Does anyone here have stepkids that live.....

Colleen - posted on 05/15/2009 ( 52 moms have responded )

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with them and their father? Not with their mother?? If so,I would love to hear your feelings on it! I am a mom to 3 kids Joey-almost 20,Anthony-18 and Gabriella soon to be 8.Stepmom to Nick-12 and Heather 8. Husband had jont custody with him being the primary. The children all live with us,and hubby works out of town for 2/3 days at a time so I am the one who has the responsibility of homework,feeding,bathing etc. Any opinions on discipline? Dr. Phil says "step parent should not do discipline" well,in my case,I can't exactly let them get away with no accountability for days,serves no purpose then does it? Overall they are good kids,main problems so far have been homework not getting done,little fibs-nothing major! I wish we had the option to MAKE the biomom/biodads see their kids........they come and go when they want are "THE MOM" when they find it handy and it is building quite the amount of resentment on my part.Hubby won't enforce visistation because "I don't want her to think I don't want them here"..........I could go on forever! PLEASE tell me someone else here is in my place too???

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Kim - posted on 07/01/2009

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Hi there! I just wanted to respond to your question. I do dole out discipline to my step kids, same as my bio kid (my youngest is 7 months so haven't crossed that bridge yet). I'm the stay at home mom and my hubby works full time, he's in the Army...



My SS was out of control for a while and he is 6 years old. My husband and I have 4 children between the 2 of us, and both of my step kids live with us full time so that makes it easier to be consistent. I fortunately have a husband who is behind me 100% and we communicate and compromise on what should be done. Although their dad tends to be a bit harsher on them than I am LOL. My SS's teacher at school recommended we work with a behavior modification specialist that works for the district. We worked with her, did the program and have seen vast improvement. I'm not one for spanking as the "norm" but there are situations where a smack on the bottom is necessary and is much more effective if it's not over used. Seems like spanking or hitting him to punish him for hitting wasn't working...ironic huh?



We quickly realized that with bad behavior & issues, the kids are seeking attention, even though its negative attention, its attention all the same and probably are getting more attention and energy than the "well behaved" ones. Children need and thrive on boundaries. Kids have to know their poor behavior is unacceptable and the punishment will be consistent for all of them.



One of the most important steps in the program my husband and I used with a behavior modification teacher for our younger 2 is: Both parents sit all of the children down and go over and have them participate in agreeing on house rules, e.g. no hitting, no yelling, no bad language, etc. It may help to write them down SuperNanny style and post them up on a big poster board. And specifically outline the consequenses, we use the time out technique. There is no "warning" for a bad behavior, it's immediate time out. Find a spot in your home that works for you, ours is a corner in the dining room away from anything "fun" to look at. Tell the child, "5 minute time out for...insert bad behavior description here" and have them go, or TAKE them to time out, set the timer (thats an important step so you don't under/over time-out them). If they give you flack or argue, say "6 minutes", if it continues, "7 minutes" and so on. If you reach "10 minutes" take away a privelage in addition to the time out. A favorite toy or activity for a full day (my kids miss dessert or their night time movie or a favorite toy taken away or that birthday party they got invited to, whatever is most effective for your child; just don't go overboard so that its not possible to follow through with your punishment). When the time is up, go over to the child, make eye contact and tell them "good job taking your time out, I know you will not do that again, go play!" Be sure to acknowledge and give lots of praise and attention for good behaviors..."I noticed how well you were playing with your sister, you were so helpful and kind!" Undesireable behaviors get ignored, unless its an offense for time out. Keep your voice normal but firm, children also feed off of your energy. If they know they are getting to you, they will continue to ruffle your feathers. Kids don't do what doesn't work for them! It is critical that both parents in a household are 100% consistent with the discipline/consequence technique. Unless you have a reasonable ex (bio mom/dad) it's nearly impossible to get them on board with your techniques so just be consistent in your own household.



Of course, punishment is different for my 16 year old than it is for our 6 & 7 year olds. My 16 yr old bio son also has an issue w/ not getting homework done and his grades suffered all year. We took away privelages. No TV after school until I SAW WITH MY OWN EYES completed homework. No internet unless it was for school research and I was watching him, no video games, PERIOD!!!, until the next report card with acceptable grades and he was grounded from spending time outside the home with friends or anyone else for that matter, only allowed to participate in family activities with us. Bed time was 10pm, TV off, and to bed. I kept in contact with his teachers via email to monitor his progress. Was it work and did it take a few months? Hell yes!!! But it was completely effective. End of year report card came back with all C's and above (from D's & F's) and he earned all his privelages back and is currently spending 2 weeks with his grandma at the Redwoods! Lucky boy!



I love Dr. Phil but sometimes he can be so ignorant LOL. He can't possibly address every single individual situation. I'm sure when he said "step parents shouldn't discipline," he was referring to step parents where the child is just visiting and the bio parent is there to dole out punishment. We as moms, step moms, or whatever, have to go with our instincts and what works in our own households.



Good luck to you! It can be a challenge.

Lilias - posted on 06/17/2011

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I am soooooo glad I found this page... i too am a step parent and my step daughter is 8 and has lived with me for 4 years now, i had a daughter from a previous relationship as well who is 20 months younger than my step daughter and my husband and i have a daughter together who is 2. it is a constant struggle being that both of us are step parents. However my ex is consistently involved and his ex is not... She is only "mom" when it is convenient for her, when she wants to spite me, or when she wants to put on a show in front of others, like at the girls school. It drives me nuts.. she is supposed to have alternate weekends and 2 nights a week and rarely shows up, cancels all the time and doesn't contribute financially to anything..

