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

13 2

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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Try to be consistent, This is so hard especially when you are running 3 different ways at a time, and especially when you are caring for a new born. The Rules need to be the same for all children, but the punishments should fit the ages, for example you wouldnt give a two year old the same punishment as a 15 year old. But the rewards should fit too. (you wouldnt give a two year old the same allowance as a 15 year old either) Try to make separate "mommy and me" time with each of your kids, and that your fiance does too, if you can... even if it is just an hour a week, your daughter will appreciate it, even if at her age she resists it at first. Most of all, just make sure that no matter what they do/dont do that is wrong or right, that you love them forever, and it is their actions you dont like. And make sure your fiance follow's suit. If he treats her like her DAD, and like she is his daughter too, he will find, that she will do the same. Good Luck!

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Amen Nichole. I went through something similar with mine. I have a wonderful relationship with the 26 yr old daughter but the 23 yr old daughter has no contact with me. I do know she will one day when she is older and ready. For all of us Stand Firm with a soft loving smile. :)

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128 10

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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Martha... can you please take an english class. I don't even want to read your post whether you have a point to make or not. Better yet, type your post into a Word Doc. to check your grammar and spelling because it is atrocious. Thank You

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I agree with Kelly - you do know that the primary language in the United States of America is Enlgish - yes?

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Martha, I really could care less how you view me. I have never once laid a hand on my step daughter in a bad way. I don't beat her. I discipline her. There is a HUGE difference. And no, I have NO jealousy towards her biological mother. Not every woman who gives birth has the right to be called a mother. Her mother isn't involved in her life at all, when she did have her daughter in her care she would constantly leave her alone, or with whatever friends she had at the time (this child just turned 4 by the way), & if she didn't leave her alone to go party, she took her with her!! My husband knows I would NEVER hurt his daughter. I consider her my own! And she knows that no matter what happened between her biological mother & her dad, he has always loved her. Period. If my husband thought I was abusing her, he would have left me, & I couldn't blame him! But, I am not hurting her in any way. And yes, I do have a child that is not biologically my husband's, & guess what?! He is also allowed to discipline him!!

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Martha- Your post is very judgmental. You are telling Dusty that her discipline is wrong and you don't know anything about their situation. However, you tell her she is jealous because she says her bio Mom didn't discipline her. I'm sure being with this child and near to the situation she knew what was going on at her bio Mom's house. It sounds like you are against discipline in general and think that love will solve everything. Kids need boundaries and discipline and this will cause them to respect you.

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Yes, would all of you wonderful hard working people who come to the United States, please do us all a favor and learn English. As far as discipline, the world is out of control today with drugs, abuse and sex because there are many parents that don't show their kids tough love! They are too lazy! If you are a parent, remember you are the parent; not their friend! They will thank you later! I am one of seven kids and their was no physical abuse; just tough love!

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Kelly and Vera, Women and mothers are hard enough on one another and critical enough as it is. I am not sure how insulting someone, on a board geared specifically toward upholding and supporting women and the families they work so hard every day to raise, is anything other than jingoistic nonsense. Please take a moment to consider what you are putting out into the world (and cyberspace) and ask yourself if it is doing anything positive for anyone. I hope someone speaks kindly to you today.

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Marsha made good points. Better to attack a persons knowledge of perfect writing then to understand the nature of what she is trying to convey. I commend you both on proper use of the English language, and the demeaning of another mother who wanted to make a healthy opinion known.

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Sounds like a comment that came from Mandisa. And I think her and get husbands agreement is very fair and loving.

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Vera and Kelly, Wow, on this sort of forum, I didn't expect these sorts of comments. You both are rude. There are more effective ways of getting your point across besides insulting someone. You both lack tact in your deliveries.

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Dusty's point is that step parents should treat their step kids like their own and I like the idea but I'm not sure it will always work. Both stepparent and stepchild might be uncomfortable with each other in their new roles especially if the kid is a teenager and the stepparent has no children on his own. Also the new couple will need time to allign their parenting style I think? PS ladies, can we be a bit tolerant on language? This is not a US-only forum.

