Should Stepparents Discipline? – Positive Parenting Solutions


When introducing kids to a brand new household dynamic, one factor is for certain…

Kids will naturally check the waters.

Whether it’s including a new baby into the combination, a keep-at-residence father or mother re-getting into the workforce, or going by way of the method of divorce–irrespective of the circumstances, adjustments like these rock everybody’s worlds (kids and adults alike). And when worlds are shaken that a lot, pushback is to be anticipated.

Still, nothing can fairly examine to the unconventional shift that happens when two households mix collectively to turn out to be one. 

If this can be a enterprise you’re embarking on, you recognize that navigating the murky waters of stepparenting isn’t for the faint of coronary heart. From attending to know your new stepchildren to establishing your house in an already-shaped household, it might really feel like an uphill battle lies earlier than you. And an extended one at that.

In truth, bestselling writer, therapist, and blended household skilled Ron L. Deal from Smart Stepfamilies says, “The average blended family needs between five and seven years to merge and form a shared identity.”

Naturally, you could have a whole bunch of questions operating by way of your thoughts proper now. But I’m keen to guess there’s one query that stands out above all others. And it’s a query stepparents have been asking for years…

Am I allowed to self-discipline my stepchildren?

As a parenting educator, I hear this query…quite a bit! Sometimes it comes from parents taking my FREE PARENTING WEBINAR. Other instances it’s introduced up by those that have already signed up for the 7-Step Parenting Success System® course.

While I’d love to offer you a simple, minimize-and-dry reply, this can be a sophisticated subject. And studying learn how to navigate this new territory is only one of many hurdles blended households have to beat.

But simply because it’s sophisticated doesn’t imply it’s unattainable! 

If you genuinely wish to know in the event you can self-discipline your new kids, the reply is sure–however solely alongside the right instruments that nurture your budding relationship. 

However, earlier than we get to the relationship constructing, the primary important step is to know what self-discipline even means

So let’s focus on…

What is Discipline?

From a Positive Parenting Solutions perspective, the principle objective of self-discipline ought to all the time be to convey out the very best in your kids! Sure, they might exhibit much less-than-best behaviors, however they’re not much less-than-best kids. 

They solely should be proven how to behave correctly (with you main the way in which).

Now, this doesn’t imply you need to be a very permissive or strictly punitive stepparent. In truth, I don’t advocate both of these choices. Instead, search to correctly practice your stepchildren. When misbehaviors come up, they will study and develop from the expertise. 

Of course, parents and stepparents alike typically discover themselves caught, complicated two very totally different ideas: punishment and self-discipline.

To be clear, when discussing self-discipline, we’re NOT speaking about punishment. 

Dr. Jane Nelsen–the mom of Positive Discipline–finest-described punishment as something that causes a baby to really feel blame, disgrace, or ache. It depends on utilizing destructive emotions to finish destructive habits, which merely doesn’t work.

Our job as parents (and stepparents) isn’t to scare or threaten our kids into behaving correctly, giving them no understanding of why their habits was mistaken within the first place. Our job is to information, mildew, and instruct them on how to behave. 

It’s coaching! And it really works wonders, now and for years to return.

So how are you going to self-discipline with out moving into punishment territory?

Start with clear communication…

Kids have to know what habits is appropriate and what isn’t. But how are they purported to know if it isn’t clearly communicated to them? 

Once you and your partner are in lock-step settlement on your loved ones’s guidelines, convey the kids into the dialog throughout a household assembly. Allow them a say within the technique of determining which guidelines are presently working and which aren’t. 

You could also be shocked to search out out that disobedience isn’t the problem in any respect! Plus, the extra you get their purchase-in, the extra they’ll be keen to cooperate throughout the household guidelines. 

Of course, sure misbehaviors have penalties, and your kids have to know what these penalties are beforehand. But getting everybody on the identical web page rule-smart could also be your ticket to avoiding penalties altogether. 

How superb is that!

Also your self-discipline must also come from a spot of kindness and understanding. 

When misbehaviors come up, don’t blindly react within the warmth of the second. Be intentional about the way you select to self-discipline your stepkids (and in step with how your accomplice feels concerning the scenario). Your ideas and actions ought to all the time be grounded in how you’ll assist them make higher selections down the highway. 

This doesn’t imply backing off and letting them stroll throughout you. You will be firm in your decision whereas nonetheless respecting your stepchild. Not solely will they reply higher to such a self-discipline, however you’ll see the lengthy-time period effectiveness as time goes on.

Now that you recognize what it means to self-discipline, let’s put it into motion. How are you able to, as a stepparent, self-discipline your stepchildren? 

Build a Relationship First

Just as you might be nonetheless constructing a relationship along with your new partner, your new stepchildren can even want a few of your time and a spotlight. During that honeymoon interval, self-discipline will most likely be the very last thing in your thoughts; however I can guarantee you the subject will ultimately come up.

And if there’s one factor I can promise you, it’s this:

If there isn’t any connection between you and your stepchildren, your makes an attempt to self-discipline them will imply nothing.

Experts agree that till some form of familial bond is shaped along with your stepchildren, they’ll possible have a tough time accepting you as an authority determine and should push again towards any disciplinary makes an attempt. 

