does not feel comfortable in it, he usually leaves it to me. except in emergency situations. By no means do I feel like he would be wrong to discipline them.

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great coment!!! i believe you got it right, there is a thin line between discipline and abuse and disciplinary beliefs should be the same

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Why is discipline such a hot topic? When a step parent can cook, clean, emotionally and financially support a child, as well as, love the child unconditionally, biology doesn't matter. I don't have step children, my husband does. He is as much as a parent and I am to our children. He doesn't say "these are my step children" he says "these are my daughters." I am very thankful that we are able to provide a stable two parent home for our children.

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***as I am (not and I am)

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That is a loaded question. I am currently getting divorced because of this situation. Me and my 3 year old son went to live at my husbands home. The two of them were oil and water from the start and 5 years later there hasn't been any bonding or relationship on either end. My husband became the strict disciplinarian in the home and my son is a more creative free thinker. My husband was more worried about disciplining him than loving him and my son felt that. We have been separated for 5 months now and my son told me he never thought his step father loved him. Ever. When my husband told me he hated my son, our marriage dissolved. I can't forgive him for that. Hating my son is the same as hating me. In my opinion, a step father/mother should help make the home a safe haven and a harmonious environment so that bonding can take place. The discipline and love will follow.

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You are absolutly right. A child needs to know they are loved and safe. With out that discipline is scary for them. Just a personal thought here - your soon to be ex should have just told you he wanted a divorce, he should have never said he hated your son. That is a horrible thing to say about anyone, and how horrible is it for your son to have his fears validated?

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My husband and I have been together for 7 years. He had a 10 year old son when we got together. We have had some issues navigating discipline. However, we both agreed on the methods and that we would both be allowed to discipline. I had a relationship with my stepson before I ever disciplined him. At first, I would just back up what his Dad said and gradually added more discipline as time went on. As other people have stated, there wasn't too much discipline at his bio Mom's house. My stepson and I had a difficult preteen experience. He is 18 now and still in his Senior year of High School. We get along great and he talks to me about issues that he would talk to any parent about. I love him like my own and he respects me. I think that it helps that my husband and I have a 6 year old and 2 year old together now. He sees that I discipline them in the same consistent way that I used with him. He can see that I treat him like my own. There are two sides to discipline. You have to show love and caring as well as lowering the boom when they need a kick in the pants.

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I have been both a step parent and the parent of a child who now HAS a step parent (to be actually). I have found a few things to be true. If you have a general set of house rules, such as curfews, cleaning up rooms, chores, bedtimes, etc.... it is acceptable for both the step parent and the natural parent to enforce them. The boundary lies where dicipline is concerned. I was previously married to a man who used to harshly dicipline my son against my own comfort level and beliefs about punishment. All that this did was cause my son to grow to resent him, and me for that matter, for believing that I needed to be a unified partner to my husband even though I disagreed with his behavior. It's important for the kids to know that the parents are unified, but when it comes to dicipline, both parents either agree on how it is to be handled, or only the natural parent lay out punishments.

I am now in a serious dating relationship with a man who I expect to become my child's step parent. He has developed a wonderful relationship with him, and tells him again and again that he is not his father, but rather wants to be his mentor and "big brother" if you will. This has worked out tremendously well, and when he needs to correct my son, my son respects him because of their relationship.

That being said, if there were unacceptable/illegal behaviors such as drugs and alcohol, etc... in those situations the step parent has every right to decide what is and is not acceptable as fas as living conditions are concerned. The natural parent needs to respect the step parent as the other equal adult in the household, and honor each other when it comes to critical issues like this.

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Here is my question for you. I totally agree with what you say, which brings me to my question. I have a son who is 8 and my husband (his step father) and my outlook on discipline is different. He is too harsh a lot of times and it makes me angry. So let's say that I just take care of the discipline with my son. We are now pregnant with a baby together. If discipline should be the same for all children, what do we do when he disciplines our child together and I discipline my son, and they are different? What happens then? What should I do? Help!

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I think whatever kind of discipline is used, the parents (bio and step) need to be in agreement. Kids sense chinks in the armor. My husband does well with this.