128 10

That is exactly my point. However, I understand that what works for my family, won't always work for others. When I took on the role of stepparent, I didn't start being a parent to her overnight. It took time for both of us to adjust, & I would never want to just take over, especially not really knowing her mother at the time. My (step) daughter was also pretty young when I met her (2) Had she been a teenager, or a young adult, things probably would have played out differently. Things also would have played out differently had her mother actually been a good parent to her, instead of putting her own needs above her daughter's. I feel bad for what she has gone through in her young life (I know how it feels, I went through the same with my biological mother). However, I count myself very lucky to be able to step in & show her what true motherly love is, & that no matter what she does, I will always be here for her, & I will always love her.

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Martha, I, for one, didn't understand a single word of your rambling nonsense. Obviously, you are not an American citizen or your english construction would be better. Why don't you take your screwed up english and your screwy ideas and go back to your country of origin!? Whatever I could piece together of your rambling is equally retarded and I'm left wondering if you should be raising children of any heritage/relationship? You must be one of those mothers of some gang leaders who have no respect for authority of any kind . . . . step-parenting is hard work and it takes a special kind of person to walk the fine line of loving discipline. ALL children need the safety of love with rules that ALL parents are biblically charges with providing. If by chance you can read better than you speak, Proverbs would be a great place for you to begin learning what God expects of parents and children (step & birth). Please take your rightful place on the other side of our southern border and don't forget to take your children . . . . .you just make it hard on the rest of us who get it!

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I am a mother of 5, 2 ( a boy of 22 yrs old and a girl , 28). And 3 more to my second husband. I feel the same.. My 2nd husband was a very cruel stepfather to my kids. He always punish and hit them for every wrong and not so wrong things they did. If I stop him he will hit me. Even our own kids he punished them so much. That's why the kids don't love and respect him. It was the biggest mistake I ever did in my whole life.. Loving a man like him. I found out later that he was also battered as a child but that's not a reason for him to do the same. He can be very loving when he wants to but that would appear abnormal to us. Now were already separated ang living a peaceful life with all my children..

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Discipline is teaching. Not beating, teaching them right from wrong and developing morals in them. I think Dusty did a great job of keeping it simple as well as being real. You don't help children by giving your power away to them. So if her children were spanked, she should not have been held captive by one child because she did not give birth to her.

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Dusty - I think you were lucky to get her at 2. I met my step-daughter (and I only use step here to differentiate - I have never called her "step") when she was 9. When I met her I realized if I was going to be with her dad I would be raising "Nellie Olsen". She was 140 lbs, 4'7" bossy, obnoxious (when Daddy wasn't around of course), and I can COMPLETELY blame it on her mother. This may be a board to support women, but as you stated (or someone did) just because you give birth does not give you the right to be called "Mom". Her birther moved me into the house (before she divorced my now husband) so that she could find someone to replace her and she could set out on her lesbian lifestyle (after 15 years of marriage she "decided" she was homosexual). She had done NOTHING to teach her daughter to be a woman, let alone a productive member of society. My husband worked 3-11 shift, which left the child in the care of birther. What she was taught was to come home, park her behind on the couch and stuff her face. If she wanted something she'd whine for it. The house was the nastiest, dirtiest home I'd ever been in and I spent over $3,000 getting it cleaned before I moved in. I have two boys who were 11 and 12 at the time and my kids would tease his daughter about her nasty habits (like using a dish towel for a napkin and tucking it into the couch, or wearing the same clothes 3 days in a row). Three years later and the child is now living with her birth-giver because she couldn't handle the rules we set forth (by we I mean my husband and I). When I put her on a diet (because she is 4'11" and 175 lbs.) she would pack a lunch and then charge one at school. She lied and said she was giving her packed lunch to classmates. Her mother told me it was because "I didn't have any food in the house." I tried to do things with her to motivate her (go for walks, play active games on the Wii etc.) she would balk because my kids (who are in the 45th and 43rd percentile of their weight charts) "didn't have to exercise". I would tell her it was our quality time. She claimed I was keeping her from her father, which of course was ludicrous. She would neglect her chores and my husband would punish her (of course in her opinion it was because I made him). All three kids have chores, she was the only one who would go out of her way to avoid them. The last day she spent in our house she was asked to clean up some toys she had played with and put her clothes in the dryer. She instead kicked the toys under the furniture, and re-started the washing machine (knowing the clothes would be in there for over a week -we have more than one washer-and she'd have to re-wash them). There's a few other things she was supposed to do (but this post is long enough) needless to say she didn't do them. So I emailed her birther, my husband, and the birther's girlfriend to know that Nellie had left these things undone and that when she gets back here on Friday she will be not only doing what she neglected, but a few extra chores - with me standing over her. I WANT to slap her, especially when she gives me attitude (again when Daddy's not around) but I reserve physical punishment for REALLY serious offenses (like when my then 5 year old tried running in the road). If you spanked your children, and your husband is ok with that, then ABSOLUTELY you can spank your "steps" because ultimately the idea is that they are just as much yours as the ones you gave birth to. I don't believe she's a bad kid, I believe she was taught to be lazy (to the point I told her birther she needed to go to a dietician, or I'd be calling child protective services because at 11 you shouldn't be in a 40A bra). I am hopeful that now that she is only here on the weekends it will be less stressful on everyone, but she will still have to obey the rules.