I discipline my stepdaughter like she is my own because SHE IS MY CHILD.... regardless of who gave birth to her.

I'm grateful for finding this thread because I can't believe how many of us are out here going through the exact same thing..

Andrea - posted on 02/28/2012

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i think doctor phil is an idiot! I am a stepmom... i have my 4 year old son, and my husband's 4 year old daughter... so discipline is necessary. my hubby works graveyard, so i am home with the kids. i treat my step daughter as if she is my child...so in other words, if my son doesnt get away with it, she wont. they both get the same rules, same treatment, and same consequences

Ashlee - posted on 01/17/2012

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My husband has full custody of his 3 y/o son and I have been in his life since he was 5 months old. We became engaged and started living together when my stepson was 9 mos. old. (At that time my husband and bio mom had shared custody on a week to week basis). My husband worked during the day and I would be the one to provide all care for my stepson. When my husband is home we share the responsibility.

It would be crazy to expect me to provide for my stepson emotionally, physically, financially, etc...but not be able to set and enforce rules. If I didn't insist on respect and let him do as he pleased he would end up eating only candy, getting into harmful stuff, never being clean. It's necessary for their well-being to have rules and for a stepmom to enforce them as well. Luckily my husband agrees with me and has no issue with what rules and consequences I choose. He knows I will keep it very appropriate for my stepson.

Deborah - posted on 01/11/2012

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I got a new one for you all- I am a "step-mom" to 2 kids-son is 7 and borderline Autistic- and daughter is a 6 year old brilliant child- Dad is 40 and I- am 52- raising kids again- bio-mom lives 7 states away- takes kids for 4 weeks over the summer and occasional week-ends during the yr- whenever she feels the mommy need- the problem- bio-mom showers daughter with everything she wants- allows her to "make the rules" is the typical "fun" parent- she wont give up full custody so she can "yank" them whenever she feels like it- Dad tries to "make-up" for the issues the kids deal with in their position- I have "raised these 2 since they were 3 and 4- have opened my home to them-loved and supported them- fed-clothed and try to treat them as my "own". The problem?? Our Daughter walks all over me- she lies-cheats-steals-abuses-and manipulates every thing and everyone in the house- she is "good as gold" when Daddy is home- and a resentful manipulating child when home alone with me. She disregards all the rules- manipulates all of "daddys" time and constantly looks at me while she is doing it and "sticking" out her tonque the whole time- he doesn't see it-catch it- or believe it. I struggle every day to hold onto my sanity and can only pray that as she gets older she will get better- if she gets worse- I will have to sacrifice my relationship with my fiance and ask him to take his kids and go- as far as our "son" goes- he is the most patient-kind and loving child I could ask for- I don't understand how these 2 could be so different- he takes more attention with his mental issues but she takes more of my time and energy with her discipline issues- I am getting to "old" to fight this fight anymore. Daddy grew up in a 1 parent home- constantly shuffled from 1 parent to the other when he got to difficult to handle- so he tries to over compensate with his own by giving them more lee way- NOT WORKING. I hope it gets better as they grow- I am just afraid it will be too late for me and my sanity and age.

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Beth - posted on 02/09/2013

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I am here. Most days I feel like I'm at the end of my rope.

I'm a SAHM nowadays; we have custody of my husband's two children from a previous marriage (SD is 11 going on 21, and SS is 9 and is mildly autistic/diagnosed ADHD), and we have a two-year-old daughter together. They're supposed to see mom every other weekend, but she often can't handle them and doesn't take them as scheduled, etc.

My SS is definitely a discipline problem with his special needs, but oddly, I find him a bit more manageable. We have our rough moments, but we have our bonding activities too.

My SD, however... I've got acquaintances and family alike commenting on what a piece of work she is and will be. She's always been rather manipulative, and it's getting worse. My SIL lives in an apt. attached to our house, and she just makes matters worse. SIL will argue on SD's behalf if she doesn't agree with parental decisions we make, she makes SD an alternative dinner every night (to get around my rule of no dinner = no dessert), etc. Basically any rule that is "set," SD will figure out a way to lie or manipulate her way around by asking SIL or mom, if it suits her. SD and SIL also both seem weirdly possessive of my daughter... so much so that they sometimes try to muscle me out of maternal tasks/want her to hang out with them all the time and think it odd that I don't allow her to.

Short of counseling (which my husband balks at), I don't know that anyone can give me much advice I don't already know we need. Hubs talks a big game about how he lays down the law, but with my SD, it seems there's no serious intentions behind his threats. SD brought home about 3 grades under 70, and she got a lecture she rolled her eyes all the way thru and was restricted from one playdate. She lied to us tonight to get a sleepover I had previously said, "No," to, and hubby's response when I asked if she would at least be punished tomorrow, "Well, I already came down so hard on her for the grade thing..."

Erica - posted on 06/06/2012

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I have 3 step-kids a girl 10, and boys 9 and 8; and then my daughter is 3. Their mother has almost no interaction ever, its been over a year since they've seen or talked to her. The discipline, well, I would just treat your step kids like your kids? I don't exactly understand... are you looking for a break? Are you feeling overwhelmed? I'm not trying to be disrespectful, I would fully understand kids are a LOT of work. Is it just that you want the bio mom to visit with them? I have a lot of resentment toward my kids' bio mom for the hurt she's caused my kids, I'm struggling to deal with it myself. Sorry.