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None my boyfriend is a wanker when it comes to me discipline his daughter, he will ask her to do or not to do something and i tyr to support him by re-enforcing what he has said only to be yelled at by him for asking his daughter to do something that he just asked her to do. he thinks that the sun shines out of his daughters arse and is blinded by her minipulating behavoir, she loves to get me into trouble.

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Being a step parent myself as also my husband being a step parent to my son...it is very difficult for the disciplining. I myself took the approach to 2 teenagers moving in with me that I made it very clear I was not their mother but I wanted to be respected and I would give them the respect if they gave it to me. Now they are in their 20's and they all respect me very much. I was their for them when they needed someone to listen, but also went to their father if it was more than I could handle and helped him to come to some agreement for disciplining. He did all the disciplining. Now for my son which was much younger...he had a father and my husband was just Joe to him. He had the same rules...respect. I did most of the discipling with him, but as the years have gone on and his natural father turned out to be such a bad drunk. In and out of jail all the time. My son grew into his teen years without his natural father in the picture. It shows now as my son tells it...Joe has been more of a dad to me than my own father. He said, "I cant change the fact that he is my biological father, but he isnt my dad...Joe is my dad now." So now Joe as his step father does have more athority over him than is natural father and my son doesnt see his dad but once a year and my son is very much happy with that. Joe is very good at talking things out and doing appropriate disciplining for the what is needed at the time, but he has never spanked him. Talk to the child and listen to what they say...you may be surprised to hear what they say.

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I also have disconnected myself from the reason I divorced my ex and not that my son divorced his dad. I let my son find his own reasons why he dont want to be with his dad or if he does want to be with him. I divorced him not my son.

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I would say that I have just as much authority in my home when it comes to my step-children and their discipline. However, we do not spank them under any circumstances. It is not because we do not believe in it, but because we know what kind of people their mother and their grandmother are. They will look for anything to try and take the kids away from us, because they don't like us. They are the type of people that don't want their children's/grandchildren's fathers involved because they hold grudges for things of the past. They are the type that feel that when you divorce a spouse, then you divorce the children and your only allowed to see the kids if you stay married... Its all wrong.. but.. anyway..

We don't spank because they have also filed false CPS reports and claimed we abused the children. Once my SD scrapped her knee and her mother tried to claim neglect and wanted to have my husbands rights taken from him... I mean, she is ridiculous.

I will put my kids in timeout and punish them just as I would if they were my own children. We just have to be a lot more careful because so many people have become sue happy and think that anyone who reprimands their children are abusing them, so to avoid misconceptions, we just do it the careful way.

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close to none I gave up on disciplining

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I'm right there with ya.

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I have a weird situation but so far it is working. My fiance (planning a quick ceremony this month before our baby is born and bigger celebration later) lives with me and my son who is 10. His daughter who is 16 lives in another nearby state with my fiance's mother temporarily until we can move back there hopefully next summer. He also has two grown children aged 18 and 19 who each have their own place so there is very limited discipline we could enforce w/them anyway. We do try to give the older ones guidance and I let him take the lead there. As for the 16 year old, he takes the lead there with help from his mom who does the day-to-day stuff. She is pretty good and doesn't need a lot anyway. When she is living with us I would expect her to follow our household rules. My son loves my fiance (more than his biological father) and we share discipline for him. My fiance and his family treat my son as one of their own.

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hmm

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Hey there,
I am new on this site, but just saw this question. I wrote a blog about this very topic a couple months ago. Feel free to check it out... Would love to hear your thoughts. Such a touchy topic with so many different opinions:
http://thepoptartdiaries.com/?p=102