This is why it’s important to deal with constructing a robust, optimistic relationship from day one. And among the finest methods to determine a wholesome relationship is to join along with your stepkids by way of high quality one-on-one time collectively.

Start a MIND, BODY AND SOUL TIME® Schedule

Nothing tells a baby, “You’re so important to me,” fairly like making particular time every day to pour your consideration into them.

Here at Positive Parenting Solutions, we confer with this as a MIND, BODY AND SOUL TIME® schedule. That’s 10-15 (distraction-free) minutes of your day spent doing one thing they wish to do.  

This might be taking part in your stepdaughter’s favourite board recreation or listening alongside as your stepson tells you about every of his 500 Pokémon playing cards. As lengthy as you enable them to decide on the exercise (inside motive), the probabilities are really infinite! 

You’ll get to know them. They’ll get to know you. And you’ll each find yourself with a stronger, extra established reference to each other.

Amy McCready quote

Encourage, Encourage, Encourage!

Another implausible relationship-strengthening device is using encouragement.

Like many nicely-which means stepparents, your first intuition could also be to dole out the reward. 

Umm, yeah, Amy. I would like them to love me, in spite of everything! 

I do know, I do know! It’s so tempting. But pump these brakes only a bit as a result of fixed reward does little or no to assist your relationship in the long term. 

In truth, it might probably even result in extra important issues down the highway.

That’s as a result of reward fosters a necessity for exterior motivation–that fixed want for others to affirm their worth and self-price. And the extra reward your stepkids obtain, the extra they’ll crave it.

Instead, deal with empowering them by way of encouraging phrases.

For instance…

Instead of claiming, “Wow, bud, you are such a good athlete! Your team couldn’t have won without you,” strive, “I know we’re just getting to know each other, but I can tell you work hard at your sport. I bet it feels awesome to be such a great team player.”

This sort of encouragement tells him you care whereas additionally permitting him to replicate on how his actions make him really feel. 

free encouraging words download

Starting a brand new marriage gives a superb alternative for you, your partner, and your kids to deal with constructing nice relationships with each other from the very starting. 

Just keep in mind, connection is way extra vital than correction. Focus on constructing the relationship first, then determine how finest to deal with the disciplinary motion.

That mentioned, listed here are 4 vital issues to recollect when weighing self-discipline in your stepchildren.

1. Consider Their Age

New marriages have an effect on kids of all ages. But how your stepchildren react to you would be closely influenced by how outdated they’re while you first come into the household. 

For instance, youthful kids are likely to push again with their actions, like tantrums or hitting–whereas older kids typically achieve this with their phrases. Just ask any stepparent who has ever been on the receiving finish of this dreaded remark: “You’re not my real dad/mom!” 

Do these phrases harm? Of course. But attempt to perceive the place the cruel phrases and actions are coming from with out getting defensive. More typically than not, a deeper subject lies beneath the floor.

We know that kids have a deeply rooted have to really feel energy and management over their very own lives. But they will’t management their parents’ relationships. Just think about how frustratingly powerless the scenario makes them really feel…and attempt to empathize.

It’s additionally vital to notice that youthful kids usually have an easier time adjusting to new authority figures than older kids. As kids develop up and transfer into the teenage years, they naturally transfer on to resisting even their organic parents’ authority. 

So don’t take it personally in the event that they do the identical with you. Teens and toddlers don’t act the identical approach (often…), so that you shouldn’t anticipate to self-discipline them the identical approach both.

2. Consider Their Perspective

Your stepchildren have been a part of a household earlier than you got here onto the scene. It can be unfair to faux that wasn’t the case, particularly in the event that they’re nonetheless grieving the loss of the family they knew earlier than.

Before you even take into consideration your position as a disciplinarian of their life, take time to think about life from their perspective.

How should it really feel to see their father or mother romantically concerned with another person? What was their household dynamic earlier than you entered into it? 

No matter your intentions, there’s an excellent probability they might see you because the “bad guy.” Not due to something you could have accomplished, however merely due to the position you’re moving into.

And it’s okay for them to really feel this fashion. It’s not your job to repair something. It’s simply your job to know the place they’re coming from.

But how are you going to try this?

Outside a MIND, BODY AND SOUL TIME® schedule, one other implausible approach to study your new kids and achieve their belief is to implement common Family Meetings.

Think of your new household as a begin-up enterprise–one you wish to succeed! Just nearly as good companies succeed when each worker works collectively, so does a household unit.

Pick a time every week (ideally the identical time each week) to sit down down collectively. This is your probability to speak as a household about struggles, brainstorm options, and even apply a number of group-constructing workouts. 

You’ll by no means have the ability to really perceive your stepchildren’s views with out first getting them to open up. And the Family Meeting gives the proper grounds to do exactly that!

Pro Tip: Positive Parenting Solutions Members can overview Step 6 for extra particulars on learn how to run the perfect, handiest Family Meeting.

3. Consider Your Spouse

You and your new partner are a group. But within the early phases of getting into your stepchildren’s lives, it’s finest to go away the disciplining to your partner. Not solely will your stepchildren acknowledge this father or mother as considered one of authority, however they’ll additionally really feel most protected and comfy underneath the mild steerage of their mother or dad.