PCaryl - posted on 05/11/2012

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Quick question - if a widower dad has NO legal custody of his children (ages 15, 14 and 11, all adopted as infants), but has them on a regular basis, including every weekend plus one night per week, and the kids call the family they live with "mom" and "dad," how much should a GOW/WOW redirect discipline to their full-time family?

Jenelle - posted on 05/06/2012

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I understand....I am the stepmom of three boys 12, 13, and 14. Their dad works second shift 5 days a week and I'm the one who is responsible for them Wednesday through Sunday for everything. Their biological mom has told me herself, that they don't have to listen to me and she's told them the same thing. Although their dad has told them otherwise. I have to say the fighting (between them) is getting to me to the point I'm ready to throw in the towel because it is utterly ridiculous. I can't even leave them alone for an hour to go pick my daughter up from her father's without some event occuring in my absence. Arg......Idon't even know what else to say to them or do with them. We've done sports, regular workouts, bonding experiences....I'd welcome any advise anybody has in this position!

Amanda - posted on 05/05/2012

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My bf and i have his daughter fulltime, shes 4. Her mom lives in town and she goes and sees her when she wants to. Half the time the mom doesnt even want her there. Shes a huge coke head and dealer. I am with his daughter everyday while hes at work im a SAHM. She listens very good when her dad isnt home as soon as hes home shes a completely different child doesnt listen. When hes home its like i step back i let him do the parenting cause i dont want to tell him how to parent his own daughter i dont wanna step on any toes so i just step back...

Reena - posted on 04/19/2012

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Hi,

DH was given sole full custody of his kids a year ago. SD is nearly 16 and SS is 14. Prior to that he had shared physical custody—out of every 14 days they were with us for 7 days. They were actually with us more than that—most evenings etc. They rarely completed HW at their mom’s house and had more than one night’s worth when with us if they had been at her home.

DH is pretty active with his kids (and our kids). He does his share of housework etc. and typically addresses discipline issues, homework etc. I offer suggestions. This clearly will not work for you.



Early on in our marriage, I had more free time and was caring for my stepkids, solo, more than now—and they were 8-years younger. This is how DH and I handled discipline issues.



DH and I discussed what kind of rules and boundaries we wanted in our home and got on the same page there. Then we talked with the kids—DH did most of the talking. We acknowledged the situation was awkward for everyone because it was new but that we do need to establish rules and boundaries to help everyone so we all know what the expectations would be of each other. We asked the kids for input on what they thought some rules should be and discussed “house” rules. One of the house rules was that I was to enforce all the house rules pertaining to the kids when DH was not home. The kids agreed to that.



If something came up—it wasn’t like it was “me” the evil stepmom snarling her teeth—I was simply following the rules by enforcing the “house rule” they agreed to and were breaking.



This worked well for our family—if DH is permissive or more of a Disney dad—this likely will not work, but I don’t think many Dads who have full custody tend to be permissive. It gets to be too much for everyday.

Lesley - posted on 04/18/2012

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My hubby recently got his daughter my sd. she moved in 6 months ago and she is 13. lets just say its not easy at all. her bio mom stopped calling her she blames everything on my sd. we are slowly working changes bc she had no rules at her bio moms house and i am not that type of parent. i have 2 sons and one son with my hubby. we deal with a lot and everyone is treated equal no one is different. i was scared to discipline my sd bc i didnt want to her well you are not my mom and at first when we would fuss at her she would want to jump and call her bio mom and then her bio mom she would tell her that she couldnt do anything that she lived with us so its our rules which helped out a little. i didnt want to think of myself as the evil step parent. which i know i could handle that bc i know i was doing what was best for her. i would say just be patient.

Loren - posted on 02/07/2012

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My husband had 4 children of his own and one with a major disability called holoprosencephally (HPE). I got with the childrens father who was in process of getting custody of them when they were ages 1,3,7,8. Their mother is allowed to see them every other weekend but just usually shows up on most holidays to ruin everything with fighting arguing and telling my kids that they dont have to listen to me. Allie the one with HPE passed away due to her disability at age 3 1/2. She emergently came in to blame everything on me. Before they covered my babies coffin with dirt she left and we didnt hear from her for 9 months. The kids are now ages 8,11, and 12. I now have a 2 year old son of my own. The 8 and 11 year old lie all the time, constantly fight, argue and pick at each other. When husband gets home around their bedtime he wonders why im so hateful or why im not happy! lol So just think It could be worse!

Dawn - posted on 01/10/2012

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You have to do some disciplining ESPECIALLY at that age! If you were their daycare provider you would. If you were their teacher you would...

