Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Stepmother's Role and Child Discipline – Step Parenting Rights

Here are tips to help stepmoms deal with discipline of stepchildren. Do step parents have the right to punish a child? Usually, yes, if dad isn't home.

What is a stepmother's role when it comes to raising and disciplining her stepchildren? She has the right, as a step parent, to enforce her husband's rules when he is not Home

Common Problems in Stepfamilies

When a new couple gets married, and there are children from past relationships, parents hope that everyone in the blended family will get along. However, a stepmother should be aware that there will be problems concerning child discipline. She should expect this to happen. And, it’s normal because no two families raise their children in exactly the same way.
It is also common for a stepchild to react to a new stepmother by saying something like, “You are not my mother and you can’t tell me what to do.” Well, it’s true. A stepmother is different from a biological mom.
Divorce and Remarriage
Divorced parents hope that their new marriages will somehow replicate the perfect nuclear family of their imaginations. Furthermore, most single parents hope that their new marriage will make things easier for them because there will be two adults to share in the heavy load of raising and disciplining children.
But what does a child usually feel after his or her parent remarries?
Divided Loyalty: Most children do not want to love a new stepmother because they feel that it would be disloyal to their biological mother.
Resentment of Different Rules: Children will not be happy about having different sets of rules for each house, though they will learn to adapt. It is easier on everyone if the “house rules” are somewhat similar

Positive Relationship With Stepchild

According to Jocelyn R. Miller PhD in her 2008 article “The Road to Successful Step-Parenting” on, “Many step-parents make the mistake of over-emphasizing discipline when they first join a family, without working on the caring relationship or bonding with the child/ren. The nurturance aspect of parenting is the very important basis upon which the right to discipline is built.”

Miller believes that stepmoms should focus on the positive aspects of the stepchild. If a child is having problems at school or home, a smart stepmother will look for things that the child is good at, such as:

  • Sports
  • The arts – painting, writing, drawing
  • Dance
  • A love of science fiction

If a stepmother concentrates on discipline too soon, her stepchildren will resent her and may rebel against their dad’s authority, as well.

Re-Marriage Advice

Here are other tips from Miller:
  • Make sure that the father has time alone with each of his children. This is an investment in the future happiness of a new marriage.
  • Remember that the children probably did not want this new marriage, but had no real say in the matter.

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