How do you discipline when you are a step parent?
I have asked quite a few people this question and have gotten quite a few different answers. Having only been a step parent for 2 years this is and was a question that I have always asked people. When it comes to discipline, depending on the situation it sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. In some cases I was "obeyed" so to speak and in other cases the response I was given was "you can't tell me what to do". Mostly that would happen when my partner wasn't home. This issue seemed to cause a lot of stress and anxiety to the point where my stepchild didn't really want to stay with us as much as they used to. After about 2 weeks of this I just felt so guilty that the whole reason she didn't want to come here was all because of me. I told my partner that I really didn't want him to end up resenting me as I am the reason they aren't coming over as much as usual. To my surprise it wasn't really bothering him as much as they are 17 and they know that they shouldn't speak to me or treat me that way, especially when the whole incident stemmed from cleaning their room and me taking away the weekend trip they were to go on with their Dad. A few days later the 3 of us sat down and tried to come to a decision. My partner and I had already agreed that when disciplining them, we would do it together. At first things were a little tense and they only wanted me to be able to only discipline them for not cleaning their room and I was not allowed to take anything away from them either. I told my partner that I didn't feel it was right for a 17 year old to dictate to us what I could and could not discipline them for. We all agreed that a little bit of respect needs to be given on both sides and they began to see that if there was something that they would need to be disciplined for whether it was with me or him, we would do it together. I asked them later if they were ok with all of this and they said they were and they knew that at some point their Dad would get mad at them for something and they knew if I was there at least I could keep the peace between the 2 of them and the punishment may not be as bad.
I don't know why but hearing them say that to me made me feel better. It was so nice to know that they hoped I would take their side or even defend them fi the situation called for it. It may not seem like much to the average person but at that point I really felt like we had overcame this together.
By Lisa Clifford