How to discipline your stepchild
Even in today’s very cautious environment, children and step children do need to be disciplined. Discipline is every bit as much a part of a child’s upbringing as is nurturing and loving. Discipline is a form of loving, believe it or not. It is a type of learning. How is a child to know that something is not right if nobody ever tells him or her?
Discipline comes in many different forms; spankings, lost privileges, time outs, there are many different ways to discipline your child. We do need to remind ourselves to keep the level of discipline comparable to the crime. I won’t even get into that, it is an entirely different article. A good rule of thumb in the case of step children is to make the discipline the exact same as you dole out to your own children.
Whatever wrong doing was perpetrated and whatever discipline you decide upon, the objective is to make the child regret having done the deed in the first place. You don’t want to have to go through this again and you don’t want the child to think they can do it again. To have the discipline not hurt in one way or another, physical, comfort, convenience, is to not have disciplined in the first place.
Preferably, the parent will have devised punishments, or disciplines, for many various deeds prior to the deeds even having been carried out. Those “rewards” should be made known to the children. “If you do —–, then you will get ——!” That will sometimes help avoid a sticky situation later on. Knowing the price of the crime doesn’t always work in adulthood but you may have better luck with your children.
The approach should be to;
1) Review primary wrong doings and categorize
2) Devise a general punishment / discipline for each category
3) Make all punishments / disciplines known to the children
4) When something happens, follow through with the punishment
5) Mete out the exact same punishment to your step children as you do to your children
6) Up the ante for second and third offenses
I didn’t really mean to make it sound so formal or legal but there is nothing wrong with that. There is a certain behavior you do not want coming from your children. If it does erupt, they should know they will have to pay for their actions.
Recently, I overheard a couple talking in an airport about what should they do about their 15 year old son taking the car for a joy ride while they were away on business. The 15 year old went off the road, bumped the car up a little bit, and was arrested for drunk driving amongst many other things.
I won’t go into what I might do if that were my son but what I heard them discussing made my blood boil. Now, I’m an old timer so maybe I just didn’t understand the importance of what they said next. Their idea of a fitting punishment was to take the child’s cell phone away for a week. Cell phone? What in the world does a kid have a cell phone for to begin with? And, how does that punishment fit the crime of drinking while underage, drinking enough to be fuzzy, stealing a car, banging the car up and ending up in jail? I don’t know, but child or step child, I would certainly not be taking away their cell phone because they wouldn’t have one in the first place. If they had saved enough money on their own to get a pre-pay, then go for it, but I am not getting them one.
In this case, child or step child gets the same punishment. In all cases, step children MUST be punished in the same manner as the child. In my own personal case, my wife and myself would first discuss the punishment, agree upon it, add it to our list (so as not to be skewed the next time any of the kids pulled the same stunt) then mete it out to the offending culprit, together.
I would suggest never allowing the step parent to deliver the discipline without the real parent being present. The real parent must be there to send the message of “I agree” to the child. Punishing as a team, Mom and Dad, leaves both parents either on the hook or off. They end up having nothing to argue about later because they discussed it, devised it and delivered it together.
Bottom line, any discipline to your child or step child should be designed to resemble punishment not a reward. Both child and step child should receive the same discipline. Both parents should deliver the discipline together. Lastly, the discipline must reflect the severity of the infraction. Forget sending them to their room, their room is probably more comfortable than your living room anyway.
Child or step child, they are the same. There can be no differences between them.