The first step of a Stepmum!
Don’t discipline your step children. Leave that to their biological mother or father!
Can you say crap on a blog??
If not, politely with a puckered face I say, “what a load of rubbish!”
Like many mums, I too have those parenting bibles- “What to expect when you’re expecting’, baby name books, a stack of mags with advice on everything from how to get babies to sleep, stop sucking dummies, when to start toilet training and how to join a play group.
I haven’t heard or read of, any so called “guides for step parenting”. In fact are they out there?
But somewhere I must have seen this advice because it stuck in my mind and stuck in my craw.
That may be wonderful advice for step-parents, who only see their kids-by-marriage on random weekends or during the holidays, but if you are like me and live with them mostly fulltime, then that counselling is absolute……..umm ..rubbish!
With my 2 daughters and 3 step-daughters, I wish I had nothing to do with the hard-core parenting of the step girls. I would rather just take them for a coffee, movie or shopping and sit- back and let their dad or indeed their real mum, do all the disciplining.
But here’s a scenario.
My youngest and my youngest step-daughter both have a chore to do. Both don’t.
I punish mine by taking her ipod nano off her for 2 days. Off she goes to school glumly listening to the sounds of birds and traffic, while her step-sister struts down the street with Miley Cyrus screaming in her ears and the threat that her dad, “will deal with you when he gets home” ringing in them.
Hubby/ Dad has a meeting and doesn’t get home until after bedtime. The next morning, he doesn’t want to be gruff, grumpy and scary in the short time he will have with his daughter, so he tells her he will speak to her when he gets home. That night she has sport and he’s forgotten. Now you might say, “why didn’t hubby just take her ipod off her too?”
You forget that children are sneaky, devious creatures and she’s left hers at school. So by the time she’s punished for not doing her chore, she’s already not done it again!.
So to the rules and more importantly the enforcement..If I didn’t do it, it’s mostly (sure there are those exceptions) not going to happen. (If I haven’t already let you know, he’s a wonderful husband and father, but would rather watch the rugby than check maths homework, do snap inspections of bedrooms and break-up fights over hair dryers.)
It explodes a viper’s nest of problems if not everyone is on the same page and by that I mean my page.
Working mother, stay-at-home mother, single mother, part-time mother, step mother, there’s a common thread here. It really is the woman who has the major role in rearing ( read rule-setting, disciplining, activity- remembering, feeding, driving and punishing) the kids.
So forget trying to divide, to conquer.
a) Set some rules then get agreement from the hubby.
b) talk through some rules, and make some compromises, then
c) re-word them so they reflect point a) see above.
Then, and this is the MOST important aspect of rule-setting:
d) get a special book (like a holiday guest book) and WRITE them down.
e) follow through. (Okay maybe this is the most important aspect too.)
I have a special book and in a future blog I will explain how the book, which by the way the girls aren’t aware of (although maybe not for much longer) keeps fairness in the family.
You’ve all probably have heard the statement, ‘that’s not fair” or “it’s not fair”.
Well the red book is the secret to combating that irritating, infuriating, whining sentence.
It’s hard to be fair all the time, but if there are rules, and everyone knows them it can be a little easier. It also helps if the step child’s real parent agrees to enforce any disciplinary action you have decided. If not don’t sweat it, you can only shrug your shoulders and do what you can.
But in my home, if there’s disagreement, disobedience or disarray..I’m the disciplinarian. Yep not as fulfilling as a movie, but often as action-packed.
Who rules in your house?