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I am new to the "Stepmother" thing, I love the 2 little girls to bits, one is 2 and one is 6 going to school in Jan. I can not chat to the mother about the children at all for she already told the love of my life to tell me she is the mother not me.... only because my Status said, I love my hubby and children to bits. I mean come on, you will start to love a child when you see them everyday, wont you? so me and the children's mother is not off on a good start. she is also not very present in their life. they are both very afraid of the dark, locked doors, something that will kill them and we cant even go outside without them then they think we are going to leave without them. it breaks my heart to see them in such a state. how can I know what is happening when we are not around. the older one calls me mommy, she feels comfortable with that, she keeps scratching her name out on all her pictures, when I ask her about this she told me she does that because she is the ugly one in her family. how can someone tell her she is ugly? she is only 6. so both of them suffers mentally. How can I help them, how do I make it better for them? I want to help them and comfort them but I just don't have the knowledge in doing so, it takes them 3 days to get back to normal when coming form their mothers house. please help

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I am a step parent and have been raising my step daughter since she was 1 1/2 . I love her unconditionally and treat her as my own . We are now , after years going threw a custody battle with her mother due to her being unfit .I am with her 75 percent of the time due to her father working nost of the day and her mother really has hardly any particapation in her life. I do punish her and ive spanked her a few times but not many at all and never with nothing but my hand on her butt . She is now 7 and I never whip her , ive decided im not sure if its my place but I do make her go to her room or take things from her if shes misbehaving . What should I do?

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It depends on your relationship with them. For example, a person who married a 14 year old's parent three weeks ago is obviously in a different situation from someone who's been a stepparent since their stepchild was 2.
As you bond with your stepchild, it's natural to start doing parenting-style tasks with them. The important thing is not to force a parent role too early. In particular, the emotional bond should come before administering discipline, or else it will cause resentment.

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I share custody with my ex's mother and him. We all three talked about it and my husband can spank the kids (9 and 10) but his wife can not. The reason my husband can is he is mentally stable and has never taken a punishment too far while she can't because she has over and over taken a simple punishment and gone too far. The kids are not allowed to go to their father's house because of their step mother. Actually none of his three kids are allowed to go there because of her.

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The best course of action is that the parents be on the same plan for discipline of children and then the step parents be told what that course of action is. The step parent should be told what their role is expected to be and what both mom and dad are comfortable with the discipline that the step parent does because not both mom or dad will be there when things go down and someone needs to do something then. But that is the best course of action. Most of what I have seen is that one parent has that set of rules and then the other one does not follow through or agree to do so. When a step parent is added to the family then they come into a mess and do not know what to do or say.

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My child has her father and I active in her life. She lives with me and visits with her dad. We both believe in making sure she is respectful and listens. She is only two years old but still when she is into something be both beleive in correction. My question is to the step mother's out three. If both parents are raising the child even in sperate homes, why do you feel like you have to take over? Why does the step parent have to put down the bio parents when they are active in the child's life. I have a step mother and I respect her. She has never put down my real mother. aao tell the truth she may even ask how is your mother doing, please tell her I said hello.SMH!!!!!!!!!!

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OOOPS PLEASE FORGIVE THE TYPOS!!!! LOL I just wish we could all really get along. We have something in common and that is we love our kids...........

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I am a Bio Mom and a Step Mom, I take care of mine, he takes care of his, and we support one another. If my Hubby couldn't parent his child, I would not have married him!

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Step parents have to be allowed to correct children, but the parents make the rules. I divorced 39 years ago when my youngest child was only a couple months old and remarried when they were 12 & 9.
When they only visited there father once every year, I did not feel the step mother barely knowing my children should discipline my children when their father was there. However once we lived closer and they visited every week or two, I felt she had to discipline the children when they did not follow rules. When I remarried I also felt after a few months of getting used to living in one household, my husband could and should discipline my kids.
The bottom line was they were mine and their fathers children, and we made the basic rules. I did make most the rules having full custody, basic rules should come from a parent, how they were allowed to wear their hair, clothes, activities, etc. Naturally as with visiting anyone's home, adults have rules in their house. Which would mean how they cleaned their room, music, TV, language, dinner time rules, bedtimes, etc are household rules that the kids should have to follow.