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Maratha's comments are quite easy to read and Kelly she is 100% right . you have no right to place your hands on another persons child, your nasty nature shines through with the comments you made towards martha.

0 11

Amen, Kelly and Vera!

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i also have step children, and i feel for them to feel accepted by you as one of your own children they must be treated the same...if your kids get corner time for being naughty or a spank on the bottom, then thats what should be applied to the step children...otherwise they may feel they are special and normal rules dont apply to them, which is never good. Im lucky enough that thier mother is with me on this...as she has four step children. Her and my attitude is whats good for one is good for all. I do spank occasionally, but i have never beat a child...to me beating implies loss of control and blindly hitting out of anger, not a physical punishment that is controlled and well placed and timed.Im not going to insult anyone or their kids but all i know is when i go to the store or my step daughters school and see kids hitting thier parents and swearing at them(i witness a girl in my stepdaughters class(a1st grader) call her mother a "stupid bitch" because she wouldnt let her ride in the front, it makes me glad my kids have more respect than that...and people can call it fear or whatever else...but all i know is it'll be a sad sorry day when one of my children, step or otherwise, talks to me or anyone for that matter in such a disgustingly disrespectful fashion.

162 4

Props to Kelly, Stephanie and Dusty!! *hi-five* And Martha truly.... it's called tough love. I am not here to be my child's friend (until after they are grown). And if we are always friends... then I'm doing something wrong! And the suggestion that we step-moms should welcome our (s) SONS bio mom into our home when some (mine most especially) are friggin' nutsy kookoo is absolutely crazy!!

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how can you say you hate when women talk about other women and then go off on this person saying they don't love the child. Have you never heard of a bad mother and maybe she does know there was no discipline in the home. You need to read your post and figure out what you are talking about because all you are being is a hypocrite.

63 81

My husband and I have established our boundaries. He is fully supportive of any discipline I put on the children. I have never spanked them, I feel that if they are going to get a spanking, then my husband and I agreed that it will come from him since they are his children. I know first hand what kind of person their mother is, and she is the type to make a report of child abuse if I spank the kids. She has made false reports of abuse before and has claimed that I have beat the children, I am a drunk, I leave the kids by themselves, etc. and she has made those claims without me ever laying a hand on those children. So, there is no way that I am going to put myself in that situation if I ever was going to. This woman looks for anything she can to attempt to have the kids taken away from my husband, she looks for things because she knows the kids are happy, they have a safe environment, and knows they love coming to our house, that alone is her reasoning for trying to find things. Its very sad and hurtful that someone would stoop so low to lie to CPS and tell them that I was abusing their child... It makes me sick that someone is so unhappy, miserable and jealous that they will stop at nothing to take happiness away from their own children. So, I personally boundaries should be discussed between spouses. I take discipline to the level of time outs and that is where my line draws, it is only to cover my own a$$.

