As a new stepdad entering your new family as a disciplinarian and attempting to hijack the role of your stepchildren’s biological dad is highly unlikely to go over well. Successful discipline works best after you and the kids must have passed through various transition stages. And note that the kids won’t honor, accept or listen to you till you have gracefully earned their trust & complete respect. In a kid’s point of view, he or she only recognizes (one) man as the “real dad” & the stepdad as surrogate until the stepdad proves otherwise. It’s your right to discipline and correct them when required but if you do it wrongly – it won’t work. Such could push the kids further away from you.
As a stepdad, if you desire a truly healthy relationship with your step kids, then first WIN their trust by showing you recognize their real dad’s role in their lives. Reveal to them that you honor their needs & also respect their father. If you creatively do this, they will start listening to you, and disciplining them when required will become much easier and acceptable!
Also note that as a stepdad, if you try to discipline differently from their mom & biological father, you will trigger great resentment in the kids & they might rebel against you as a result. The more time you spend with the kids – the relationship will become more relaxing and fun. The kids will take it that you appreciate being with them and thus see you as a united team, making them adhere to your rules without resentment.
If your wife or their real dad doesn’t want the kids spanked, then respect their choice and never spank them. You should never go against your wife’s wish on this!
To effectively discipline your stepchildren, you should attend to the following parenting tips on the subject matter:
- Focus on the Relationship
The foundation of influence in parenting is based on trust, love and emotional attachment. At the beginning of your relationship with your stepchildren, you should begin building the foundation. Once the foundation is laid, you can lead and discipline a child.
- Be On the Same Page With Your Wife
It’s a must you and your wife are on the same page when it comes to discipline within your family. Do strive for harmony in parenting. Look into behavioral expectations together; discuss boundaries, consequences, and values.
- Praise more than criticize
Many parents discipline their children by pointing out everything that they are doing wrong. However, doing this will make your child feel as if he is silly, stubborn or stupid. But lucky for you, you do not have to take the role of a chief disciplinarian for your step children. Instead of criticizing them, be the source of their strength and give them praises instead. If you want your child to be a disciplined person, reward him when he does something that you want to be repeated. After all, be reminded that what gets rewarded gets repeated.
- Always talk to your wife.
It is a must that you and your wife are united when it comes to disciplining the children, especially since they are her children. Since you are from two different family cultures, you have to seek help from your wife on what is the best way to discipline the children.
- Avoid bribing the kids.
For sure, you will be tempted to do this to get them to like you but bribing the kids will teach them to act appropriately only if there will be a prize in the end. Additionally, some children use this to act inappropriately at first just so they can be offered a reward when they change their behavior later on. Instead of bribing, try giving them other forms of motivation.
- Avoid losing temper.
As a step dad, you should be careful with your actions and that means making sure you will never lose temper. Apart from making the kids’ scared of you or angry at you, losing your temper shows the child that you are losing control. Find ways to express your anger appropriately. When you do this, you are not just showing the kids that you are in control, but you are showing them how to control themselves too.
As a step dad, you should not take on the role of a chief disciplinarian. But that doesn’t mean that you should not lend a hand to the entire process. With the tips mentioned above, you can be able to partake in disciplining the kids without overstepping boundaries.