Step dad here.

Ryland - posted on 11/23/2015 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I know this is a moms page but women are usually more helpful when it comes to stuff like this. My 4 year old step-daughter is highly emotional. SHe throws screaming tantrums when she can't do simple things such as getting dressed. Also she is very strong willed and when it comes to punishment (Usually timeouts or having a privilege taken away) she will scream and cry to the point where she either throws up or almost throws up. She will be really shy around people she already knows and spend a lot of time around. It's really hard because her mom doesn't really discipline her and neither does her father. Her father is a whole other problem but that's another thing. She is extremely smart but she spends a majority of her time with adults and I think that is hindering her social development. It's really hard because I am not her biological parent so my opinion isn't taken as seriously as her parents. I don't want her to grow up and get thrown to the wolves when she is in the real world because her parents didn't put their foot down. She is sweet as pie for the most part. But when she gets in one of her moods, it's kind of scary. Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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Raye - posted on 11/23/2015

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Children need rules and consequences, and those need to be enforced consistently, every time. You and her mom need to get on the same page and both need to be enforcing the rules. It is hard as a step-parent (I'm a step-mom of two), and the bio-parent (her mother, in your case) does have the final say in how to raise her child. But she should be open-minded when you talk to her about your feelings, and why you think things should be different. After all, you both should have the best interests of the child in mind.

When the girl is having a tantrum, the best thing is try to ignore it. She keeps screaming, because she gets attention. If she gets out of Time-Out, be calm and put her right back in and restart the time until she stays the whole time (1 minute per year of age). Let her scream her head off as long as she's sitting still. If she throws up, clean it up and go on about your day. She's probably acting shy around people because she gets more attention that way (people begging her to come to them, or playing peek-a-boo from behind her mom). If she won't go to someone when she's asked once, then she should be ignored. She should have more interaction with other kids, so she can get helpful cues from them on how to act at her age. Does the mother have plans to enroll her in pre-school?

Raye - posted on 11/24/2015

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Well, not having a custody/visitation agreement by court order is a BIG mistake. Even if they worked something out themselves, they should have a judge sign off on it as a protection for all involved. Right now, the father could take the child and not give her back... and it would be legal. The mother would then have to fight in court and it would be a "he said/she said" cluster-f#ck. The police can't intervene because it's a civil matter. If there's a court order, and one parent breaks that agreement, then they can be brought up on charges. They would still have to go to court, but they would have something pre-established that the court can take action against.

The parents really have to think about what is in the best interests of the child. If she's already socially awkward and undisciplined, homeschooling will not help her. The classroom environment usually teaches a child how to interact with many different personality types and learn respect for different authority figures. It teaches them about interactions with themselves, with friends, with other students and teachers, and with life’s adversities and challenges. It is likely that school encourages children to develop loyalties and sentiments that go beyond themselves and their family and link them to a wider social outlook. But still, the parents must make the decision based on what they think is best. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on schooling, they should go to court to have a judge make the ruling. If the parents continue to try to get their way without consequences, trying to impose their will on the other, then it's no wonder the child is following in their footsteps.

If daddy doesn't have rules, then of course she will say she wants daddy when faced with rules at mommy's. If she's putting herself in time-out, then obviously, it's not a suitable punishment. She should go to time-out, and still have to pick up the toys. If she refuses again, then a harsher punishment needs to be found that will make her take notice and prompt her to do what she's supposed to do. Kids need discipline. And if she doesn't get it now, it's only going to get worse and be impossible later on.

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App+7mnejhu - posted on 11/27/2015

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Well, Ryland... I came across your post this am bc I just posted.. I have my 10yr old with my ex-husband and his stepfather has been on the same page as myself.. But I make the final say. I have been divorced for just under 10 yrs. My son has always been very very sweet.

Without a custody agreement in writing from the court (signed by the judge), your wife and her ex-husband could really end up in a pickle where he can do as he pleases based on what you have written. It does not sound as there is 1 "Custodial Parent". As I am my son's Custodial Parent and main residence.

His father does not like to discipline bc that will make him a "bad guy". I on the other hand have always disciplined my son and will continue to do so.. I want him to grow up to be respectful and happy. So far he is an outstanding young boy and can make friends with a tree...

If she throws a tantrum she is to be ignored or re-directed. Distracted. Let her know who is boss and who makes the rules. Parents, not the child. Send her to her room if need be and is she gets sick, she is to clean it up.. I am very sensitive to this topic due to the hands I was dealt and have been dealing with with my ex-husband for so many years...

Once they start to realize what needs to be done, it's to late.

Ryland - posted on 11/23/2015

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Her mom wants to put her in at least half day pre school but her fathers mother (she makes more decisions than the dad does) wants to home school her. He is a stay at home dad and lives with his parents so he gets a lot more time with her, having her home schooled would mean that she would have to be at his house 5 days a week. My girl friend already has an issue with the custody arrangement ( they worked it out themselves, no court order).

She usually does fine with staying in her time out, but it seems like I am the only one who will follow through with putting her in one. She now says that she will put herself in time out instead of saying sorry, picking up her toys, doing something she isn't supposed to do. Her dad doesn't do time outs because he thinks it is what she wants. I tell her no, you don't put yourself in time out, we put you in time out. As soon as we follow through with a punishment she freaks out. She will scream "why are you doing this to me" or "I want daddy", that one really get my girl friend.

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