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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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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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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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Ebony, I am there with you and know how you feel, I was in the same situation a few years ago, only I have two (step) children with this man. When my husband and I were married, it really frustrated his ex because up to that point, she pretty much controlled his life by not allowing him to see the kids if he didn't do everything that she asked. When he married me, she lost a lot of control. We were together for 3 years before we were married and she never really saw me as a threat. His oldest was almost 4 and his youngest was 2 and they really loved me at first. After their father and I were married things changed a lot and even at their young ages, they were disrespectful to me all the time. My husband was not comfortable with me doing ANY type of discipline and if he said anything about it, bio Mom would keep the kids from him. At one point, (right before our wedding) she disappeared with them for 3 years and enrolled them in school under a different last name so we could not find them. She was a drug addict and when the children were in their early teens, she overdosed. Because their mother died "hating" me and the children have been told all their lives that Mom and Dad would be together if it was not for me, the children now hate me. They had to come and live with us after their mother died and even now, with both of them basically in their 20's I have to deal with the attitude and disrespect, not only to me but to the 3 children that are mine that my husband has always raised. It just seems to get worse over the years and I have no idea where to go next, how do you just "release it"?

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Interesting you said that about the wedding, because my stepson's mom hid him over that entire weekend so he could not be in out wedding. I felt so bad for my husband because he was supposed to be our ringbearer and my husband had paid for his tux. She was very spiteful. Your story overall is very sad and considering they lost their mother, it seems like now would be the perfect time to show them some empathy and acknowledge you understand they're feeling pain but their mother's bad decisions were no one's fault, including your own. Maybe this would be a better conversation for your husband to have with them since they seem to be so resentful of you now. What keeps me going is the look of joy my husband has when we're altogether and there's no tension. Whether I agree or disagree with the way he goes about things concerning my stepson and his mom, as his wife, I ultimately want to see him happy. I guess there's nothing I wouldn't do to save my marriage, even if it includes working with a very difficult child.

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Julia I think "release it" means to allow your husband to discipline. since they are grown I imagine that does not hold too much. But they should treat you with respect. You should maybe ask your husband to talk with them.

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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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What is the step-parent primarily is there to be the disciplinarian, but does not want to be there for the affection piece? My husband wants to have a say in disciplining and he is very extreme in his disciplining, but when it comes to time to having fun or spending time together as a family, he does not really seem to want to participate. I think he is too strict, he says I am too lienient. I can agree I am more lenient, because I feel I need to be more positive to offset his harshness.

1 1

Tara, can i respehctfully ask why you are staying with a man who is harsh with discipline and doesn't seem to be interested in family time? Why would you do that to your kids?

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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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Martha, I agree with you ! It is easier to lose your temper and smack .... But what doesn't teach ? To lose your temper . Discipline should be the same but it takes a while first for the child to trust and love the step parent ! Without trust you have nothing . I believe the step child and parent must establish this first however long it takes !!!! Then the same disciplines can start .Tell your Child exactly what your doing and why . There not stupid ! Some parents just don't get child are people too ! My new partner didn't believe at first he believed that discipline would gain him respect ... It doesn't ! Discipline is to show a child how to act the right as a person in society ! Fear is how our parents did it .... Doesn't mean it's right or the only way ! My new partner after 1 and a half years now is starting to discipline but not as firm as me but as the years go on it will be exactly the same !! Sorry about any grammar mistakes but I really don't think it's about that .