Anyway in my opinion being raised by a step father, having step children, and having children raised by a step parent, there is a line step parents should not cross, especially if both biological parents are involved in the children's life. Examples being they should never be allowed to talk about the absent biological parent, they should not make the decision to cut a childs hair different then a parent wanted it without discussing it, clothes, decisions on schools, dentist, doctor they attend, and many more basic rules that parents make every day on how to raise their children. Many times even natural parents disagree on some rules, my boys dad won the disagreement on ocean fishing and hunting, I won the disagreement when he thought drinking at home with him was okay. The step parents may discuss these things with the other parent, but except for miners drinking when push comes to shove, it's the natural parents decision.
I tried with my children to think of what decisions I felt as their Mother I did not want another woman trying to change and give their father the same respect. My kids never ask, but I would of not liked them calling another woman mom, therefore I would of told them that they had one dad already if they had ask to call my husband dad.

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I disagree with the dr and dentist type stuff. Sometimes step parents NEED to make those choices. My dh works 16+ hours a day and BM only wants to be a EOW mom. I do all the dr stuff, all the dentist stuff ECT ECT.

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My partner can discipline them just as I can. He is not their biological father, but he is their father none the less.

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I think you discipline at you and your spouse agree to. I have birth, step, and adopted children. We decided on a course of disciplne when we got together. To be honest, one type of discipline is not the answer. If you look at your children as the individuals they are, you can figure out what will be most effective. My two stepchildren (my kids still) were like night and day so grounding/time out worked on one and not the other. Just like my birthchildren, what worked for one didn't on the other.
One thing that I think made it work is that we trusted each other. He knew I would treat them as my own so he never worried I would be to hard on one because they were not born to me. I was probably easier on them because they didn't take a lot to discipline. If you trust your spouse, have similar ideas on parenting ( or can at least agree on what you will and won't use) you will be fine.

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0 28

none don't touch my grandchild or child

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2 1

discipline isn't always hitting.

13 11

oooh thats tough, but if the step-parent is involved, i say treat them like they are your own. you can restrict things or send them to their room, but, trying to spank them may cause a more deeper issue, especially with older kids.

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3 13

My husband made it very clear to me ( in front of HIS two daughters) that I was not their parent and I have no say in discipline or rule making. That truly hurt me. This was 6 years ago and neither girl respects me and I feel sick every weekend when they come to our house. We had a daughter who will be 2 in March and the girls(14 & 17) pinch, hit and "punish" my child. If I say anything to them I get told that I am being mean to them bećause I love my daughter more. I really wish I was allowed to discîpline the girls because I fear for my daughter now.

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This is an issue that's just starting in our house.
Firstly, I am a Dad using the Mums account (sorry ladies, but I think my opinion still counts!)
Ours is a rather unusual setup. My fiance has a 11 year old son from a previous relationship. She and her former partner separated about 2 years ago, (the relationship had ended many years before, they just never ended it officially) We became a couple about 6 months after the split, and engaged a year later. Fast I know, but we had been friends for over a few years (and unbeknownst to each other, secretly madly in love!) She and our son (my step) have recently moved in and we have a baby due in about 6 weeks. My fiance is the worker in our family. I've never had children before, and, at 25, often feel like a kid myself!
Now that we're living together he's starting to push to see where his boundaries are. I love him like my own, but our relationship is still new enough that I'm not comfortable growling at him. His biological father has almost nothing to do with him, and somedays I feel like I'm getting some resentment for that.
It doesn't help that he's an incredibly well behaved kid (even his current muck-ups are small things) so I've never had a chance to see how mummy handles it.
The stance I'm taking (and she agrees) is that for now, discipline is her job, but when it happens I'll be standing with her so it comes from us both. As time goes on I'll start to take a more active role.
It's not easy, especially as most muck-ups occur when mummy's at work, but I feel that this will work in the long run as establishing me as an authority, but still having it come from the expected source.

Just my 2 cents.

