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Disciplining Step Children

Posted by on Jan. 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM
  • 30 Replies

Say Dad and SM have a young child together, and dad has his daughter from a previous relationship.  Dad and SM have decided that they are a united front in front of the children, even if they disagree behind closed doors.  Ex:  Dad disciplines the younger child that they share, SM (bm in this situation) doesn't agree, but continues to follow through to teach the child that mom and dad are united.  They then discuss the discrepancy behind closed doors. 

How does this transfer into a step child/ step mom relationship?  SK acts up and BD is in the bathroom or out to the store etc.  SM says "That behavior is unacceptable and you need to go to your room until your father gets home" or something along those lines.  If the BM of the SK heard about this and was angry that SK was "disciplined" by SM, would she be in the right?  What about the perspective of the bio child of both parents.  At certain ages, it is not possible to explain the difference effectively.  You can try but...they still see the behavior and learn from it.  I'm talking about a toddler, if that makes a difference.

My real question is should BM be able to say that SM does not have ANY say over my childs behavior in her dads house, regardless of their house rules?  Is that fair to show the younger sibling that its not equal?  Does it matter?

This is all hypothetical.

by on Jan. 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM
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whatIknownow
by Ruby Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 9:54 PM
3 moms liked this

Even a babysitter might say "That behavior is unacceptable and you need to go to your room until your father gets home".  I don't see how the mom would have a problem with it.

jules2boys
by Silver Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 10:01 PM

How old is the older child?  I ask because, even between my boys, they are 11 and 15, there has ALWAYS been a difference in how/when they were punished.  ODS would claim it wasn't 'fair' and I'd offer him a choice. If he wanted things to be 'fair' then we'd revert back to the rules that YDS must abide by, which meant ODS wouldn't be able to go over to his friends house, alone, wouldn't be able to do after school activities like YDS couldn't (because of transportation issues but ODS could go, because he was older and didn't need parental supervision while there, etc.), OR, he could take his punishments differently WHILE still having more freedom that also comes with age.  Each time he argued, he'd decide to take his lumps while keeping his newfound freedoms too.  :)   THAT's one way to circumvent the 'unequal' punishments between siblings, even half siblings, when there's an age difference already. 

As for what BM has a say over in your home...  not much. 

I'm BM.  SM does not punish the boys in her and BFs home.  She does, however, whisper in his ear and BF dishes out the punishment.  I'd be OK if she simply told the boys to go to their room or something (that's usually what she whispers to BF anyway).  To me, that's not a 'punishment' (go to your room until your father returns) so much as removing the child from the situation, like redirecting).  A punishment, IMO, would be SM saying to her Schild 'you can't go to the party now', 'I'm taking away your electronics/cell phone', 'You're not allowed to go to that park anymore with your friends', 'you must write "I will behave" 4000 times', etc.  But, sending a child to his room, IMO, it akin to sending a playmate home if they're misbehaving in my home and won't correct their behavior.  I've sent my kids friends home if they broke a toy (on purpose), threw toys up on the roof, threw them in the neighbors yard, hit my kids (or some other playmate who was over as well), etc.  I've sent kids home.  Same thing as sending a kid to their room if they also live in your home.  It's just removing them from the situation.  I don't send the playmate home and then tell his mother that I've taken the kids cell phone or tablet or gameboy away.  I don't send the kid home and tell his father he can't go to the classmates birthday party now because of what he did.  THAT would be out of line on my part.  But, I can certainly send him home.  If a friend is staying the night, I HAVE sent them to my sons room, if necessary, to let them cool down.  Then I talk to them and see if they can behave or if their parent(s) need to come get them.  Then the parents can choose to punish them or not, but that's not my job. 

BF and I have different rules in our homes.  The boys figure it out. 

lovemyfriend
by Bronze Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 10:26 PM

 well like I said, it is a hypothetical question...So I don't really have to worry about it.  I do think about it happening in the future though.  I thought it would be an interesting topic.  My SD is 9 and my son is almost 3.  She is amazing with him for the most part and her mom hasn't been too upset about anything of this nature.  It was more just a question.  I like your "ulitimatum" though.  I might have to use that!

Quoting jules2boys:

How old is the older child?  I ask because, even between my boys, they are 11 and 15, there has ALWAYS been a difference in how/when they were punished.  ODS would claim it wasn't 'fair' and I'd offer him a choice. If he wanted things to be 'fair' then we'd revert back to the rules that YDS must abide by, which meant ODS wouldn't be able to go over to his friends house, alone, wouldn't be able to do after school activities like YDS couldn't (because of transportation issues but ODS could go, because he was older and didn't need parental supervision while there, etc.), OR, he could take his punishments differently WHILE still having more freedom that also comes with age.  Each time he argued, he'd decide to take his lumps while keeping his newfound freedoms too.  :)   THAT's one way to circumvent the 'unequal' punishments between siblings, even half siblings, when there's an age difference already. 

As for what BM has a say over in your home...  not much. 

