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Co- Disciplining

(17 Posts)
BonusNatty Mon 27-Feb-17 02:28:53

I just meed a little reassurance for my sanity.

I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years. He has a 8 year old daughter that we have EVERY weekend. She is great. We both actually like each other and get along well. My problem is with my boyfriend and how he balances the two of us.
We have discussed me disciplining his daughter and in one moment he is happy for me to teach her manners and help raise her to be a polite, well behaved young lady. On the other hand he doesn't want to be seen siding with me. If i say 'no' to her eating candy, he likes to say 'yes' to spite me, make me the bad guy all so his daughter doesn't think he is siding with me!!!! His words.
I tell him we need to be a team. If he doesn't want me to say anything i won't but he can't undermine me in front of her and go against what i say. I know she is not my daughter but then he needs to step up and not be afraid to say 'no'.
He thinks i am creating drama when i bring this to his attention but I am trying to tell him that it is his actions that create the tension. She is smart and she can see how to play Daddy against me.
I need help on what to do with my involvement with my sd or with how to explain things to my boyfriend.

swingofthings Mon 27-Feb-17 06:10:14

You're absolutely right. Either he gives you rein on being able to make decisions and let her know, or he doesn't.

If the issue is that although he is happy with you making decisions, he doesn't agree with some of the decision you are making, then this is what needs to be discussed. Maybe he finds that since you've been involved in disciplining her, you are saying no too often.

If that's the case, he might have a point as it is very important not to fall into that trap as a step-parent of being much more negative than positive, and therefore losing the balance that you would expect a loving parent to provide.

On a whole, he should be the one 'leading' on the disciplining with you supporting him rather than the other around, so you do need to discuss what are the boundaries, what he thinks is acceptable and when he thinks you are being too strict. It's all about discussion and adjusting, not easy to get it right the first time.

SeaCabbage Tue 28-Mar-17 20:34:16

How can you still find this man attractive? He sounds extremely stupid and is doing his best to turn his own daughter into a nightmare.

You obviously have very different ideas on discipline. I hope someone comes along to help you soon.

MycatsaPirate Tue 28-Mar-17 20:35:53

He's a disney dad. This will backfire spectacularly in a few years when he actually has to say No to her.

heidiwine Tue 28-Mar-17 22:21:24

You know what, I have been a step mum for almost 10 years. I don't think I have ever disciplined my step children - I've never seen it as my role - it's the role of their parents and it's my role to back both parents up (at least in front of the children). It's also your partners role to back you up and to try to work out what you'd want him to do...
Interestingly my DSDs who are well over the 'disciplining' stage think I'm much firmer than their dad and I may have lost my temper at times but I have never disciplined, punished or told them off...

Judbarian Tue 28-Mar-17 22:43:43

Really she's only there at weekends so you don't have her alone, therefore don't need to discipline her. She's his kid, not yours, let him parent. That's his job.

However purposely undermining you to curry favour with her or for his own entertainment needs to be taken as a big warning sign. It would be a hundred times worse if you had a child with him.

Voice0fReason Tue 28-Mar-17 23:12:13

I think you should leave the parenting to him. I really don't think you need to be making any parenting decisions - he can do that and you can back him up.
You have no need to tell her she can't eat her candy.

But quite why you would want to be with someone who played such childish games with you that involved his own child, I just don't understand.

EdithWeston Wed 29-Mar-17 06:37:58

I suggest you step back a bit, and stick to essentials only. Whether she is permitted sweets isn't that.

blink182 Wed 29-Mar-17 10:05:50

Am I in the minority here then, reading the coments on here, step-parents don't discipline their step-children?

Why on earth not? A lot of threads discuss "Disney dads" and their lack of discipline, but imagine the mixed messages a child gets if the step-parent either lets them do anything, or just goes running to their parent?

Just discipline them as you would your own. Consistency is the key.

heidiwine Wed 29-Mar-17 12:01:48

Maybe it depends on the definition of discipline? Maybe I've been lucky as my DPs children were pretty good all round.
I see my role much less of a parent and more of an aunt/childminder (at times) it probably helps that I don't have children of my own. However I think that in the context of step parenting the most important thing is to be consistently loving and patient in your attitude to the children who would probably rather have their parents were still together than you in their life (regardless of how much you enrich it).
I'm not saying I'm right, every case is different but the only thing I know is that stepping back and not trying to take on a parent role has helped us as a family and I know that my DSDs hate it when their step dad gets 'involved' in parenting...

ElinorRigby Wed 29-Mar-17 12:06:47

I think children feel secure with boundaries, and it really doesn't help if a step-parent doesn't 'do' boundaries.

So I'd always remind my stepchildren, who were 5 and 7, when my relationship with thier father started, about the routine stuff - saying please and thank you, basic table manners. While also doing all the positive stuff too. Listening to them, praising them etc. That's what they expected.

With the more major stuff, I'd tend to talk to their father.

