Figuring out how to discipline kids is something both co-parents and remarried couples struggle with. Stepparent discipline in particular can be hard to get a hang of. However, there’s a few things you’ll want to avoid doing…
Stepparent Discipline: What To Avoid
Too many changes
One thing to avoid as part of your stepparent discipline is too many changes. Consider how many different things have changed for your stepchild. First there was the divorce, splitting up their family as they knew it. Now, they find themselves with a new family, stepparent, and potentially new stepsiblings and a new home.
The last thing you want to do is present them with even more change. This is an easy way to make them feel resentment towards you. Instead, give them and everyone else some time to settle in. Once everyone is comfortable, then you can worry about other discipline-related matters.
Being too harsh
You also don’t want your stepparent discipline to be too harsh either. Despite what you may think, being too much of a disciplinarian will end up backfiring on you. Rather than making your stepchild respect you, they’ll end up resenting you and have an adversarial relationship towards you. Once this is in place, it can be hard to reverse this.
Instead, try to focus on being friendly towards them and get to know them better. They may be a little distant or cold at first, which is to be expected. However, as long as you show them that you’re there for them, they’ll be more likely to respect you and treat you as such.
Giving out punishment
What happens if your stepchild breaks the rules? It can be tempting to just give out a punishment on your own. After all, you are their parent now, right? The thing is, your stepchild isn’t going to see you this way. To them, you’re basically still a stranger.
Therefore, don’t be the one to hand out discipline to your stepchildren. That will harm your overall relationship with them. Instead, leave that kind of punishment to your spouse, as your stepchild will probably handle it better than if you tried to step in.