Raising stepchildren can be tough. Especially, when they are older than that little adorable age where you can just hold them yourself. Infinitely, they are not going to look like you, share the same ideas as you, and if they have already been raised in a particular household before meeting you, then you are on a run for your money. Being raised a different way doesn’t mean that it is either good or bad, but it does mean that you will have to do some reconditioning What I mean by reconditioning is that you will have to make sure that the child knows what your rules as a whole family are. Some children have the tendency to refer to their “mom’s” rules from the previous home as the standard for enforcement. This simply can not be the case.
The best way to debunk such behavior is to get started on the rules from day one. This means that there will have to be some things talked about at the dinner table in terms of conduct, how the child/ren refer to you and what are grounds for punishment. Kids aren’t stupid and they can play the game at a very young age. The respect level has to be as much for the step parent as it is for the biological parent. If it is perceived that there is a lapse in the parental household then there will be hell to pay.
Some good approaches would be, ” You can do this at your mom’s house, but you can’t do it here.” Or, “This how we do this when you are over here.” Some parents get railroaded into thinking that in order to make the kid happy that they have to spoil them. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Then, when the teenage years come around there is a no control whatsoever over the rebellion that arises from not parenting for so many years prior.
The house has to be unified and not divided. There should be no division in how all of the children are treated. This leaves no room for accusations of favoritism or neglect. The biological parent in the household has to take the lead on this. When it comes time for discipline to be enforced there should be no question if one parent or the other does it. Yeah, the absent biological parent at the time may feel a little unnerved, but it is certainly not his/her place when inside your household. If the child tends to look at the disciplining parent and then to the biological parent; the biological parent has to remain silent and let discipline from both authorities in the household reign. This will inadvertently command respect from both parents no matter who is speaking.
One of things that make me cringe in stepparent relationships is the addressing of an adult by a first name. This obviously wouldn’t happen with a kid in school and neither should it exist at home…of all places! The step parent is not a friend, business partner, old college buddy, or any of those things. It is parent and that’s the way the role needs to be ran. The same would have to go for the parents too. If the parent starts to call the child a stepchild then innately that is the way that you will be treated. I don’t introduce my stepson like that and I would think that it would be a preface of insult him if I ever did.
If one is truly trying to create a unified household that won’t ooze of resent and regret, then there is no time like the present to let your positions be known and that there are two parents in the house that are on the same page with everyone.