Personally I think a step-parent and parent need to be a team (and be consistent) in the same way that a mother and father who live together should be consistent.

heidiwine Wed 29-Mar-17 12:17:14

Of course! I totally agree BUT reminding a child of basic good manners in a positive constructive was is not disciplining (in my view).
I never disciplined but my DSDs sure as hell know what standards of behaviour I expect and although I never punished I can still give them a look that says 'stop doing that now'...

swingofthings Wed 29-Mar-17 16:26:10

Just discipline them as you would your own. Consistency is the key.
What is the rationale behind thinking that a child should be disciplined on the basis of how their step-mums disciplined her own children? How is that consistency for the child if that form of discipline is completely different to the discipline they get when they are with their other parent?

Potentially, this child can end up disciplined by three adults telling them three different things. Add teachers to some extent and what they get is potentially everything but consistency.

Really, it is the parents' responsibility to sort out their values and principles, which will drive their methods of disciplining before they have children. They should then make sure, if they separate, that they commit to someone new who also has a similar approach to disciplining. Of course there is likely to be be some different opinions at time, but it should be such an issue that a SM should feel so miserable because of the way their partner discipline their own child.

I really cannot get this obsession that some step-mums seem to have with wanting to impose their own discipline on their step-kids who they only see a couple of days a week.

Evergreen777 Wed 29-Mar-17 16:57:10

Having step children every weekend is not some occasional visiting which as a step parent you can stay out of. It means they're with you for almost all of their leisure time, and also almost all of yours. I don't think it's practical to suggest to the OP that she's never left alone with her DSD - her DP may need to leave the house sometimes! To go shopping, do the garden, see friends, etc. You can't avoid normal family life every weekend. And nor should you be leaving disciplining to the "resident parent" who is probably actually spending less time with the child than you two are.

OP - Your DP is halfway there in recognising that you need to pull DSD up on things sometimes, but he needs to stop seeing her and you as rivels it himself caught between you both and recognise that you are his partner, and she is his daughter And adults/parents make the rules. You are not three housemates. He absolutely needs to back you up on front of her. She won't like this at first, so I'd suggest a deal where you pick your battles very carefully at first and only pick her up on things that you're completely certain your DP agrees on, and he makes a real effort to back you up. And then have a chat about any areas where he doesn't share your views on discipline, and reach some compromises. Be alert to that male tendancy to nod and pretend to agree with you on things to avoid conflict, whilst having no intention of following through.

TiredofITall1 Wed 29-Mar-17 16:57:13

I think any child in your home that misbehaves you can tell off. Children pick up rules in different houses just fine the same as they understand rules of school may be different to rules at home etc.

In you case though I would seriously reconsider your relationship with him - anyone who deliberately give mixed messages to a child as an entertainment factor or to "look good" is just going to get worse and is a massive idiot. He will also go on to constantly undermine the mother of the child to look good and this will in turn cause huge relationship issues for the two of you. I can guarantee it will always be your fault when things go tits up as he is already showing such blatant disrespect for you.

ElinorRigby Wed 29-Mar-17 17:17:37

I really cannot get this obsession that some step-mums seem to have with wanting to impose their own discipline on their step-kids who they only see a couple of days a week.

48 hours of small children being small children is a fair amount of time. Often it's not about wanting to 'impose discipline'. It's about wanting to be a responsible adult, particularly when the child's actual parent is likely not to be on hand every single moment of those 48 hours. (They might be taking one child to a class, shaving, nipping out to the takeaway, catching up on a bit of work.) So you end up saying stuff like, 'No, of course you can't have any crisps. We're going to have lunch in 20 minutes.'

I think the problem can sometimes - not always - be that the separated parents have different values.

So if a mother is into so-called gentle parenting, but knows that that there's a different set of rules at the father and stepmother's house, she might be particularly inclined to decide that any involvement by the stepmother is inappropriate.

swingofthings Wed 29-Mar-17 17:18:06

It really shouldn't be difficult. Parents should make the rules. These rules should be adapted so that they are not significantly out of synch with the step-parent view. The step-parent should accept the rules, even if they don't agree 100% with all of them.

Parent should do the disciplining as much as possible. SP should be able to apply the rules when the parent is not there and occasionally when parent is present if they didn't witness the issue that needs to be picked up. Parent should support SP in these instances but if SP is imposing rules that were not agreed, should be picked up outside of the presence of the child.

For instance, rules are that SC does the washing up after dinner. Father has gone to the toilet, SC is getting off the table on the way to their bedroom, SM reminds SC that they have to do the washing before they go to play. SC moans when father comes back, father reminds SC that these are the rules.

However, father believes that 9pm bedtime is acceptable. SM thinks that they should be in bed at 8pm. Father says that they go to bed at 9pm at home and that they get enough sleep going to bed at 9pm and think this is acceptable for their age. SM has to accept that this is their decision. No problem reminding them it is bedtime at 9pm, but shouldn't tell SC to go to bed at 8pm when their father is out on one evening.

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