My partner and I both have DSS who live with us full time. We both work however he works longer hours than me therefore the morning and after school I am there on my own with them. One Dss (9 ) although very loving is hard to handle and causing me stress. In that he lies, fights. Every day I end up shouting - I do a warning and then he is sent to his room, but this happens most days and I am worn down with it, stressed, and it doesn't make any difference as the next day he's fighting and winding the others up again. His dad does deal with it now it happens when he is there but I think Dss behaviour hasn't been deal with in the past. What would you do, I'm tempted just to say your dad can deal with you when you get home but I know things should be dealt with as they happen. However, I'm concerned at my stress levels. I love my partner but I used to have such a peaceful life
How long have you been in their lives? Where is their mum? What have they been through? Kids are trying at the best of tunes but more so if there have been big family changes. You and dh need to be united. Talk to him together and tell him what he's doing wrong. Use rewards for better behaviour rather than punishing bad behaviour. It must be hard for you to get used to though.
Agree with Ledkr. Can you sit down with DSS, DP and you, and set out ground rules, and consequences, and privileges that will be awarded for sticking to those rules?
I have a similar situation - am here before and after school with my DSs and DSSs. In the beginning it was a nightmare, fighting, winding eachother up. My DS would wind up, DSS would hit out and there would often be fisticuffs between the two of them. It was hugely stressful, and I used to wake up in the morning dreading the next hour.
It has very much calmed down now, with time.
My DP did used to deal with DSS when he got home, and made it very clear it wasn't acceptable to shout at me, or hit anyone else. I did the same with my DS - not acceptable to wind others up to deliberately to the point at which they want to hit you. It was very depressing at times, and I know DP went through a time when he didn't want to come home "just to tell the kids off" - a bit like my waking up dreading that hour! But he did do it, we persevered, and now it is a million times better - I think because all the kids know what the expectations are, and that DP and I will support each other and show a united front.
I think you should have very firm, and very clear consequences for lying and fighting. I would also try to remain calm, my situation has got loads better since I decided I would try my damndest not to shout and come down to the same level as them! I do sometimes leave them to sort out a disagreement too, I found if I always waded in, I often made it worse, and sometimes they can come up with their own solutions eg. one will walk away, they will agree on how to share.
As your DSS is living with you full time, I think you do need to be involved in the discipline. And your DP must back you up. And the same rules must apply to everyone.
I found it helped to write the special rules for the morning down. We all signed it. They are simple, e.g. get dressed, eat breakfast, get bag ready, clean teeth without jostling and so on. The reward for sticking to them is some TV/computer time. The consequence of breaking them is no TV/computer time. This worked as motivation here, but you'd need to implement whatever motivates your DSS.
Thanks UC that gives me hope! We do have house rules written down, I think because there have never been consequences it will take a while to get better. I get tired of saying the same thing every day :/
As an extra aside to my previous post I'd also like to say that I'm not a step mum but a birth mum and before and after school are quite possibly the highest stress times. Maybe he could go to brekkie or after school club?
I don't know if this will work for you - depends on the child, maturity, etc - but DD (usually a great kid) had a couple of wobbles this year and was so taken aback by my losing it that she suggested her own punishments (I wasn't violent or abusive, I was just angrier and more disappointed than she had ever seen me, so she wanted to make a big effort to show how sorry she was)
Maybe in a family meeting about behaviour get DSS to suggest what appropriate consequences would be - consequences that would be a loss to him, and would help everyone get on better?
It sounds a bit mad I know, but if he has agreed that he will forgo XYZ if he does ABC, he's more likely to stick to the agreed consequence without you having to hover over him (that's the bit of punishment I struggle with, I tend to give in on things like screentime bans after a few days rather than a week when I see the puppydog eyes!)