I'm BM.  SM does not punish the boys in her and BFs home.  She does, however, whisper in his ear and BF dishes out the punishment.  I'd be OK if she simply told the boys to go to their room or something (that's usually what she whispers to BF anyway).  To me, that's not a 'punishment' (go to your room until your father returns) so much as removing the child from the situation, like redirecting).  A punishment, IMO, would be SM saying to her Schild 'you can't go to the party now', 'I'm taking away your electronics/cell phone', 'You're not allowed to go to that park anymore with your friends', 'you must write "I will behave" 4000 times', etc.  But, sending a child to his room, IMO, it akin to sending a playmate home if they're misbehaving in my home and won't correct their behavior.  I've sent my kids friends home if they broke a toy (on purpose), threw toys up on the roof, threw them in the neighbors yard, hit my kids (or some other playmate who was over as well), etc.  I've sent kids home.  Same thing as sending a kid to their room if they also live in your home.  It's just removing them from the situation.  I don't send the playmate home and then tell his mother that I've taken the kids cell phone or tablet or gameboy away.  I don't send the kid home and tell his father he can't go to the classmates birthday party now because of what he did.  THAT would be out of line on my part.  But, I can certainly send him home.  If a friend is staying the night, I HAVE sent them to my sons room, if necessary, to let them cool down.  Then I talk to them and see if they can behave or if their parent(s) need to come get them.  Then the parents can choose to punish them or not, but that's not my job. 

BF and I have different rules in our homes.  The boys figure it out. 

 

momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 10:32 PM
The stepparents in my situation can redirect like a babysitter does. No discipline - no physical or corporal punishment. I was sure to add that to my CO. I really don't mean to sound harsh but I personally don't care about other people's children. That's for them to work out. I have a daughter and my dh and I have a son together. My son who is nearly 7 has never even noticed or made any comment that it's not fair that daddy doesn't punish sister (half sister). I take care of my dd and we take care of our son. I really don't know why it's so hard for others. It just works for us.
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aeELE
by Bronze Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 10:54 PM

Hmm, my authority in SS's life derives from DH, not BM. That being said, I would not purposely antagonize BM, but if she and DH disagree, I follow DH (of course, I wouldn't even know about it unless DH decided to tell me... Lol). 

I count SS and put him in time out if it gets to that- hardly ever these days. Such a big boy now that he's four! DH would be disappointed if I did anything less. I also count my little cousin (6, lives w my parents, not a typical cousin relationship) and put her in timeout if warranted. Her father (my uncle) is always amazed by how well she listens to me; I spend the majority of my time with her on weekends while he is at work and she's in my mother's care. His style is much different from mine and Mommy's. 

I have no experience with adding a younger BK into the mix, yet.  

jules2boys
by Silver Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 11:12 PM

Yep, ODS15 is really good at being 15 some days (LOL)... and, this shuts him up pretty quickly since YD11 does NOT have the same freedoms ODS does.  When ODS stops to think about things first (ha!) he doesn't even question, but when he does.... Sure kid!  I'll treat you like you're 11 again!  OR, I'll treat YDS like he's 15 and that'll REALLY drive you crazy and be 'unfair'!  LOL 

Quoting lovemyfriend:

 well like I said, it is a hypothetical question...So I don't really have to worry about it.  I do think about it happening in the future though.  I thought it would be an interesting topic.  My SD is 9 and my son is almost 3.  She is amazing with him for the most part and her mom hasn't been too upset about anything of this nature.  It was more just a question.  I like your "ulitimatum" though.  I might have to use that!

Quoting jules2boys:

How old is the older child?  I ask because, even between my boys, they are 11 and 15, there has ALWAYS been a difference in how/when they were punished.  ODS would claim it wasn't 'fair' and I'd offer him a choice. If he wanted things to be 'fair' then we'd revert back to the rules that YDS must abide by, which meant ODS wouldn't be able to go over to his friends house, alone, wouldn't be able to do after school activities like YDS couldn't (because of transportation issues but ODS could go, because he was older and didn't need parental supervision while there, etc.), OR, he could take his punishments differently WHILE still having more freedom that also comes with age.  Each time he argued, he'd decide to take his lumps while keeping his newfound freedoms too.  :)   THAT's one way to circumvent the 'unequal' punishments between siblings, even half siblings, when there's an age difference already. 

Tigress22304
by Platinum Member on Jan. 10, 2014 at 7:46 AM

Even if Bm (in my situation) didn't tell me what was acceptable to her-I would still direct the child to their room/send them to their father.

zannahdeux
by Silver Member on Jan. 10, 2014 at 8:04 AM

I am not sure sending a child to their room until the bio parent comes home to actually deal with the child would be a problem. 

leegirl_jm
by Platinum Member on Jan. 10, 2014 at 8:36 AM

BM can't say that SM has no say over the stepchild's behaviour in SM's home, well she can....but it means nothing unless there is some legal reason otherwise. SM can send the child to their room if they are misbehaving, I wouldn't as DH is present and responsible for SS when he is in our home and he is very stern.

Career Woman, Wife and Mother of Two Children, a Girl and a Boy.

Amy1973Potts
by on Jan. 10, 2014 at 8:46 AM
2 moms liked this
DF and I are both stern and discipline the children equally. In the several years I have been doing this, never had a complaint from BM. If she did, I'd day 'fine...come get your kids and STFU'
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