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0 1

I have 2 children of my own (19 and 14) and my husband has an 18 year old. We have been married since 2003. My children have always lived with me. My husband has not had custody of his son until this past year. He had no rules at his Mom's house. He was left alone 90 % of the time and he thus got into lots of trouble. He barely made it out of HS and he just finished his 1st semester at community college, failing a course. He is a pathological liar and a thief. He is in counseling but needless to say, this has put a HUGE strain on our relationship. What makes things worse is the fact that I have 2 fantastic kids! My daughter is going to college on a full academic scholarship and my son is a high honor roll student and athlete in HS. Never in trouble, don't lie, steal or cheat. Never disrespectful. Now, enter my stepson...his Mom threw him out because her husband could not deal with his behaviour any longer (thanks!). So, he is now living with us. He does not know how to follow rules, he lies to us at every turn and frankly I am so frustrated. I have always let my husband discipline my kids(not very often did they need it but the occasional reprimand), but it seems he doesn't want to discipline his own kid. I am not used to having to check up on things the kids say, or reminding them to do their chores over and over again, or having them tell me they did something then find out they didn't.....I find myself constantly yelling...when I approach my husband to have him punish his stepson for his behaviou, the only thing my husband does is bring up things that my kids may have done in the past (mostly my son when he was about 5). My kids have noticed that my stepson breaks the rules all the time with no consequence.....now they are starting to get resentful of my husband, which never happened before.....I honestly don't think that having total authority to discipline your step kids works in the end. It only creates resentment from all sides and puts undue stress on the step parent.....

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0 0

The boy is 18 and out of high school...no longer your problem, put him out on his own. Tough love. Sink or swim.

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MY daughter's stepmother sees no need to discipline her child, my ex does and he is that child's stepparent. so she is not allowed to discipline my daughter.

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0 0

See I am in a different position than most of you ladies. I am a 26 year old single mother of a 6 (soon to be 7) year old, of whom I have full physical custody and joint legal custody. She sees her dad every other weekend and holidays, I would like it if he saw her more but he moved in with his girlfriend and her parents 40 miles away and won't brave traffic during the week to see her. He and his girlfriend got married in October and are still living in her parents' house. Neither pays rent, he works part time at Whole Foods and she doesn't work at all, so as you can imagine, their house is a very lax and boundary-free environment. Here, my daughter knows that she has to clean her own messes, and do her part to keep the "household machine" running because it's just us. When they announced the wedding, my daughter was told "now you'll have 2 mommies" and this frightened her, she thought she was going to have to live there and come visit ME on weekends. Those two did not properly prepare her for having a step-parent, they didn't explain what it meant or what would change (if anything). So I had to do that, and I did my best to make sure my daughter felt supported and that she understood that nothing on THIS end would change. When her dad and I were together and I was pregnant, we had agreed on many things, one of them being that we would never spank our child. It works for some, not for me, and we agreed that physical punishment was NEVER going to be allowed from either parent, from grandparents, and other childcare individuals. This was never a problem until a few months ago when my daughter came home one weekend very quiet and not wanting to interact with me, just wanted to go to bed. This was so out of character for her so I kept on her to tell me what was wrong. Turns out the step-mother spanked her because she didn't get up and turn the TV off when she was asked. She didn't hurt her, but my daughter has never been touched that way before and it scared her. She said felt like a "bad kid" and like Meri (stepmother) was mad at her now. I gave Meri the benefit of the doubt that she and my daughter's father simply hadn't had the "no spanking" conversation, so I called him to let him know it happened. His response: "This is our house, if Meri feels spanking is appropriate then that's what she'll do. It's our business not yours." WHAT?? I have since spoken to them together and told them that the spanking was not to happen again, and we all agreed that they need to find other means of punishment for my daughter while she is there.
Another area of concern is my daughter's manners when she is in their home. I have been to a dinner at their house, people chew with their mouth open, talk with their mouths full of food, there are burps at the table... it was awful. My daughter comes home from there thinking its alright to walk through the house belching like it's no big deal. The stepmother is the primary caregiver on the weekends, since my ex works Saturday and Sunday. My daughter gets a $45 mani/pedi at the salon everytime she's there, then comes home and flips out on ME for not taking her to get her polish changed on her "home" weekends. I had to explain to her that having her mani/pedi is a TREAT, no one owes it to her. We've got thousands of bottles of polish here, I offer to paint her nails but she says "well Meri takes me to a nail place...". We live in the city, her dad lives in the suburbs. They got her a scooter to ride on the cul de sac they live on, but where we live in the city a scooter isn't practical. Then I hear "Meri lets me ride a scooter...". I don't let her drink coffee because, well, no 6 year old needs coffee. I hear "Meri makes me coffee...". So finally I had to talk to them about what was happening so we were all on the same page when it came to explaining things to the little one. Things like why a mani/pedi is a treat, why scooters may not be practical on city sidewalks, so on and so forth. I wasn't askign them to stop, just asking them to help me get my daughter to understand that these were privaleges, not rights. The response I got from Meri: "If you had more fun with her maybe she wouldn't talk to you like that." EXCUSE YOU. I am a single parent working full time, getting VERY little child support from her dad because of his limited hours. I have few options for childcare because he won't come here to care for his daughter, and daycare is GROSSLY expensive. My daughter has what she needs, and for the most part she gets things she wants too. But I can't get these two to work WITH me, they just keep buying her love. Meri is 23, my ex is 28. They do not have children, or any experience raising them seeing as I have been the sole custodial parent since day 1. I just don't know how to get through to them!