Nicole - posted on 01/03/2012

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First of all, more importantly than not wanting HER to think he/you dont want them there, you shouldnt want THEM to think you dont want them there.
When you say force visitation, how do the Children feel about going with her?
Second, Dr Phil is a quack who should never have been allowed to give anyone any advice... sorry for anyone offended, but that is my POV.
When I married my husband almost 9 years ago, we had 3 children, his son, my son, our daughter, and since have had another daughter. The blended family is never ever an easy one. We sat the boys down gave them the "I cannot replace your father/mother, but want to be your friend, and if you choose to call me dad/mom that is up to you." both boys had been abandoned by their other respective bio-parents, and so lived with us, there was no visitation issue.
as their primary care giver, you are responsible for discipline. If you wait, and expect your husband to do it, you will only succeed in creating resentment between them, as you are "trying to turn dad against them" and create stress between yourself and your husband, because he will always be the bad guy, and will have to choose ultimately between supporting you and his children. This is the easiest way to divide your household.
You need to sit down with your husband, and discuss the ex situation. Tell him there will be planned visitations, and if she doesnt adhere to them then they will stop being planned, it isnt fair to disrupt your family and your scheduling to have kids sitting by the door and Mother never shows. Leaving Mom to pick up the pieces (just because she is their mother DEFINITELY doesnt make her THE MOM, a mom is someone who takes care of you, their mother gave birth to them and sounds like that is just about all she is willing to do)
Most importantly let go of your resentment. The kids will see it, and they may both interpret it as being towards them, rather than at their mother. I know it's hard, I have been there when my husband's ex came back into our lives a few years ago, I lived through the concern that my son would be lost to me, that I would no longer be "mom" and I lived through the moment, less than a year later, when he made his own mature and informed decision, that I was his mom, she was *Jennifer* and she hadn't earned the title Mom by any of her actions or inactions. Trust me, give it time, patience and love and you will see the rewards to this situation more than you will see the disadvantages!! Good Luck!

Jessica - posted on 12/05/2011

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I agree with you Colleen... I have a step daughter who is 6 years old. She lives with her father, her mother comes 2 days out of a month. But doesn't call any other time to check on her child. So in my opinion it's like she doesn't really care, but she'll be the first to complain when something isn't done the way that she wants it done (For Example this weekend) She told her ex husband that he had to include her on the decision making. In my opinion a mother that doesn't call to check on her child. That can't pick her up like she's suppose shouldn't have the right to make any decision and her ex shouldn't have to include her in anything. Anyway when my step daughter's father is at work I'm the one that watches her, feeds her, does basically everything for her. And I know that people like Dr. Phil say that a step parent shouldn't discipline but in our case its kinda of hard not to discipline when the child is with us most of the time. What are we suppose to do, let the child run all over us? I think step parents should be given the same obligations as the real mother, when the real mother is rarely in the picture. But that's just my opinion.

Lily - posted on 12/03/2011

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Hello, I have 3 stepdaughters that live with me and their Dad all the time. The visit their birth mother about once or twice a month. Let me know if you want to talk. Sounds like you are in a similar situation, and you have to discipline since you are with them most of the time. Let me know if you want to talk. I now see this was posted a couple years ago. I just re-joined this site.

JAEN - posted on 12/03/2011

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I have been through this. My children (3 bio, 2 step) are all grown up now but my husband and I had them all living with us from ages 11,10,10,8 and 7. All you have to do is parent all the children fairly and realise that although you cant treat them all the same (because they have different needs), you can be fair. Leave the bio parents to make their own mistakes and be as much support to the children as possible,picking up the pieces goes with the territory I'm afraid. Don't ever make excuses for the bioparents-if they dont turn up or phone and you dont know why tell the children you don't know why,don't sl*g them off (even though you would want to) and do loads of stuff as a family. Board games, outings, family meals etc and if you're the parent in charge and problems arise and you have to use discipline then make it fit the crime and be fair!!. Dr Phil has obviously not been a step parent! You cannot be in charge of 5 kids and discipline 3 and let the other two get away with it. Even school teachers and carers of children not their own have to have rules and bounderies!!! The most important advice I can give you is listen to the kids. All of them. Always keep a good communication open with them and if you ever dont know how to deal with a situation under your roof that involves them all,then get them all together and listen to what they have to say.
As far as homework is concerned it has to be done-and they know it!! Set aside a quiet time where they all do homework,telly is off and you can make yourself available to help. They are all different ages and will have different amounts so maybe the younger ones could read or do something quietly while the older ones finish.
It sounds like you are doing a great job which will bring its own rewards. Good luck :)

Pam - posted on 12/02/2011

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Yes, my husband has sole custody of his daughters ages 16, 12, and 10. Mom cannot have any visitation at all until she completes alcohol and drug rehab. And its sad too because from what I understand the mom sober is a wonderful, intelligent, artistic person.

The two oldest ones have memories of their mother, albeit most not good memories like stories of their mother meeting them at the bus stop drunk and naked hanging onto the car to keep from falling over. Stuff like that. The youngest has no recollection at all of her mother whom stayed drunk while carrying her; so she has issues from her mom drinking while pregnant. The two older ones were kidnapped by their mother from school awhile back and the school knew not to release the kids to the biomom. Took my husband three years to get them back. There was a lot of abuse and even molestation from that time she had them. So I have my work cut out for me. Plus when he got them back it was before we met so after they had been through that ordeal, he was very easy going on them because of what they went through...meaning little to no discipline at all. When we got together it took me sometime to teach the oldest one to walk upright, she always hunched over at the waist and walk or run while looking down. The middle one resented me and still does sometimes as she was protected from the molestation part of the abuse and therefore she glamorizes as I call it, her memories of her biomom's charades drunken and having sex with guys in front of them. The youngest as I mentioned has no recollection of her biomom and so she clings hard to me.

Its real hard on me but I do my best. I was a single mom of two sons who's father never tried to enter the picture after we separated. I grabbed their attention early in life on behavior and they done really well, no trouble in school just with me insofar as their rooms but that's easy. So, I'm dealing with three girls with different issues and none have really been addressed because their father didn't want to traumatize or isolate them anymore than they were from their peers and others.