Family psychologist Patricia Papernow means that stepparents who take the time to determine a basis of mutual respect and affection are setting themselves up for fulfillment as a result of later disciplinary motion might be met with much less resentment from the stepchild.  

This can be a superb time so that you can study out of your partner. Take word of how they work together with their kids, what habits battles appear to be commonest, and what steps they take to encourage higher habits of their kids.   

Don’t be afraid to ask your partner All. The. Questions. (Seriously, simply ask!)

Questions like…

How do you like to self-discipline the kids? 

What areas of self-discipline do you’re feeling most strongly about? 

What are your absolute “no-nos” on the subject of self-discipline?

Are you a robust proponent of optimistic parenting? If not, are you keen to get on board with that? 

In the tip, your consideration of your partner, their opinions, and their experience might be a driving drive in your personal success as a stepparent. Plus, they’ll really feel higher realizing how devoted you might be to parenting their kids likewise.

And don’t fear that you simply’re placing all of the parenting burden in your partner. As your relationship along with your stepchildren warms and develops, you’ll have the ability to tackle extra of the load.

But to begin, you deal with connection. Let your partner deal with correction.

free parenting class

4. Consider Their Other Parent

If you’re actively co-parenting along with your stepchild’s organic mom or father, you’ll want to think about them a vital a part of the equation relating to when and the way you self-discipline. You, your partner, and their ex should be on the identical web page.

Make it considered one of your prime priorities to incorporate the opposite father or mother in your parenting conversations. Consider how they run their family compared to the way you run yours, and take into consideration what these variations may imply in your stepkids.

For instance… 

Do you and your partner keep away from paying your kids for doing chores, however their different father or mother has no subject with it? Are you sticklers for a strict bedtime routine, but it surely’s not a precedence at their different home?

And what concerning the subject we’re right here for–self-discipline? What varieties of disciplinary approaches are they snug with you taking over as a stepparent? 

While you possibly can’t management precisely how the opposite father or mother runs their home (as they will’t run yours), it could be smart to debate the main points and get on the identical web page about as many of those key points as attainable.

Not solely will you be working to supply rather more stability in your stepchildren, however you’ll additionally give your stepkids much less motive to match one set of parents to the opposite.

Now you could be considering, That’s a lot simpler mentioned than accomplished, Amy, however you don’t know who I’m coping with. 

And you could be proper. But there are parents on the market who’ve been in your similar footwear and risen above the battle victoriously.

In truth, of their e-book, No One’s the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan For the Mother and Stepmother Relationship, Jennifer Newcomb Marine and Carol Maine clarify how they utterly reworked their co-parenting relationship and even grew to become shut mates.

Similarly, within the e-book Blended: The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, writer Mashonda Tifrere makes use of her private expertise co-parenting along with her ex-husband Swizz Beatz and his new spouse, Alicia Keys, to create a information for serving to households mix in a wholesome approach.

The fact is kids want each units of parents fully engaged of their lives. You might not get pleasure from or get alongside along with your partner’s ex, however your stepchildren love them. And they clearly love your stepchildren.

Do your finest to respect the opposite father or mother’s needs, contain them in your selections every time applicable, and above all else, let grownup points keep grownup points

When you give your co-father or mother the consideration and respect you’d need for your self, you’ll extra possible see the identical in return. 

CTA: Positive Parenting Solutions members, try the Battle-Tested Blueprint: Divorce & Parenting Apart with Christina McGhee, MSW. Here you’ll discover surefire methods to take the effort out of co-parenting.

Final Thoughts

Parenting is difficult. Full cease.

But stepparenting is on a completely totally different degree of problem. So if that is the life enviornment you end up presently in (or on the brink of enter), take coronary heart! You are most definitely not alone.

At Positive Parenting Solutions, we’re not simply right here to assist the common father or mother, the organic father or mother, or the proper father or mother. We’re right here to assist each father or mother! 

As you embark on this new journey in parenthood, I thanks for taking the time to think about our strategy, and I want you the easiest of luck in your journey.

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to my Newsletter:

Sign up for my e-newsletter for parenting ideas that will help you create a happier residence and turn out to be the father or mother you all the time wished to be. Plus, while you subscribe, I’ll additionally ship you a duplicate of our technique-packed information 10 Tips for Better Behavior – Starting NOW!

2. Register for my FREE 60-Minute Class:

Register for my free class referred to as How to Get Kids to Listen, Without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control. Classes run a number of instances per week however I like to recommend you register early, as areas are restricted.

3. Enroll in my 7-Step Parenting Success System® Course

Enroll now in my confirmed 7-step system for busy parents prepared for change (it is rated 5 stars on Google). Plus, for a restricted time, save 10% plus get a FREE improve on all plans—utterly threat-free and with lifetime entry.

About the Author

Amy McCready

Nationally acknowledged parenting skilled Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions® and the perfect-promoting writer of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic – A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of optimistic parenting strategies for happier households and nicely-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on The Doctors, CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most vital position, she is the proud mother of two superb younger males.

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