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0 3

Oh my reading this is like reading my own life.... only i have two girls... but everything else fits... i feel your pain and frustration.. I hope things get better for you and your daughter.. Its a long tough road

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0 37

There are so many ways to handle step children and I think it has to be altered to each child. I have raised 2 step children to adults never spanking or laying a hand on either of them. I used kindness and love to guide them through something they never asked for. Unfortunatley their father and I divorced several years ago and my relationship was bumpy to say the least with them. but showing them the same love we have rebuilt our relationship. ON the flip side of all this I am engaged to a man who has 4 children from a previous marriage. The children are wonderful but have so many mixed feelings. They were sent to live with us with 2 days notice. relocating 1300 miles. They were angry at both their parents and the world for the most part. I had never met them prior to them coming to live with us. Stress was an understratement, They have been here for 7 months and with alot of love consistant rules.. talking and yes grounding when needed they are starting to let go of that anger and are adjusting well. I dont believe in hitting in any manner and have raised my own daughter (13) with that belief. The children have developed love and respect for all of their parents me included. my future step daughter had the hardest time adjusting because she was the only girl taken away from mom inherited a mother figure as well as a sister and was not happy about sharing her dad. she did plenty to make it difficult for the whole house to adjust but we made it clear that our home was united and that no one was going anywhere. she still has her moods but everyday she becomes the sweet young woman with a huge heart we want and expect her to be. I guess what my advice would be is to show as much love support and a united front as possible. there is no need for spankings but discipline is important. Love all your children the same. step or biological.

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0 0

I was in a relationship similar to a lot of yours... Dad practically raised her since she was 4 . they were/are extremely close... and we got together at her age 8. Mom was involved until I came into the picture, then she fell off the face of the earth and see's her daughter once, maybe twice a year after moving to San Fran. now.. The situation turned into a full time parenting responsibility for the both of us the minute we got engaged. I saw the signs of his daughters abandonment issues she would soon have due to the absence ans neglect of her mother. My fiance at the time would allow me to discipline her but was not consistent and did not follow thru. If I instilled something, he would forget. I felt unsupported and a complete outsider. My fiance has no boundaries. No Guidelines, no structure and lets his daughter do whatever she wants, and buys her whatever she wants... He feels guilty and tries to make up for I dont know what. She is going to be 12 now. She is disrespectful to him, even though she hardly was to me, I didnt agree with her attitude toward her father or grandmother. She's a good kid half the time but the other half she has anxiety attacks, temper tantrums and acts out in ways that are foreign to me. I told him to go with her to counseling to talk it out, express herself... I feel there is only so much I can try to do... i dont have his support and although I had no issues disciplining a step-child or soon to be, I didnt feel right lacking the support of her own dad.

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I believe that if you are going to love that child, with that comes discipline and structure to help make that child a better person. Make sue you have full support of the father. As long as you two are on the same page... you can do it together and form a very cohesive family unit. Kids need structure and discipline, they like it, they want it. They just dont realize it for a while...

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