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I am coming from this subject at a different angle. My daughter is with her dad 20% of the time. Her stepmother works most of the waking hours that my daughter is with her dad. I do not see a step mother mentioned in our custody agreement so I do not believe that she has any right to discipline my daughter any more than any other adult who may be my daughter's short term caregiver. I do not discuss custody issues with her. I discuss them with her father. I do not see any reason why I would want to complicate an already complicated enough issue as discipling children by adding another adult's opinion into the mix. My husband is supportive and disciplines within my perimeters. P.S.- Martha- I am so sorrry that you were treated so rudely in your previous remarks. I thought you said some really important things and they were stated clear enough for me:-) It's one thing to make unintential spelling errors but it way worse to just be "mean" and judgemental.

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I see my step daughter in the summer and we also have visits for every other holiday and spring break. My family is also his/hers/ and ours. I have a good relation with bm. Since my husband is away sometimes during the visit I have to handle discipline. I feel that if she does not get disciplined then it is not fair. At the start of the visit we share the rules and how things are done in the home. this can take a few weeks for her to get used to the different styles. bm runs a different ship than I. I try to be understanding. my children have chores, rewards and discipline. I find the hardest part is at dinner. she is used to quick meals, frozen dinners and fast food. We make healthy meals since my husband and I are trying to be fit. She has a hard time eating vegetables and fruits. I offer 2 healthy snacks and desert (if they try everything.) also my girls are 8, and 7. My daughter has chores daily to clear and set the table. in the summer (only) I have them help more. for example an additional chore. and every Saturday I have them clean their bedroom. I can't have one girl clean her room or dust the furniture and let the second not. I think chores are important in teaching life skills. and I look forward to teaching them both how to cook, do laundry and eventually having them take more responciblity. Additionally I feel that if my sd has the same chores, she will feel more at home. I always help in cleaning the kitchen as well. I do the counters and the dishes. I feel that chores will help her feel included. though she tends to not want to help so much. and sometimes has melt downs. What are some ways I can deal with this.

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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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I couldn't agree more! I so wish more biological parents felt the same way that you do! This is how we are in my home too.

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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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WOW. Hate is a very strong word and I can only imagine your alarm when that was said. Hate can result in some unfortunate incidents so I am glad you are out of that situation and putting your son's best interest (and yours) at heart. I love my stepson, which is why I think disciplining him is so important. He's 12-years old, so he's learned how to play all the adults against eachother, including his mom and dad. There are things about him I don't like but people have bio children who have traits they don't like. However I'm loving enough to see pass all that. I would never tell his father I hate him. That's awful.

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I am struggeling right now. I have been with my husband going on 8 years now:)!! When we got together he had 2 children from a previous relationship. I love these two as if they are mine! I never ever say they are my step children. I would give my life for them if need be! 8 years later my husband and I have two of our own, almost 7 and 5, the oldest of our four is turning 19 in January and for the past several months I feel like she's not the same person. In the beginning of our relationship it was a bit rocky, she thought she was the parent. And that I wasnt. We quickly resolved that issue and for the past six and a half years everything has been great. Now I caught her in a few lies Within the last couple of months. Today she reprimanded me in front of my husband (her father). I just don't know how to handle it. I know how I would handle it with my baby girls. But I don't know how to handle it with her. & I don't want to fight but I don't want her to think that it's okay to talk to me the way she has been. About 3 weeks ago we had a REALLY bad fight a few weeks ago and she told me she f-ing hates me and that the only reason she "respects" me is because I'm married to her father. I want my daughter back. I feel so distant from her right now and I hate it. Please help!!

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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 have to say, I firmly believe that a step parent has no business using corporal punishment, and in my state it is illegal for anyone but the legal parent (bio father mother or adoptive father mother) to use corporate punishment. My son's step mother - who loves my son and WAS treating him as her own, slapped my son (then 5) across the face a few times. When he told me, his father and I had it out, and I told him the last thing I would want to do is go to court or report to DHS, but if he didn't interviene and stop it, I would have to. It has not happened since. That being said, i feel it is important for me as the custodial, bio mom, to establish, reaffirm and expect complete respect from my son towards his step mom. Our family councilor suggested that when dad is around, he is primary diciplinarian of our son; however he works occationally during his custody time, and step mom is in charge and deserves complete respect. And when there is an issue between me and step mom, it is NEVER addressed through the child, but through the dad. And although I don't always agree with her parenting style and rules, I know she loves my son and treats him as her own when he is there. And as long as styles and rules don't harm my child, I don't interfere. I hope this makes sense. It's late here. Please ask me if I am not clear.

