Roles stepparents have when disciplining the stepchild

Germany
January 8, 2007 12:50pm CST
What do you think? I have a lovely family. We get along very well. I have 3 children; two are biological and one is my stepson. It wasn't always a happy home. I had to use trial and error, but now things are, well 'peachy'. I firmly believe that unless the child is a baby and even a toddler, that the stepparent should NOT be the primary disciplinarian in the household. If there is disagreement about the said child's behavior, the biological parent needs to handle it. Later when alone, the parents need to discuss on what they agree/disagreed with. I also feel that certain limits and discussions be resolved before the stepchild enters the home, to make sure both parents are on the same page. Stepparents need to make the child feel as loved and wanted as their own children, and don't be afraid to use what I call 'soft displine'if the biological parent isn't home - you see misbehavior, and nip it then, discuss the situation, and advise you will inform the parent when they come home. As a stepparent I'm constantly learning. These are not RULES, more like suggestions to make the home a happy and peaceful one. Can anyone offer more suggestions that maybe I didn't mention?
2 people like this
15 responses
• United States
8 Jan 07
I have been a step-parent for over 6 years now, it was a hard thing to get into. We have 2 boys together and my step-son. I treat him the same as I do my boys. There is no difference except age. I discipline according to age. I used to let my hubby discipline my step-son and I would stay out of it. But it back-fired when our sons asked why I didn't do anything when our step-son was bad. So, now I treat him the same.
• Germany
9 Jan 07
That is some good advice, you quoted: I discipline according to age. ****** That is one area where we are using trial and error, because of the age difference. We try to do it fairly but sometimes we are kind of stuck, but we are working on that. That's great that you do that.
@crystal8577 (1470)
• United States
8 Jan 07
My step dad usually left the discipline up to my mom. He did step in on occassion. I was about 9 at the time so I am not sure I would have been very reseptive to him trying to take over.
• Germany
9 Jan 07
Thank you for your imput! It's good to hear from people who are in the position of the step son/daughter. I hear that often from my friends that they don't like the stepparent telling them what to do, or stepping in like they are the real father. That is a slow slow process, especially around 9yrs. Those who raise their stepchildren when they are very young (like baby thru 5 years) have a definite advantage. But I think if parents are communicating with their children about the stepparent, and everyone works together, it'll work out.
• United States
8 Jan 07
I feel for you!! I am not a step parent. My fiance and I have 2 little girls and I have a son from my previous marriage. We have always tried to make our family unit comfortable and loving to everyone involved. It is hard when I fight with my fiance. It is so hard not to make comments like MY son!! One of the things that made me the happiest is when my son called my fiance Dad. My son has a relationship with his dad, so it is okay that he has two dads. On the other hand it was hard when I told my son that he could call his step mom "mom" But I felt that it was the right thing to do.
• Germany
9 Jan 07
That is great that his son calls him Dad. I also tell my stepson that it's okay to call me mom, it's just as okay if you don't. Every once in a while he'll call me mom, especially when he's in a good mood. Feels good, but he knows I'm not trying to replace is mom.
@bjone6 (348)
• United States
8 Jan 07
I have a step-son (6) and a new-born (2 1/2 months). We try to create a single family unit all the time, even though he has a different last name. We try to make the baby a bonding tool instead of vice-versa. We make sure that we use words like brothers and family a lot. I want equal discipline. I'm pretty strict and conservative while my wife is lax and liberal. We make a pretty good team; however, I'm usually the bad guy and she is the good guy. That's how I was raised up and it's done me well. Sometimes I get jealous at the roles we play... I wouldn't mind some after-fight cuddles sometimes.
• Germany
8 Jan 07
That's funny...I'm also the strict and conservative while my husband is the relaxed one. My kids, stepson (11), the other two (5 and 2yrs) are raised also making sure they call each other brother/sister. When people ask me, I say 'my son' unless a specific question is asked that I don't know. Of course when I get upset I'll say to my husband 'you need to get YOUR son, or else....' it's not right, but thank goodness it's not often. We try to open the communication lines more so that my stepson knows the living situation, and why his mother and father aren't together...if anything is bothering him I let him know he can also talk to me, which he does sometimes. The 3 kids are very close, and it's sad b/c my stepson will be going back to the states in the summer, and my younger ones won't have the older brother to hang with anymore. We are hoping to improve that later.
@wahmoftwo (1298)
• United States
9 Jan 07
I too think that the biological parent should be the primary disicplinarian. I am not a step-parent, but my husband is to my daughter from a previouse marriage. He has been around since she was two. They are very close and while he does correct her he always checks with me. It has worked very well so far and she is 10.
• United States
9 Jan 07
I think it sounds like you are doing a great job. My husband has a step mom and step dad. Their step dad never tried to replace their father but was their friend. But my husband and sister in law knew if they were in trouble that their step dad would side firmly with their mom. He didn't do the punishing. They respected him so much. The step mom on the other hand came in and did nothing but speak horribly about their real mom. She said the real mom didn't do anything. She tried punishing the two that belonged to her husband and going over what their dad said. They didn't respect her. She caused a lot of problems between the kids and their dad. I'm sure deep down she wanted the respect they had for their dad and mom but you know even that is earned. She really fit the role of evil step mom. Fortunatly, she has changed and I think realized that wasn't effective. Plus her children from her first marriage, gained a step mom and she realized that she was in the wrong for the things she did. Plus, she'll tell her husband that he isn't allowed to punish her children..he doesn't. He is their friend but he is stern if they do something that should be done but he doesn't dish out the punishment. Being a parent is hard enough sometimes but being a good step parent takes a lot of work and I'm sure in some families it is hard work!
