What discipline is appropriate?

[deleted account] ( 12 moms have responded )

My 2 year old is a step child who does not listen and if he does not get his way, will throw a fit for up to 3 hrs of non-stop screaming. He is my step-son and not my son so I cant discipline him like I would my own kids. I have a 10 month old who is watching him preform all of this bad behavior and Im scared she will pick up on it. I dont give in to the 2 year old when he acts this way but what should I do? any good advice?

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Jessi - posted on 04/01/2010

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Try to make sure that you have some simple expectations set. For example - bedtime at a certain time, sit nicely at the table for meals, no hitting, etc. When you notice him doing the correct thing, have a sticker chart set up and give him a sticker. When he is doing something wrong, give him a time out (I think even stepparents can do this, but talk to your husband about it). I give my 2 1/2 year old twins time outs for inappropriate behavior, and it seems to work. Also, if he decides to throw a fit, put him in his room and tell him he can come out when he has a happy face. At least his fit will be in his room and not where your daughter can see. Also, don't see putting him in his room as a punishment, but as a place for him to cool off. You might even try showing him by example - the next time you get upset about something, tell him you are going into your room to "find your happy face" then come out after a short time with a smile on your face. Also, if possible, try to get his dad and his mom on the same page. Discipline works best when it's consistent (although sometimes that's not possible). Good luck!

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Rebecca - posted on 06/11/2010

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I agree with Jessi also... I mean we have a "house rules" posted above the shoe box when you come in the house. I go over them daily with my 21/2 yr old girl and she will repeat them to me. I also tell her if she gets in a bad mood or pitching a fit she has to go to her room. Now all I have to say is do you feel you need to visit your room til you can get happy. And she will take herself or say no mommy I sorry then we hug and go on about our day.

Victoria - posted on 06/03/2010

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Our peditrician recommended time out, a minute for each year so my daughter sits in the corner for 2 minutes if she has hit/bitten/etc. If she is just throwing a tantrum, I put her in her room & tell her to come out when she has calmed down. I also believe the rules and consequences should be the same for all children in the household, stepchild or not. Most importantly, remain calm & consistant. If you do, he will eventually conform to your house rules.

[deleted account]

With my daughter I tried a naughty mat. A small area that she had and I would let her just throw her hissy fit. Be clear with your younger child and show them both that it is an area for time out and just let him have his fuss but don't let him know that it affects you. My daughter gave up on her hissy fits after 3-4 times on the mat because if I wasn't going to react there was really no fun in it for her.

Sarah - posted on 05/20/2010

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My son can be very testing and stubborn at times. If he isnt listening to me when i say "no" or 'enough", i sit him on his bed which he hates unless its bed time and walk away/close the door, then he cries and screams for a bit but eventually settles down and is ready to say sorry and listen. As other people have said, it takes patience and consistency though. I dont yell or smack as i dont think it has the same effect and he doesnt learn from it.

Lisa - posted on 05/17/2010

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I completely agree with Brenda. Choose your battles because not all should be fought. You and Dad should be on the same page and work together as a team. I also have a son who will be 3 in September and he also screams alot - once again gotta be the age! But keep your lines of communication open not only with Dad but especially with your step child. This is probably just as stressful for him as it is for you. But you also have to set YOUR basic rules down and explain that when these are broken there will be consequences. GOOD LUCK!!

Brenda - posted on 04/26/2010

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Best advice. A) Choose your battles. B) If you're married to the Dad of the step-son, you should have full right to discipline the child as need be. C) Ignore the behvior. My son is on the latter side of 2 1/2- he screams all the time! It's typiclal 2yr old behavior. You're not doing anything wrong Mom!! Hang in there and always keep the line of communication open with your partner! Good Luck!

[deleted account]

thanks guys, yeah this is pretty chaotic. Im doing lyndsays approach as I have been for now. Only problem is it is part of my ex's divorce thing that I cant discipline the child or he can be taken away.. (good ol' Massachusetts) Everytime I yell at him he runs and tells his mother and she keeps threatening all of this court stuff on us. such a pain. Its her fault he is like that, she believes "Children shouldnt be discilpined... hes only a little over 2.5 years) I say.. BS!!!!!. My kids are going to be disciplined out of their mind if they act like that. I just cant keep them seperate, they share a room. Soo hard

Lyndsay - posted on 04/12/2010

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Personally, if he is in my home and in my care I am going to treat him just like any of my other children. If his mother has a problem with it then she can learn to discipline him properly and maybe he will learn to be respectful in my home.

Make your expectations very clear, and consistent... try to follow a routine if you can, and give him lots of warning if you're going to deviate from it for any reason. If he does something wrong, tell him no. If he does it again, give a final warning. If he does it a third time then discipline appropriately. I like to use logical consequences (eg: if he throws a toy I take it away), but sometimes if behaviour is really bad or not safe a different approach is required.

Lisa - posted on 04/05/2010

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ok, one I agree that you should set expectations. I like to use a list of what can be done, rather than what cant. I also don't say "or else" cuz that is just a challenge. If the child refuses to do what I say I calmly walk them to the corner. If they continue to act out, then they get a yellow light, which means they are now without toys or tv, books are ok. If they continue to act out, they go to red and that means they are stuck in their room, sometimes an early bedtime.
a two year old who screams for three hours is a bad influence but also there is some underlying issue. maybe the child wants more attention--to a kid, bad or good attention is still attention.
I tell my kids they can come out of their room after they have calmed down and are ready to be my good little helpers. kids love to help.
also, give hugs when done with the corner, you don't like their bad behavior but you still love them.
being a step parent is hard because you don't feel that emotional attachment that you have with your own child, but to keep things going smoothly, you should limit your negative interactions and have as many positives as possible. hug often, let that child feel loved and accepted so he will obey you out of love, not fear.

Melissa - posted on 04/04/2010

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I would talk with your husband and agree on your discipline approach together, for all the kids. Its not fair (to any of you!) to have a different approach for each child. It will be confusing for everyone.

Jackie - posted on 04/01/2010

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I agree with Jessi! I would like to add that I think it is important to keep emotion out of the consequences, almost like a judge in a trial. If you do this behavior, you will face this consequence, period. Happy emotion is great when they are being good but you don't want them to know that they are getting under your skin or they might think they can ware you down. You also don't want to make the situation worse by having your own tantrum. (it sounds silly but I have seen people do it and it just keeps escalating) I full heartedly agree with the room being a cool down place and not a punishment. If my daughter has a fit I put her in her room with the door open (if she is really screaming I will close it) and tell her that she can come out when she can have a "happy face" as well. Step kids can be hard so don't give up! You will have a better relationship with him and his father when you have his respect.

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