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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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That sounds very familiar. My fiancé's children are 16,18 and 19. The older two are on their own. They love their dad and still sometimes look to him for advice and they are respectful and nice to me. The 16 yr old is temporarily living with my fiancé's mom so she didn't have to switch schools until we can move back there. When she is here though, she is respectful and we are already looking forward to shopping for her prom dress over Spring break. My 10 year old son lives with us and like your son has a drunk for a natural father. He also considers my fiance more of a dad and could care less about seeing his natural father. My fiance and I share discipline with him just like we will with our new son coming soon.

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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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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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Calling a mother of children a "Bio-mom' is so disrespectful. You should know better as a woman to disrespect another woman that way. If you don't have any children of your own and have never been through a divorce or split, you have NO IDEA what you are talking about. Just because this mother only sees her children on the weekends, DOESNT make her a bio-mom. If you're taking the "responsibility" of these children by taking them to the doctor, you have NO RIGHT to disrespect and judge. Get over yourself and realize that in a perfect world, the parents would be together and you would have NO existence in those children's life or the fathers life (maybe that's why you're making the "Bio-mom" comment because you're insecure). Just be thankful you get to love those children the way you get to. And legally, you have no rights to take those kids to the doctor. You've decided to be apart of a split family. Sorry to tell you, but the animosity you're feeling towards "bio-weekend mom" is because you can't have a perfect fantasy world for yourself without another woman being involv d. Deal with it.

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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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I want to be spackde by your mom and dad in your house my name is ben westmeier

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Wow! Lots of different answers on here. My thoughts are if a child wants to be included in a family, they shouldn't get a choice on what they want to partake. If you want to feel included then they should have the same rules as all the children. And for those of you who believe that a non bio parent has no right to discipline, you are wrong. And first hear me out on why. If you are a step parent and you are married and have been around for quiet some years and perform all the roles of a parent I don't see why you cant discipline your step kids. How do you tell someone hey I need and would appreciate you raising my kid that's not yours for all these years. I need you to love them, feed them, bathe them, take them to school, pick them up, groom them, host their birthdays and literally do all the things as if they were your own BUT no your not their real mom or dad so you can not discipline. Just saying that tells you it sounds ridiculous.

But I do get the whole thing where if you have a child and you are no longer with your child's other parent and you are just dating someone or not married you shouldn't have them discipline. Especially if your relationships are not long term or if its not serious.

As a step parent if you love your step kids and truly want the best for them and you do everything for them like a bio parent would, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to discipline them. A lot of Bio parents gets all the authorities for their children but we should change the thinking for that if they are not active in their children's lives.

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None. If that woman put a hand on my children I would call the police and have her jailed (where she belongs truthfully).

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I am mom. I mean no disrespect to SDs mother, but I take care of all her needs, and am the most frequently available adult in her life- and have been for most of it. I have basic free range in discipline. DH gives the spankings, however i most frequently respond with corrective suggestion, time outs and frequently try to relax him through the process of letting her be angry about the consequences. We talk about feelings and actions- and how very different they are in terms of consequence. Sometimes he feels I am too strict with her- and he may be right. We have very different upbringings. We discuss those things out of her earshot. This is a situation where BM is very uninvolved and I realize not all situations are like that. BM rarely takes issue to my involvement in SDs daily care and has been known to DH about concerns she and i discuss. That being said- regardless of your sitiation, in your home you are not a door mat. You can demand respect and order. You can take away privleges and luxuries you pay for. Youcan ask them to leave the room. You can suggest better ways of handling situations to your step children. You are not their sibling- do not tattle on them. You do not need to cal your spouse. On the phone, from the other room. Do not wait for him to come home. You are the adult and this is YOUR home.