They are great kids, smart really smart and artistic. I just wish I could get them to come around and realize they're sisters and don't have to beat the crap out of each other all the time, behave in public and lying on each other. And the middle one just when I think we're starting to get along zings me like yesterday in the doctors office over the doctor wanting to run test on her for PCOS, she screamed I told her she was going to die and I hadn't said a word at all about dying. I just told her what PCOS stood for. She just kept screaming and crying to the doctor I told her she was going to die. I was so mortified. And when her dad addressed her behavior she kept staring daggers at me then at him then back to me.

I love them dearly but like my own kids they sometimes make me want to scream and go off like a mad woman.

Krystyn - posted on 11/30/2011

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Step parents should discipline to an extent. In my case, my fiance only has his son on the weekends but hes 8 and i have a four year old from a previous relationship. but if i see his son doing something wrong, i have no problem speaking up and saying not to do something.. (havent really had to put him in time out or really discipline him) if my son does something, fiance has no problem disciplining him. When it comes to spanking the child, i would say it would be a decision between the adults present. Other wise, if you and your husband have an agreement on discipline and the mother isnt there, your pretty much the mother figure in their life. ... .. idk if any of that made sense lol

Beth - posted on 06/25/2011

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I am a stepmom to 2 boys - 20 and 11. The 20 year old was 15 when I met his Dad and have not really done much disciplining with him. He's been a good kid so not much to worry about there. The 11 year old obviously needs disciplining sometimes. I do not physically discipline him and I never will. I don't feel comfortable with that. As far as other forms of discipline like grounding or something like that, I will do that and when I can, I will call his father to run it by him and see if he is in agreement with me. Then, he will usually talk to his son when he gets home and let him know that he is aware of the punishment and that he supports it.

As far as enforcing visitation, that is tough. In the beginning BM had the younger one and the oldest one lived with his Dad. She rarely ever saw her oldest one and the younger one would be dropped off here whenever she had to "work" (i.e. go on a date). There were months at a time when she would leave him with us every single weekend and she often called to drop him off during the week. I was tired of her not spending time with her kids and my husband and I had our arguments about it. In the end, it ended up working out for us because my husband ended up with custody of his youngest. Now, for the youngest anyway, she makes sure she sees him whenever it is her scheduled time. Too bad she was never like that with the oldest. He's been home from college for almost 2 months and the first time she made an effort to see him or spend time with him was the other night when she took him to dinner. Even older kids need to know they are important to their mothers!

Anastasia - posted on 06/23/2011

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I think when somebody said "step parent shouldn't be disciplining"its just stupid. whoever said that obviously never been in to situation. I'm a stepmother of 7 y.o. girl, she lives with us and her BM sees her whenever it's convenient for her and never disciplines her, never teach her any good manners or simple thing little girl should learn, like hygiene. How could you not pay attention and try to tell right form wrong to the child who is 24/7 with you? I'm always trying to stay on top of things. Her father, my husband works most part of the day . come home by evening. He is a good dad, but sometimes he just can't even think of things girls should learn and do!
Child needs mother and father figure in their live and if BM incapable of it, we are. )

Megan - posted on 05/17/2011

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I wouldnt recommend disciplining your SK's it could turn against you in time when they reach the teens and later on as an early adult.

Kyleigh - posted on 05/17/2011

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i agree with Dr phil now that i read some of the past discussions. I wouldnt want my SM of my BC to "spank," my children, regardless please leave it up to BD!

Jane - posted on 05/17/2011

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I say Dr. Phil is wrong. I think that children need to respect and follow direction from both parents. My children are 12 and 8 and I expect them to obey their SD. My hubby's daughter is 11 and lives with us full-time, she visits her mom once a week. She has lived here for 3 yrs., her mom couldn't handle being a single parent and signed over her custody. We too have the behavior issues when she comes back from her mom's, she forgets the rules while she's gone and comes home mouthy and grumpy. My hubby and I both agree the children need to listen to both of us and follow direction, however we will not touch each other's children if a spanking is required. We try to stick to time outs for punishments but wanted to make sure to cover all our bases when we discussed discipline, etc. We also have a 2.5 yr old together now so their are four children in our house. My two children are at their father's half of the time bc we have shared parenting (which sucks). Currently going through mediation to try and get my children here full-time though. Each situation has it's difficulty in our house. All the children have been through a lot over the past several years and I just hope they all know how much we love them and that sometimes we have to do what we as the parent think is in their best interest.

Megan - posted on 05/03/2011

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Time outs is what I normally do, there are other effective ways to get results, I would google other ways to step parent and try a bunch see what works best for you

Amanda - posted on 04/28/2011

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I am the step-parent in our home. My boyfriend is active in my children's life (20 & 16) and I in his daughter's (11yr). I think communicating with your husband in crucial to your success with discipline. Set goals with respect for yourself and the kids and you will go far as a step parent. I get up every morning and make sure Jocelyn is ready for school (do her hair, breakfast, teeth brushing ect.) and go to all her school functions, the bio-mom is involved every other weekend but Jocelyn prefers to not go, but we don't let her make those kind of decisions. She has to go, only exception is on the bio-mom's Thursday every other week if family or school functions come up will she make a decision on what to attend. She also has to let the bio-mom know this in advance. It sets a standard of self responsibility and leadership for Jocelyn. She has a difficult bio-mom that guilts her into feeling bad about herself by using terms "you don't want to see me" or "you don't love me" which in turn hurts Jocelyn and makes her feel bad about her decisions. But over time I believe it will get easier. I discipline with understanding and explain why she is in trouble. It seems to work for me!! I sure hope this helps, I might have elaborated more than needed, but I am here to listen if you just need someone to talk to!! Good Luck on your journey of being a successful step-parent!!

