Step Mom dealing with Step Son's bad behavior.

Mommy - posted on 09/14/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I have been in my step-sons (who is almost 7) life since he was 1 1/2 years old. His father and I have had primary custody of him since then. His mother is a drug addict who doesn't see him much. In the last 4 years she has shown up for two supervised visitations, and of course does not pay child support. Okay now that we have the background established: My step-son has been having behavioral issues at school starting last year (when I became pregnant) since my bio son has been born his behavior has gotten worse. His paternal grandparents do not respect our rules in our home and allow him to act wild and crazy whenever they are around. His father feels guilty because of the situation with birth mom, and can't seem to find consistent punishment for bad behavior. Example: He gets in trouble at school, his punishment is no computer or tv. However he is allowed to watch what we watch on TV and swim in our pool and ride bikes. (doesn't seem like a punishment to me) My husband recently told me he would be the only one to discipline my step son, that was at the beginning of this week. Since then he has gotten in big trouble at school 3 out of 4 days at school. parent meeting, teacher phone call, the whole nine. My husband now blames the bad behavior on lack of play time....I don't get it?!?!? The worse part is, this behavior is making me not want to be around my step-son, and even though I am the one that picks him up from school and keeps him the rest of the day I cannot correct his behavior or apply punishment. Now his Dad wants me to take time to let him swim or ride bikes?!?!?! I don't have time, I have a newborn breastfeedng baby and I have to cook dinner between the time I pick him up @ 3pm and have dinner ready by 5:30-6PM when my husband gets home...plus I don't agree with rewarding bad behavior with bike rides and swim time. Please someone give me some advice on this :)

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Texas - posted on 09/14/2012

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Hello!



Here's my advice. If dad doesn't want you to enforce any punishment or rules when you are the one watching him I would get him enrolled in after school program and have dad pick him up. At least there he will get re-direction of bad behavior.



You need to sit down with your husband and explain the you are a family unit. If he doesn't want you to enforce rules out of guilt for your step son's situation then he needs to take primary care of him. Picking him up from school, discipline, fun time, and bed times. I have been in a similar situation with my 4 step children. Once I stopped all the extras I was doing he realized that I was actually not only helping him but his children too. It's very hard blending families together.



I feel the behavior issues after your son was born is your step son feeling like he may not belong. If you catch him being good praise him highly. I do agree that a punishment is punishment not introducing fun things such as riding his bike or swimming.



Good luck to you!

Amber - posted on 09/30/2012

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I agree whole heartedly with Texas Momma! If your husband doesn't want you to enforce punishment then he needs to be the one to take on the primary care of his son. But most importantly, you guys need to be on the same page. You are a family, and the son needs to know that he does have to respect and obey you as a parent figure in his life. I have some issues with my 7yr old step-daughter. She doesn't listen to me and we end up fighting. She has bad behavior in school and her dad and I are at our whits end with the school behavior. We have tried everything from taking privileges away, to time outs, to grounded to your room, etc... It doesn't work. We have tried rewarding her for good days. Telling her, listen, if you're good at school we will have a big surprise for you this weekend. Doesn't work! Anyway, I don't agree with allowing him to ride bikes or swim when he has had bad behavior. Like I tell my step daughter, you need to treat your teacher like she is one of your parents. She needs to get the same respect. It sounds like you and your husband need to sit down and have a heart to heart about this. Also, if the behavior has worsened since the birth or your son, he may be jealous. But have a talk with your husband and try to get him into the after school program at the school. Good luck!!1

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Tonya - posted on 11/10/2012

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omg its like looking in a mirror, kind of... same step son situation but not w the punishment thing. my step son was out of control! well he still is. i basically felt stuck and said ether he is tested and put on meds or the baby and i are out. he is on meds and is still a mess of a child. i do everything i can to help him but it is so hard. begin a step mom is harder then being a biological mom! if i were you i would tell your husband that what he is doing is not ok! what helped us was making a chart... if you dont bring your home work home your punishment will be (then the exact punishment) if you have to go to the principals office because you were a problem in class your punishment will me... and so on. it became helpful to have it all set out for us. we worked on it together. we dont agree on punishments! your son needs a schedule! he needs rules and known punishments. he is acting out for a reason, you need to find the reason. maybe he has a condition, maybe he needs to see a shrink, maybe he is upset or confused about his bio mom and doesnt understand. the sooner you figure it out the sooner you can be happy and enjoy your baby and husband. no mater what it sucks to be you, you are now responsible for helping this child and your husband. both need to respect you and hear your voice. only you can make that happen! good luck

TyC - posted on 10/08/2012

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I can see allowing your husband to set the rules and the punishments for his son but you should be allowed to enforce rules in your home. It is not just your husband and step-son's home.

Also since it sounds like you are the primary mother figure and act as such I do not see why there is any reason why you are not treated like "mom" 100%. I would feel different if you step son was a teenager when you first got together, but he wasn't and if his mother is not around there is no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to fill that role completely.

If this doesn't stop now, it will ruin all of your lives later on down the road.

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