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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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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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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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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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none don't touch my grandchild or child

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discipline isn't always hitting.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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I know it takes lots of time, but your daughter will figure this out. If you stay consistent like it sounds like you have been, over the next 5 to 10 years, she will figure out that you really love her, and that her step mom is a slacker who wastes her resources. It's good that she spends most of her time with YOU. I know it's not much consolation--my daughters are 18 and 15 now, and when we separated they were 9 and 6. Their "step-mom" (they're not married, just built houses next to each other and have sleepovers :|) has shown her true colors over the years, and my girls, who have usually been pretty quiet, have grown courage to stand up for themselves and have seen her (and him when they're together) selfishness and recognized it. I have been remarried for 5 years, and my husband will give the girls advice or fuss at them (things like "listen to your mother" or "your room is a mess" or things like that), but there is no physical discipline. When I've approached their dad about these issues in the past (with the step-mom who acted younger than my girls), he really got angry with me, cut me off, and then complained to the girls ..."why did you tell your mother ____(fill in the blank)?" It was to the point where EVERY time they came home from the weekend with him, they would cry and complain to vent and BEG me not to say anything to him. On occasion I did, but it always came back to bite them. YOU stay consistent, and in the end, thing should work out--but it is a long, tedious road. I feel for you.

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It is sad to see when things happen like this, and I am sure there are times when you must feel ganged up on. Having been a single parent doing the best I could, the only thing I can be thankful for is that my ex was not in anyway involved in my son's life. Now that I am with my husband we very much are on the same page with discipline. Keep your head up, your daughter will eventually see that they are merely trying to buy her affections. Also, should the spanking become an issue, use that as an opportunity to talk to her. Not to turn her against them as some might, but to explain that different people sometimes are different kinds of parents, and that while you can promise her it will never happen in your house, that all you can do is talk to them again to remind them it shouldn't happen there either. She is at the age where she should understand that. As for the nails thing, maybe put a positive spin on it, explain to her that getting her nails done is something she does with Meri, as a special activity. Maybe find something special that the two of you can do together on your weekends, she may be complaining about not doing these things because, as the responsible working parent, at her age, she may think you care more about work than her (I know that is how my son felt about my husband at one point) so maybe make some time on your weekends with he to show her that isnt the case :) Good Luck!

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i am a single mom to, and my ex brought his wife over from russia, one day it is the two of them and the next this girl ( based on her age compared to mine and my ex's ) is there and my daughter is being told by his family that this is her new mommy. she is there only on weekends. i expect my child whois now 8 to listen and obay and respect her stepmother as she does me and her father. but the role her stepmother takes is the teenage babysitter. she has a year old son of her own. my daughter no longer gets one on ne time with her dad and she blames her step mom and step brother.

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Oh Amy I feel your frustration. To get to the point YOU are the bad parent and your EX AND HIS WIFE are the friends that spoil your daughter and giver her what she wants with really no disapline at all. Do you understand what I mean? Not that you are a bad parent that is what they are making you out to be. I went through this with my son at that age and went through hell alot when he would come home from his fathers house after getting spoiled all weekend then wanted me and my husband to do the same....well NO it didnt work that way. You stay on your ground because in time you daughter will see who the real parent is and I mean my son doesnt have much to do with his father now at all. He has seen is dad twice in 14 months and pretty much dont want to much to do with him. He does talk to him on the phone but not for long periods of time. Pretty much....hi how are you...are you drunk in some back alley again? My son is 15 yrs old now and looks at my husband as more of a dad then his real father and loves and respects him very much. Looks like to me they are just trying to make you look bad. Dont give in to it...hang in their girl you have a rough road ahead of you yet and believe me its gonna get really bumpy but never talk bad about them to your daughter.....keep your opinions to yourself and she will get her own as she gets older. And if the father cant spend the time with his daughter when she is there then maybe he needs to change weekends at work or she doesnt come to visit until he can be their to visit with her. I did that with my son. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions but its whats best for the child.

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