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Step-daughter dilemma

I have a 4 year old stepdaughter. She has these awful tantrums when her dad is gone. She'll throw a fit saying " My mom says I don't have to listen to you" or "My mom doesn't make me do that at home." I am not willing to argue with a 4 year old, but I don't have a response. I love her very much and am there whenever she needs me, but anything we try to do with her goes down the drain when she goes home to mom. How do we correct these tantrums and behaviors. Mom does not agree with anything we believe. i.e. We think she should sleep in her room at night. Her mom says she needs to sleep with her cuz she gets scared. I am up to my ears in frustration....HELP!!!

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 1:51 AM on Dec. 2, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (7)
  • Oh, wow. You just described my life with my 4 yr old stepson. Ok. I sat down with him and asked him a few questions while playing legos, kind of to keep him occupied so he didn't realize he was answering. Things like "Do you know that I'm Mommy, too?" or "Do you think I'm your real Mommy?" You'd be amazed at the answers. The tantrums stopped when we had him stand at a wall with his nose on it until he could be nice. He had to say one good thing about "mum-mum" (me) before he could start playing again. Later he would have to tell me why he though I was bad for him. If it's because Mommy said so, I would explain that he lives here, not her. It matters what he thinks, not what Mommy thinks. The conflicting parenting...try to let her know that having two homes with different patterns (rules) means she has a choice and double the fun. She can have two lives with people that love her. I really hope this helps.
    DRCMAC

    Answer by DRCMAC at 1:57 AM on Dec. 2, 2008

  • I'd love another step-mom to chat with. I see you asked anonymously. If you'd like to talk more, please feel free to visit my page. I'd love to compare theories. :) Oh, and using a different name for you instead of "Mom" or "Mommy" makes a world of difference. :)
    DRCMAC

    Answer by DRCMAC at 2:00 AM on Dec. 2, 2008

  • I think that the above poster had great ideas but I don't think that you should tell someone else's child that you are their mom too. If they want to call you mom, that is their choice.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:02 AM on Dec. 2, 2008

  • It's confusing for a young child having two homes, ecspecially when those parents control the children in different manners. Talk to her, I agree with the PP that you should play a game with her and ask her questions so she doesn't feel like she's being interrogated by you. Chances are if you ask outright she'll go home and tell her mom and the issues will be worse the next time she comes over. Your SO needs to enforce that when at your house she does need to listen to both adults. Young children should be taught to obey adults no matter who they are parent or not. The hardest part is trying to learn how to overcome what her mother is teaching her.
    bubblycute

    Answer by bubblycute at 2:02 AM on Dec. 2, 2008

  • ....(CONT) ... She is taught to obey her parents and if her mom is telling her she doesn't have to listen she's going to get confused when you guys start telling her she has to. Is there any way to work with the mother at all about this? She needs to be an adult about the situation and realize that her childish antics that she is using on her daughter are more harmful then anything.
    bubblycute

    Answer by bubblycute at 2:02 AM on Dec. 2, 2008

  • I think your hubby needs to step in more, and it's going to be hard on him at first. But he needs to get it established with his daughter that he's a parent, and this is his house. She has rules at one house, and a different set at another. But he really should be the one doing most of the 'parenting'. That's was sucks about having a split up family.
    It's the parents job to teach thier child to respect and obey other adults.
    It is not the other adult's job to teach kids to respect them.
    McGregor

    Answer by McGregor at 8:04 AM on Dec. 2, 2008

  • You need to clearly define the rules at your house...tell her that she and her Mommy will set the rules at their house and you, her, and Daddy will work together to set rules at your house. If you actually include her in the development of the rules, then she will be more likely to comply. Post the rules you establish up on the wall somewhere (use some pictures to remind her what the rules are, like a child sleeping alone...for "everyone sleeps in their own bed/room", etc) Don't address the comments she throws at you about "Mommy says", just ignore them and refer her back to your house rules. The last thing you want to do is create a contest between you and the bio mom.....Bio-Mom almost always wins.
    Kimebs

    Answer by Kimebs at 9:07 AM on Dec. 2, 2008

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