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
9 Jan 07
Well I am a step mom but my stepdaughter is only 10 yrs younger than me (which puts her in her mid 20's) and she isnt a part of our lives..however I have two children of my own from a previous relationship...When it comes to disciplining my kids I am the ONLY one and I demand it that way...Their stepdad of course is allowed to scold them and we do discuss things and thats the same with their dad when he was alive however his woman wasnt allowed to at all and actually made the mistake of threatening my son with a mouthful of hot sauce once (ONCE)....but when it comes to the final decision its me that desides and nobody else.. Ppl may and do in fact think thats not right or fair to their father and stepfather but the reality in our situation is this...When their dad was alive, he wasnt consistant in their lives...he was a come and go father more often than not...my husband and I have had our outs and seperated for a time a few yrs back and there is no guarentee that we'll be together forever so I'm the only one that is/has and always will be there which is why I have it the way it is....
@sbeauty (5870)
• United States
9 Jan 07
They always say that being First Lady is the most demanding unpaid job in the US, but I tend to think that step-parenting is right up there. I have been the step-parent of 4 for over 30 years. My step-daughter was step-parent of 4, and my daughter is stepmother to 1. All three of us have admitted that if we had it to do over again, we wouldn't. There is never an easy way to go about it. No matter how well you treat the stepchild, you're going to get accused of favoring someone else. Every time you disagree, the child is going to either say "I'm going to tell my Dad", or "You aren't my mother. You can't tell me what to do." All I can tell you is to do your best. Hopefully you'll have a cooperative biological parent that let's you have some say in the child's life. In my case, the biological mother let the kids run wild, let them all drop out of school, and never cared what happened to them. As non-custodial parents, all we could do was sit back and wish we could do more.
@circuit (347)
• Pakistan
9 Jan 07
stepchildern should be treated well!!!
• Australia
9 Jan 07
Well my 2 girls have a step father, when we became a family their step father treated them as he would like to be treated... he treated them as though they were his biological kids...we didnt have any problems with the disciplinary part as if they were doing something wrong and my partner pulled them up about it ,but it was talked about on a level they understood...i thought there would be problems with that side, but it all just worked out so well... :)
• United States
9 Jan 07
I am also a stepparent and I discipline all of our kids. I feel that if you don't discipline them when they do something wrong then it will cause two things to happen. first your children will feel as if the other child does nothing wrong in your eyes and second the child will learn that you will never discipline him so why should he listen to you. Our children have learned that even though I am not a replacement for their mother thy still have to obey and respect me.
@katyzzz (2902)
• Australia
9 Jan 07
That's wonderful, to hear about someone getting it right for a change, so many get it wrong!
@MissGia (955)
• United States
9 Jan 07
Hi, i am very interested in this topic because im with a man i really love and he seems to be set on me..so i believe we will be together for a long time. i dont know if we will ever be married, hes been married twice and i think he just wants to settle down with me..maybe marry later on down the road. He has 3 kids: 2 boys from his last marriage and a daughter (who is only 7 years younger than me) which was befoer his first marriage while in highschool. The boys are 8 and 9 and she is 14. Sometimes i get left with them..usually if im there and he has to work i watch them. I only intervene with the boys if they are arguing or hitting each other..i tell them to stop and if they dont i'll tell their father when he gets home.. Thats as far as i'll go. If they make a mess and dont clean it up, i tell them to clean it up. I am the one who cleans my boyfriends place on a normal basis, so i think i have a say so to tell them to pick up after themselves. I will only punish them if My boyfriend gives me the say so..i only do what i see as necessary
• United States
9 Jan 07
I have two children, and my oldest is from a previous marriage. My current husband assumes the role as being her real father because her real father when we divorced turned his back on her till she turned 5. I know, how can a grown 30 something year old man do that, but he did. He said he wanted to wait till she was old enough and he didnt have to change diapers pullups and train on the potty.. But to make a long story short, my current husband disciplines her and takes the role of making sure she stays in line. I also do, but it comes with out consequence when he takes part because she doesnt get sassy as she does with me. When he says jump she says how high, with me on the other hand, i have to say it more than one. But our family works out pretty good, and things run smoothly that way. I think when a step parent doesnt get nervous about helping to raise a child who isnt their biological children, it makes the relationship between the children better, and the family runs smoother.
@shellyrios (1215)
• United States
8 Jan 07
We make rules for everyone in our blended household. My kids' stepfather disciplines when I'm not there, but we both share the duties and responsibilities together, no one is a primary disciplinarian. My sons' biological father is not around so we make it work in our family and have a family meetings too, if someone feels mistreated or that things are being justified fairly. It is hard work but you work at it to make it work for everyone's benefit.