dare i step in? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-05-2006, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some advice. I've read in several places that disciplining your step-children isn't the best idea...that you should leave it up to their birth parents. While my soon-to-be step son and step daughter and both well behaved, they sometimes forget their manners (especially in public...like bumping into other people without excusing themselves) and my fiance isn't quick to remind them...he actually doesn't at all. I feel that because he doesn't have primary custody, and only sees the kids once a month or so, he doesn't want to spend his time nit-picking their behavior. My parents taught me how important manners are, and I think my step-children should know as well. Do you think I'm being to petty? Should I step in? Let dad deal with it? any thoughts?
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Old 12-05-2006, 04:48 PM
 
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I think I would just say "excuse us" and keep going. It may not be something they even think about so if you say it, you're not correcting them but they do get the idea. If it's mainly manners in public, I'd just add what they leave out. If they forget to say please, just say it for them. If they forget thank you, just say it. It seems like it would wear you all down if you try to remind them for everything, every time. This way, no one is embarassed and it may be they learn better by watching.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:22 PM
 
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I agree with NiteNicole, that tends to help them to remember thier manners as well.

The rule of thumb we go by in our house is that dad deals with it unless it is an urgent or emergent situation. Like, for instance, when one kid decided that sitting on the exercise ball on top of the couch was a good idea. I came upon it first, it was a dangerous thing to be doing and I told them to get down. Had they been on the same ball on the floor after being told NOT to play with the ball (just as an example!) then that's dad's territory.

The rules change a bit when dad is not home... then, if you would discipline a kid you were babysitting for doing X then you should also be disciplining your step-kids. I'm not saying you are or should feel like a babysitter, just using that as a guideline.

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Old 12-05-2006, 10:37 PM
 
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We have dealt with this issue in our family.

Basically, if this child is going to be in our home and is going to be my responsibility as well, then I will correct her on her bad behavior. It is so difficult to be responsible for a child for whom you can set no limits and I refuse to be in that position. Dh and I are a couple and in our home, we are BOTH parents.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:48 PM
 
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I do tell dss no and all that, but with manners, which are a matter of opinion and might offend the child, I'd talk to dad. I'd tell dh, this is really bothering me and he responds. Usually he has noticed, too. As far as stepparents discipline, dh and I both do the day to day, clean up your room, be nice to your brother, no running in the house kind of things, dh would deal with big things like grades, lying, etc.
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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When my Sk's are here they are MY kids, I do not treat anyone differently, that seems wierd, and sets up a poor precidence IMO. Of course, I am pretty laid back and I do recognize the Sk's have different rules at moms so I try to be sensitive, but if it is bad manners for one it is bad manners for all. FWIW- I never reprimand any of them in public- I don't like to be embarrassed publicly- so I wouldn't do it to them. HTH
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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we have a different case here.. I am pretty much the only Mom my dss has... his birth mother prefers to be on the outside and she likes just being his friend... so I am pretty much his mom in all aspects.

I correct him.. I don't let him barge through anything without saying excuse me... It rarely happens though.. hes a sweet little man!

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Old 12-07-2006, 01:23 AM
 
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like pp i am the full time mom to my ds (dss), and i am the disciplinarian as well.

I would suggest you lead by example and just treat them the way you would like to be treated. if you the dsc are not with you the majority of the time, it's tough to really parent them the way you may want to. Play it by ear and see what works best for your family.

i agree with previous person not to say anything in public that may embarrasse them. say excuse me for them and then perhaps make a game out of manners at home. over time you will be a special parent in their lives and you each will have a unique role you play in their lives.

congratulations on your new family.
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Old 12-07-2006, 06:08 PM
 
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I maintain that i am the mom in my house and so it's my rules. Luckily sds is pretty well behaved, but i do discipline/reprimand if i have to. I have been around since he was only 5 though (he is 11 now), so he is pretty used to me and how I run the show.
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Old 12-09-2006, 01:44 AM
 
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My dsd forgets her manners a lot, too. When we are out and about, I say things for her. For instance, we went to dinner the last time she was here. When the waitress came to take some plates, dsd said, "I need more milk." The waitress didnt ask if we needed anything at the time as she had a full arm of dishes, but did say that she would be right back if we needed anything else. When dsd pushed her cup at her, I said, "When you get a moment, please?" after she made her comment.

When the waitress came back for her cup and then brought her more milk, dsd grabbed it and didnt say anything. I said, "Thank you" for her. I didnt say anything to dsd, but she did say that she was sorry after we left.
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Old 12-09-2006, 03:09 PM
 
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Well, I am the mom in my house, too, and dss is here almost full time. When he was younger, I did more disciplining. As he has become a preteen, he takes it better from dad. If dad disciplines, it is what it is. If I do it, there is this extra layer that I see him processing (does my real mom care? will she tell her? is my dad mad? etc.). I still do little stuff, dad does bigger, emotional stuff. Ithink dss takes it better. When his dad is mad at him, he knows he will still love him. When your stepmom is mad at you, you don't know. It actually upsets him more from me.
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Old 12-12-2006, 04:12 AM
 
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This is a REALLY challenging issue. After 6 years of living with dss (now age 11) I have finally come to accept that it is almost never ok to discipline. It is not worth it...I must bite my tongue and accept that this is not how I would proceed with my own child, but it is in NO ONES best interest to insert myself.

There are 2 exceptions:
1. immediate safety, of course
2. issues relating to my personal items

Sorry to be blunt and strong with advice...I have been around and around on this one. But in my experience...good intentions are not enough to make it fruitful.

Good luck with your family!!!!
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Old 12-12-2006, 10:25 AM
 
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I replied earlier about disciplining when it comes to manners, but I didnt mention that overall discipline is enforced by me (the stepmom), too. Quite honestly, the only time I wasnt the disciplinarian was when she was little and dh was there to do it, too. Now, though, when she is here and her dad is working, I cant let things go.

DH works nights and sleeps during the day. Im not going to let things go, talk to dh when he gets up (which is right as she is going to bed) and have him bring up things from earlier when I can handle it myself. I wouldnt want to be woken up with immediate punishment to hand out. If its something more serious, he will talk to her the next morning when he gets home, but for the most part, Im the sole disciplinarian in the house.

I think its also a bit different for us because Ive been involved deeply since she was 8 months old.
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