Jennifer - posted on 04/25/2011

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Dr. Phil actually says Step parents should not do discipline? Was he on something when he said this? If I didn't discipline my stepson he'd walk all over me. You may be a "step" parent but you are still a PARENT... wow. You're supposed to treat them like you're own not different. I can't imagine how messed up it'd be to be treating your step kids and your kids differently. Talk about making them feel out of place. I am just happy that I entered my stepson's life when he was 2 years old so I don't have to deal with this problem lol.

Amanda - posted on 04/25/2011

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I have a 6 year old step son that lives with his bio dad and I full time. Mom sees him once a month. I have always disciplined him as if he is my own. We have two other children and he is treated the same. I think Dr. Phil is off in your situation. You have the right to say how things are going to be run in your home, especially if their dad is working away for days at a time. If you want to you could have him talk to them over the phone to back you up.

Maria - posted on 02/24/2011

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I have had my stepchildren living with us for 11 years now. It by far is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! I love them dearly, but it is so difficult to parent someone else's child.

Tasha - posted on 12/16/2010

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I have 2 step sons who live with us and the bio mom only see's them on her time its hard on me because my husband is a truck driver and the oldist has altisum and out of control any help would be so helpful right now he is 5 and the other one is 4 and they think they can get away with any thing

Kylie - posted on 11/04/2010

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Hi Colleen,

My step-daughter (14) lives with my husband and I. What can I say other than it is really hard work, which I know you already know. I toohad problems with my step-daughter sticking to the rules of the house, which are very different to those her mother has in her house. My husband and I went to a Positive Parenting Course. Sounds a bit 'tree hugging' I know, but it really helped us with practical skills to address issues such as house cores and homework. With your hubby away it may not be practical for you to do the course, but the best thing we have found was the use of a Behaviour Contract. Basically you set out the bahviours you want them to carry out, such as homework, make the bed, be honest...etc. We found about 4 behaviours was about right to start with. You then give then a credit for each chore they do each day and then add up the credits each day (i.e. they do 1 chore they get 10 credits, 2 chores 20 credits and so on). Then you make a list of the things they like to do that they can 'cash' their credits in for, such as 50 credits equals and extra hour on the computer, 60 credits means they get to chose the Friday takeout and so on. They then save and cash credits as they achieve the reward they wish to have. It really worked for us, espcially to our surprise for the 14 yr old.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Kylie.

[deleted account]

Stepmum to 2 (7 and 11) and father has custody. Mum has visitation rights but lives on the other side of the world and hasn't seen them for 4 years. I don't exactly agree with Dr. Phil on that. If a step-parent doesn't dole out punishment then the kids will walk all over them! Talk to their father about house rules and get enforcing it. The one thing you said is that the things they do are nothing major. In my opinion, things like that don't need "punishment" as much as "redirection". Make a rule about "homework time" (ie. no TV/videogames/playing outside until homework is done; homework done after dinner; etc). Don't let them get to you ;) Kids that age are so good at it, trust me!!

Haley - posted on 09/29/2010

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Okay first off Dr. Phil is a complete quack!!! My step son is 7 and is here EOW and every other week during the summer.... my husband works out of town and this past summer my step son was here the entire summer with me and me alone. How can you possibly care for a child with out disciplining them? I just dont see how that is possible. But in my case I treat my step son just as if he was my own. If he does the crime he pays the time, whether it be a lecture, a stern talking too, grounding or even a smack on his rear end!!! He respects me and understands that I am his parent even tho I did not give birth to him. When he questions something I tell him as in saying why like all kids do I just simply say because I am the step mom. So far this has worked for us. I feel like it makes things even better for us because he never leaves me out of anything I even get cards made at school on mothers day. And as a step mother I am sure you all know how much that means to me!!!

Erica - posted on 09/16/2010

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I have been with my husband since the kids were 13 and 3. I do displine I believe if they know you arent going to do something about it then they will do whatever they want

JENNY - posted on 09/09/2010

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HEY IM THERE..I HAVE RAISED ONE STEP SON SINCE HE WAS 4 HE IS NOW 14..AND A STEP DAUGHTER SINCE SHE WAS 9 SHE"LL BE 12..THEY HAVE DIFFERNT MOMS SO I GET A DOUBLE WHAMMY..LOL..THERE DAD IS A TRUCK DRIVER SO I GET ALL THE RESPOSIBILITY..DR PHIL IS A QUACK..U MUST MAINTAIN ORDER IN UR HOUSE AND WITH THAT COMES DICIPLINE..PLUS MY PARENTS WERE DIVORCED AND I HAD A TERRIBLE STEP MOTHER..SO I HAVE PROMISED MY SELF NO MATTER HOW PISSED I AM WITH THE "REAL PARENTS" I WOULD NEVER TREAT THE KIDS BAD..ITS A ROUGH ROAD BUT U CAN DO IT

Charlotte - posted on 09/06/2010

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I have 2 of my 3 step kids living with me & my partner, as well as our 7 month old so i can relate to what your saying. I find it really hard to discipline them because there not mine and what makes it worse is that my partner doesn't always like disciplining them either because he feels bad on them as they don't see their mum and they feel like their mum only loves their older sister. (she kept her and gave her boys to their dad 2 years ago. very complicated :S)
i really have no idea what to do any more. Its really stressing me out because their getting out of control and their only 4 & 5 so it just makes me think what are they going to be like in 5 years! I'll be pulling my hair out! ... To top it of we never get a break as there is nobody to look after the boys. My partner won't force their mum to see them as he says she will stop him from seeing his daughter.
Don't take this the wrong way but its good to know someone else is is exactly the same situation as me, I'm not alone. :D
I hope its helped you to know there are others in your situation too.

