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Disciplining a child that isnt mine???

My ex and I are back together after being apart for 6 years. We have a 6yr old son together and he has a 2yr old daughter with another woman, in which he has full custody. She's the cutest little girl, and she's a little angel for me when it's just me and her together. But when daddy is home she won't listen to me at all! And screams at me when I try to help her with something she obviously cant do herself. Her dad wants me to treat her like I treat our son, like my own, and discipline her the same. Especially since her mother rarely sees her, and is in and out of jail. Im more than willing to be her mother figure, but im hesitant to discipline her since she's not actually mine. On top of all of this, my son thinks he's the boss, and is always telling his sister what to do, or picks on her for no reason, which results in lots of screaming and crying, and a big headache for daddy and I. How would you deal with this whole situation? Disciplining techniques? Advice? Anything?!

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:43 AM on Oct. 9, 2013 in General Parenting

Answers (11)
  • Do you mean like a time out? Even a babysitter would do that, I guess I am not getting exactly what you mean. Your son will get used to having his sister around, but at the same time if he is mean to her, put him in time out, or take away something, reward him and her when they do something good.
    For example, Mary said no screaming, she screams put her in time out, for 2 minutes. She doesn't scream, let her fingerpaint, when you don't scream we get to do fun things.
    Your older hits her, put him in time out, treats her nice for a few hours, take them to the park. If you are talking about spanking a 2 year old that has gone through this much crap in her young life, well let's just say it wouldnt' be a very good idea.

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 10:51 AM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • I think at her age you should be okay just being 'the mom'. She'll see that you treat her and your son exactly the same way. If she was an older child I'd say take it more slowly, but at 2 years old, it won't be any stretch for her to learn that you're the parent and she's the child.

    Older siblings tend to think they're in charge of younger siblings lives, especially when there's a big age difference. I think it's just a matter of firmly directing your son that he's not her parent when he tries to control her, and if he's mean, time out or lose a privilege.

    good luck Mama!

    Answer by ohwrite at 10:58 AM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • I think if the father has given you the green light to discipline her in the same way you would the son you have together, then it is ok to discipline her accordingly.
    My 6yr old, soon to by 7yr old thinks he is the boss of my 4 year old nephew and 1yr old son, it's the age.

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 11:10 AM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • shes 2, you all have her full time you have been given the go ahead from dad but really at 2 years old what more are you going to do than be stearn and give her a time out which anyone caring for her would do.

    just keep reminding brother that she has parents and he is not one of them, if he bosses her you boss him into time out!

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 11:15 AM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • She's little, and from the sound of it, she'll be pretty much living in your house as your kid. I'd take the green light from your husband and treat her, in both matters of love and discipline, as your own. Otherwise, she and your son are both going to see the difference and it will lead to nothing but trouble.

    Answer by Ballad at 11:18 AM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • On top of all of this, my son thinks he's the boss

    That's typical of older siblings. My husband's sister (oldest) did this, my son (oldest) does this to HIS sister all the time. Just step in and tell your son that he is NOT the parent, he is NOT in charge, and it is NOT his place to boss his sister around. You will have to repeat yourself a million times, but he will, eventually, get it.

    As for disciplining a child that isn't yours, that's really something you and your SO need to work out and come to an agreement on. The two of you need to be a united front for both kids.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 11:28 AM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • Rules are rules. Why would the rules apply differently to her than they do to your child? Other than the age difference and expectations of children their age, you should discipline her like you would if she were biologically yours.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 12:16 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • YEA! She is only 2! How do you think you are going to discipline her? You are NOT going to spank a 2 year old!!! Just like the other ladies said, just a firm No. Of course she wants her Dad & listens to him more. He's been her Mom! She is a little human being no matter who her Mom really is. Time will have to pass for her to be comfortable with you. So be calm.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 2:22 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • You two adults need to agree on what is, and is not, allowed and be a united front. Once she gets that message it should be easier. Make sure your son knows he is loved and has not been replaced. Lots of times the youngest gets so much attention that the older ones feel left out. You can certainly let him know he is not the boss, but make sure he gets the attention he needs.

    Answer by silverthreads at 2:32 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • I think it's pretty normal for 2 year olds to want to do things themselves, and sometimes to be upset about adult "interference."
    You don't have to "discipline" (punish?) for that. If she's upset (screams at you), reflect back your understanding of her feelings. She's objecting! So reflect back that she didn't want you to do XYZ (she wanted to cut the apple but you didn't let her, etc.) Just acknowledge the reality she's upset about. This is what will help her eventually to "use words" rather than scream--if you "get" the communication & reflect it back to show your understanding. When you do this you're showing acceptance for her feelings and at the same time you're modeling more mature expression of the same feelings! That's how little ones grow emotionally.

    Why doesn't she listen to you when Dad is around? How are you talking/what are you saying?
    Maybe you mean she won't mind you, gets upset, or ignores your instructions?

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:39 AM on Oct. 10, 2013

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