Are you dealing with disrespectful stepkids? Why would they be disrespectful? Like it or not, phrases like, “You’re not my Mom!” may be thrown around in times of disobedience and defiance. As a pruned at this very moment to defy my Husband and I every chance they get. They are being severely alienated and have been repeatedly told that their Dad does not love them….blah, blah, blah. Alas, we have quite a task on our hands…well. not really. My Husband and I are firm in our efforts to ensure that they receive an abundance of love and we do know that in time, they will be able to decipher light from darkness.
You see, your Stepkids want discipline and they need structure. While they are instructed to obey other adults, mommy new boyfriends’, teachers and authority figures, being instructed to do the opposite to a parent they love is confusing and stressful.
Be clear on WHO sets the rules
If Stepkids become defiant or confrontational, as the adult, you are allowed to be firm. Most articles will tell you that a Stepparent should not be a disciplinarian, however, you should not tolerate disrespect and disobedience from a child. In our situation, my Stepkids understand that their father is very much the disciplinarian. He commands structure and obedience. I absolutely love the fact that does not experience “Dad guilt”. He has laid the groundwork that, I am “Daddy’s assistant” and whatever I instruct them to do are their father’s direct orders.
Ensure that your partner has established your position in the home
Be sure that your Spouse has established you as a authority figure that deserves love and respect from the kids. As a Step Parent, you are more than a babysitter. You are the lady of the house and you are your partner’s Helpmate.
Be Firm with Disrespectful Stepkids
Be firm when the kids are disobedient when your Spouse is not around. Kids are smart, arent’ they? They know how to be manipulative and they especially know how to project their loyalty to their “other” parent onto their Stepparent. While it may seem easier to push the responsibility to your partner, forge ahead. Your marriage, your home and your peace-of-mind are a priority. Should any disruption impede, handle it….with care. But handle it.
Set Boundaries with the custodial parent
If you’re dealing with a high- conflict ex, be sure to structure contact so that it does not interfere with the time you’re allotted with the kids. Your Stepkids should not be able to “tell on you” or “call their other parent” when they do not like abiding by your rules. Your Stepkids should know that no outside adults have authority in your home and when they are in your care, they are to abide by the household rules.
Treat ALL of the children equally
Show your Step kids the same love you show your bio kids. They should NEVER feel that you love them any less. It may be difficult to disciple your bio children and Stepkids are allowed to “get away with more” but it does come with the territory. Be mindful that kids are sensitive to divisiveness and favoritism.
RELAX and enjoy your family!
You may want to do some research into the temperament of the child you are dealing with, aside from the stress of coping with their “new normal” some children are dealing with other factors that affect their attitude. This last point is short and sweet. Finally, as Tupac always said, “Keep your head up.” Disrespectful Stepkids are not a reflection on who you are as a parent, they may be emoting so many other emotions that they simply do not know how to express. Focus on your marriage, your household and love your family.