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Do Step Parents (or those engaged to parents) have the right to discipline the children?

My husband and I each have children from previous marriages, we have house rules which my husband and I choose together, however, we take the responsibility of disciplining our own children. We agree with the law, our children have two parents not four.

My ex is allowing his fiancée to punish my children during his visits. They are 4 and 2, I have a serious issue with her spanking my children, putting them in time out, yelling at them etc. She is not suppose to be alone with the children (part of our court order), I see no reason for her to discipline my children.

Am I wrong? What gives her the right to punish my children?


Asked by Anonymous at 6:51 PM on Jan. 18, 2011 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (42)
  • As a child, I was in this same situation. I went to my dads house on the weekend, and while there whatever girlfriend, wife etc was living there at the time, was allowed to discipline my sister and I. Im sure if my mom knew the extent of some of the "punishing" that went on, she would have blew her lid. My step-dad, also has a daughter who would visit us at my moms house during the summer. My stepdad worked during the day, my mom as a teacher did not. My mom expected my step sister to follow the rules ( she never did!) she enforced them to the best of her ability, but she always left it to my step dad to do any disciplining etc when he came home from work. As a product of this...I really think that there are TWO parents...not FOUR. The mom or dad should be the person doing the discipling. It was a terrible, demeaning, confusing time and experience in my life.

    Answer by Tarrar at 7:03 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • I'm a step parent and yes I have every right to punish my stepson he is under my roof . If he breaks my rules he will be punished just like my kids would be. His dad (my husband is deployed) so I won't just let him get away with everything because he's not here and even if he is here I will still do the punishment. You wouldn't be called a step MOM if you weren't there mom in some way.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 6:54 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • My ex husband and I both agree that our children are to listen to and respect our spouses (our son's step parents). If our son does not listen or respect the rules then they will be punished. Whether it is the parent or step parent, rules are rules and our son is to abide by them. I understand you not wanting her to spank them, but she needs to be able to discipline them in some way while they are in her care. Nothing wrong wrong with time outs, grounding, or stern talking to's.

    Answer by worriedmommy600 at 6:59 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • She doesnt have the right to do that. I would write a letter asking him to cease and desist allowing this to happen and why. They arent married, she is just his fiancee and tomorrow for all you know they could break up and she would amount to some random woman spanking your young kids. She has absolutely zero legal right to strike your children.

    Answer by gemgem at 6:53 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • First of all, the statement "my kids" shows you do not accept the fact your kids are half their father's? I guess you just need to step back and look at it in a different light... does your SO punish your ex's kids? HOWEVER, I do not believe in spanking, yelling at kids that are NOT yours, and good that you have it in the court order??? I guess she needs to be able to disapline NOT punish??? And yes there is a difference!!! If my husband and I split, I would need to respect the fact his SO has as much rights as mine? But spanking, abuse, etc is not disapline and NEVER allowed

    Answer by MommaClark3 at 6:56 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • If she is not supposed to be alone with them, then your ex should be disciplining the kids. If she is discipline them because he is not around--you have a whole other problem.
    BUT--either way, there is no way in hell she should be spanking your children. If spanking is a form of discipline that you and your ex agree on--HE should be implementing it, not her.

    Answer by layh41407 at 6:55 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • Then take it to court if she isn't allowed to be around the children. If the children are breaking the rules while she's in charged then she can put them in time out. Why teach your kids its okay to walk all over their future step mom? If you have step children do you want them misbehaving and walking all over you? Probably not.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 6:59 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • I think it is ok....but in your situation if she is not even suposed to be alone with them then she should not be disaplining them.

    Answer by Shelii at 7:01 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • i am all for step-parents not being walked all over and their step-kids learning to respect them as well. my husband is not biologically related to my oldest daughter - yet we have two younger ones of our own together. we all live under the same roof and my husband is the only man my daughter knows as daddy because her bio-dad removed himself from the picture years ago. so our situation is a little different. however, my husband doesn't spank her, or our other daughters, because we don't spank except in cases where our children are being dangerous like about to run into a busy parking lot or something. he has never had to or came close to spanking my oldest though. but - he does *discipline* her. how else is it going to work, if he's able to discipline the 2 children we do have, but not her? she would never respect him if he wasn't able to. he's able to get his "i mean business" point across without becoming physical.

    Answer by tnm786 at 7:05 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • Like mommy said they are called step MOM for a reason. You just don't marry the man, you marry his kids as well. I certainty don't want my step sons walking all over me so yes I do punish them when they break the house rules.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:05 PM on Jan. 18, 2011