Christy - posted on 04/26/2010

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We have my stepsons full time and biomom isn't in the picture at all. And when she does decide to call every 4 or 5 months it puts stress on the house. The boys don't understand why their mom isn't around and why she doesn't call. It is so bad I invited biomom to bday party in Feb and 30 minutes before it was time for the party to start she called and said she couldn't make it because the heater was out of the car. Then biomom's mom came at easter and brought bday and easter presents but we haven't heard from them since. It is very frustrating to me. I am the mom!! I'm here every day when they wake up and go to sleep. But I feel like I don't get credit where credit is due. They try to walk all over me and act like they don't have to listen to me either. I love them and I realize that they will figure it out eventually but in the meantime I feel like a glorified babysitter.

Louise - posted on 04/26/2010

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I think that displine is appropriate if the kids are living with you. I don't agree with Dr. Phil..afterall, you are a parent. Natually you don't want to be a "wicked-stepmother" but as long as any & all disipline is done with love and the "house rules" are clear, all the kids, biological & step-children should be treated equally.

Katherine - posted on 02/04/2010

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Dr. Phil is wrong! Theya re with you most of the time, of course you need to make sure they behave. My husband's former spouse was MIA, unless she was on the receiving end of a gift or her Mom was coming to town, then she would put her phony face on and after her Mom left: she would be done with the kids, There is something very wrong in a situation when a parent gives up visitation. I was glad the ex-spouse did not bother with the kids too much, she was not a nice person and a very poor influence. All I can say is that you seem to be doing a very good job of loving your family.

Katherine Huth

Kris - posted on 01/29/2010

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I am SOOOO in your same place. I wrote a post on this board titled "am I fit to be a step-parent". Anyway long story short. I am taking a Step Parenting class. Unfortunately there is not much help out there for people in our situation of having the step kids fulltime and being the primary provider. Some suggestions that have been given to me are... Develop Family Rules and Expectations. Sit down as a family and come up with them. That way the kids will feel involved and you can also cover the father being the one who laid down the ground work. Even though you will all be making the rules he will have to back them and everyone will know the expectations.
I wish you luck and please keep in touch as I would love to have your feedback on what is and is not working for you.

Kris - posted on 12/29/2009

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Hi Colleen,

I am in a very similar situation. My husband and I have full custody of his kids Scott (9) and Katie (6) and they reside with us, as well as my daughter Ryenne (3).

My husband and I went to counseling for parenting advise with our particular situation. The therapist gave us lots of literature on step parenting similar to what you indicate Dr. Phil states about the step parent not doing the disciplining. I have had a few step parents in my own upbrining and I could certianly see what that advise was getting at as it might pertain to step fathers. However I like you am the mother, I stay home with the kids all day long, cook, clean, do homework, drive the kids where they need to go and do the majority of the influencing and child rearing... therefore I found it very difficult to relate to the idea that I should not be disciplining. Additionally my husband is very passive and takes to coddling the children because "they have been thru so much". Anyway long story short I had my work set out for me getting to a point where my husband and I were on the same page. We sat down together and decided on rules and consiquences. I then presented them to the kids with my hubby. The kids of course continue to push their limits but I stand my ground and I have even enlisted my husband to do so as well. Things seem to get better by the day. The kids are very receptive and if the rules are not being followed, they are quick to point out what's deviated and by whom.

Believe me I still feel plenty of resentment because my kids "mom" see's them when it is convientient for her, fills their heads with empty promises, and takes every opportunity to put on a show our neighbors and on occasion the school staff at our kids Elementary School.

It is very hard, but because I was a step child I also realize that the kids are not blind to all that goes on in their lives and who is stable and reliable.

Believe me I have many days when I hold conversations in my head about what I'd like to tell the kids about reality or how I'd like to give the parent of convienience an earfull. I have days where I come here to seek any kind of support like you have and then I have many days of the kids cuddling up to me and sharing special moments.

PS. They call me mom (all on their own accord) and it pisses their bio lady off to no end.. makes you wonder what idea people come up with as to the definition of what Mother is.

Love and Support,

Kris

Juana - posted on 12/16/2009

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you still need to discipline,but you and hubby sit down with the kids and have him go over the rules and what happens if they are broken and that both of you will be dishing out the discipline. Believe me my hubby works offshore and the teens lived with us but before we were married they stayed with BM and hse let them do what ever and I am not like that i have rules and beleive me they have given us hell cause they think they can run wild when dad is working and be angels when he is home...so you definatly need to discipline also

Lorrie - posted on 11/20/2009

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I am main disciplinarian, and my step kids absolutley hated it, but with the consistancy of my discipline and my husbands support we finally got it all worked out. We did have family meetings about once a quarter and let the kids air out all that was on their mind and sometimes it was a whole lot. We would go over the rules, I would have it printed out on paper then when we were done going over rules I had each one write their signiture then they can never tell me that they didnt know a certian rule. Still do that even after 8 yrs of marriage and the kids are teenagers now! Good luck!

