What is the best way to deal with your step children when they won't listen to you?

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Alina - posted on 06/14/2010

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My step-children know that the rules in our home are different from the rules at their house. Plus, they know I just don't tolerate disrespect from any of my children (and they are my children, too!) They do what they're told, and that's it, no negotiating. I talk to them, let them express themselves, as long as they're not being hurtful or damaging anything. I listen and let them have their "meltdown moment." Then I reiterate the rules and continue to show them that I love them no matter what they do. Some kids are angry because Daddy and Mommy aren't together, and it's understandable. My husband is at work 12-14 hours a day, so the kids will spend most of their time with me, and he already laid the ground rules. They can't play us against each other, and whether they like it or not, I am Daddy's wife and I'm a part of their lives. We talk about it, let them know it's okay if they don't understand, but they have to respect us, and me. I think it helps, however, that I consider them very much my children, and I love them like I gave birth to them. They sense that, and it makes them less resistant. Children are smart, and they will try you. Operate with patience, love, understanding and then more love. No matter how they hurt us, we have to respond with LOVE! And love does not manipulate :)

Joan - posted on 06/14/2010

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first look to their father. let him explain to them that when they are with you alone you are in charge and they are to listen. when he is around let he be their boss.

good luck

Beck - posted on 06/14/2010

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firstly manipulation could be the worst thing you can do. All that will teach them is to not do what you say until you give them something they want and really they end up manipulating you. You need to become their friend and sometimes you need to just leave it to dad. It always comes down to the fact you are not their mum and they dont think they need to listen to you. I had this trouble with my step son and soon had it changed when dad got involved. Now he is very good to me and is very obedient and well behaved for me. Wehn he does things when asked he gets complimented and praised for his good behaviour and especially when he does it without being asked he gets a reward of some kind.

[deleted account]

Well I don't have any step-kids, but I did have a pretty awesome step dad! I can tell you the way he dealt with us (myself, brother and sister)

He would take us out for a drive (he had a pretty cool car, my brother liked that) or sit in the back/front yard with a beverage (I was legal drinking age so we'd have a beer or something, although I didn't like beer lol) and we'd bond. Wether it was over music, stories, etc. He'd let us know he wanted to be our friend, not our father. My mom worked 3-4 days a week, 12 hr shifts so she'd be shattered when she got home. He would simply remind us of what she expected the house to look like when she got home and said she'd give us hell if it wasn't done. Rather than TELLING us what to do, he simply reiterated what our mother had told us to do (sneaky!).

So, I suggest, try finding something (doesn't have to cost loads of money, ie wash the car at home, garden, go for a walk, etc) you can do with them one on one and let them know you ARE in their lives and you're not planning on leaving any time soon, but you don't want to be their mother or even substitute mother, but their friend. But there are certain rules they must follow, as set out by their father and yourself, who are in charge of the household, not the kids. I don't agree with the manipulation comment, because children need trust as much as adults do. If there is trust and love, in any and all meanings of the word (love) then that is the best foundation for any kind of lasting relationship. Never underestimate the power of dialogue and conversation!

I do wish you the best of luck and hope things turn around soon!

[deleted account]

I manipulate them! If they are ignoring me and I'm trying to get them to do something, I add candy in the mix next time I say it. "I SAID.... I WANTED TO GET THE LIVING ROOM CLEANED UP BEFORE DADDY GETS HOME. WE CAN HAVE A PUDDING CUP WHEN THE CHORE IS DONE." You'll be surprised how many 9 year old little girls jump when you say pudding cup! I can testify that TWO of them do!

We had an issue once with one of the girls getting REALLY picky about her food. She jumped up and RAN to the trash can and SPIT food in my trash can! I'm not sure why this flew all over me the way it did... could have been I was 38 weeks pregnant. At dinner later that day, I quietly removed the trash can from the kitchen. I slid it around the corner to the laundry room. During dinner, Daddy offered her something new which she did exactly what I expected... she jumped up and ran for the trash can. She spun around confused and had nowhere to spit that food. She quietly swallowed her green beans and sat down. I looked across the table at her and very gently said, "Ladies don't spit."

Sometimes you have to be smarter than they are.

Now with my exhusband (deceased) he had two kids.. and they were teenagers when I met them. (13 and 15) When my stepson acted ugly.. there was no compromise. His father put him back in the truck and took him back home. We will try again next visit.

This always broke his heart... because we only got about 4 visits a year. Daddy always planned vacations, boat trips and camping around their visits. After two incidences.. one putting his hand on my throat and pushing me into the refridgerator... the second one was when he was seen at a drive-in restaurant in town BOILING down the tires on my truck. Both times.. He went home. We tried again next visit. This also hurt his wardrobe. He and his mother decided that I would go with him to pick out his clothes.. because she and he could not agree on clothes. I didn't have that issue with him about clothes.. it was easy for us. Each time he went home... he didn't get those cool trips to the mall or any new Tommy jeans... or Ambercombie shirts.



I think what you need is a little good old fashioned womanly manipulation ;)

Good luck! I really hope something I've said can help :)

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