[deleted account]

Colleen, Yes I do and yes I can totally relate. Pr Phil is right... within context and like you my hubby is a shift worker and we agreed that things cant just 'slide' bacause he's not here and also we didnt want him to be made inot the bad guy by doing all the discipline because BM lets them run WILD. We had to be careful because there is specific stuff in their court order about physical discipline- which suited me fine, I have no desire to smack other people's kids at all. I just used to pick something that I knew would bother them like no XBox for 2 days (seems like FOREVER to a kid). It didnt always work in the beginning but eventually they learned that I'm fair but I take no crap either. Good luck to you xoxoxo

Teri - posted on 09/22/2009

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Hi Colleen, I to have step kids who live with me and my Husband. He has "supposed" joint custody, but the EX only sees the 2 kids every other weekend when it's convenient for her. She never calls to check on them or talk to them. Its very frustrating and hurtfull to them we just reassure the kids that we love them and we will always be here for them. As for the Husband issue my Hubby works all hours too. And there are times I feel that I'm the only one there for these kids. So I know how you feel. The discipline issue, I discipline them as if they are my own, they are under my roof basically 24-7 I'm the one raising them, if the other parents want an input in the discipline then they need to be present. My step son will be a big boy his Dad id about 6 foot 6 and his Mom is about the same I'mm only 5 ft 4 in so I have to be strict with him now or in the future I'll really have my hands full, he's only 5 yrs old now. I hope this helps.

Teri Johnston

Megan - posted on 07/02/2009

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I just wanted to say that I really disagree with Dr. Phil's take on discipline issue. My husband and I have joint custody. Kids live with Mom and are with us one night a week and EOW. So, I am not "full time" yet I still feel really comfortable disciplining the boys. We have been in each others lives for 8 years so I am used to them and they are used to me. I have a great relationship with them. They listen to me, do what I ask as well as listening to their dad. I even went to Boy Scout summer camp for the week with my oldest SS in June. In our home the rules we have go. Both Dad and I have expectations for the kids and both enforce the rules.



I hear a lot that the step should do just that, step back from discipline, but what about when Dad isn't around, or when you are in the car or if the kid lies to YOU not dad. I just can't imagine being in your own home, a safe loving environment created for the kids and then to be told that you shouldn't discipline if a house rule is broken. I'm sorry this just annoys me so much. It makes me feel like I am overstepping when it actually feels really comfortable to do it how we do.



I, of course, never touch the kids in anger. Discipline is mostly time out, taking away privelege, or making them write sentences or an essay. And, thank goodness we most often get by with just warning them.

Louise - posted on 06/24/2009

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hi ya

i am step mum to 3 children they have lived with me for 3 years now eldest is 13 and youngest being 8 i also have two off my own children living with me

i am the one that disciplines i lived with the resentment first off but the older two are very happy now and i have no trouble at all with in fact i have a better relationship with the oldest than i do with any off the 5 children

I have stuck to my guns from day one we have quite plain house rules which everyone must follow at first i did one to one time for each off them and tried to find one key thing that interested them and did that with the child since then i have moved on to a day out with just one or two of them at a time to really get to know them

i treat them all the same and no one child get anything more than another

i gave them all respect and taught them to respect themselves what they return earns them more respect from me and more trust and freedom

i am still having problems with the youngest one who is now 8 yrs and he will test me daily and push as far as he can but my rules are fair and i stick to them even if he goes without stuff each day persistance is me key

although it gets tiresome it does pay off

what you have to remember they have had there whole world turned upside down and what may seem straight forwards to us isnt always to them with time things will change and talking is the only way through it understanding what they are feeling and why they do certain things it will take lots of time to break down a wall of defense they put up to protect themselves

but it will crumble u need to be the one they relie on and can come too as theyhave no one else and there trust in everyone and everything would have been crushed



i belive yoy need to discipline a step child or they will walk all over you but you also need to display love and affection beyond what you would normally you need to place trust in them

i hope this has helped and am here if you want to talk further

t/c lou

Missi - posted on 06/09/2009

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my partner and i have 1 son each both 6 years old 7 months apart they both live with us!! my stepsons mother is so unreliable sometimes i wish she would dissapear completely but she never will!! she claims to want custody of my stepson aj but hes been with his father since birth and ive been with them since he was 2! he hasnt seen her for 3 months!! it upsets him so much! maybe you should talk to your husband about the visitation because if he really is concerened the kids will think its because you and he dont want them around he shouldnt be your kids are old enough to understand whats going on!! i grew up with a split family and my stepmother was not good to me and my siblings its true that 'step parents' cant just start giving orders but if you love your step children and respect them they in turn will love and respect you and theyll understand what the rules are for and how hard it can be for you! i think considering that your youngest ones are 8 you should just talk to them! your kids will see soon enough that you and your man are doing what is right theyll see that thier boimums and biodads are the ones that arent there for them!!! your hubby seems like he should back you up more when it comes to the kids and theyre other parents!!

Jessica - posted on 05/16/2009

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We have my stepdaughter 100% of the time with no Bio mom in the pic at all.



Maybe you could have your husband sit down with all of you and help make rules and consequences when they don't follow them.



When my husband I were first together he would work all the time. So he wasn't home very much at all. And he worked nights so when they started preschool that was even worst. My stepdaughter and I got along great when my husband and I were dating. Then my role changed. It made it extremely hard. Having him more involved and backing me up helped.



It's still never an easy job. My husband works less now and the kids are several years older. But still it's hard.

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