Step-parents disciplining

Hello Everyone.  I was having a discussion with a friend of mine this morning and I was interested in what other people thought.

My friend has one daughter.  She’s 16. For most of this girls life, she believed one man was her father. She was 13 when she found out that another man was her biological father and this man was “just” her step-father.  They divorced and he ordered a DNA test.  She found and contacted the man who really was her father and has been working on a relationship with him for the past 9 months.  

This morning my friends boyfriend, who has been in her daughters life and a parental unit for the last 5 years, told the 16 year old to change her shoes and to put on the right ones. Well, apparently the girl was in a mood and she told him no.  He yelled at her and told her he wasn’t going to take her to school then.  She told him that was fine, she would have her stepmother take her and she slammed out of the house.

Well, her stepmother wasn’t home so she came back.  By the time she got back, her mother who works midnights, had gotten home from work.  She asked her daughter were she was and she told her and she told her that the boyfriend yelled at her.  

So, she took her daughter to school and then had a big fight with her boyfriend.  She told him “it’s not your job to yell at my daughter.”  She told him “she’s MY kid, not yours.”  To which he replied “I have provided a roof over her head and food in her belly for the last 5 years and she should respect me as a parent, not just like just some guy.” My friend said again “you do NOT yell at my child.”  “She’s MY child”.  She doesn’t have to listen to you. She only has to answer to me.

So he said “her REAL dad????  The man who hasn’t paid child support in 16 years???  She has to answer to him too right??? She told him “that question was “out of bounds” and they were done discussing this, “I’m going to take a shower.”

He went to work and the was the end of it.  But my friend is talking about leaving this man because she feels so strongly about him disciplining her daughter.

What do you think?  Do you think when there is a step parent situation that the step parent should have a say in disciplining the child?  My husband is like my friend and he said if we ever split up and I get remarried, that man had better not think of disciplining his kids.  I asked him why and he said “because it’s not right.” Those aren’t his kids, they’re mine.  

But, I think that step parents should have a say.  They’re in that child’s life as a parental figure and they should be able to reprimand or punish the kids as needed.

Agree or disagree???

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13 Responses to Step-parents disciplining

  1. SKL says:

    This is tough, but I agree with you. Anyone who is living with and helping to care for a child for years should be respected as more than just some miscellaneous adult. I do think the mom should have the final say on major issues, like whether or not corporal punishment is allowed, or the loss of major privileges.

    In my house, there are two adults besides me, and I also have a nanny who comes five days a week. When any of them tells my kids something and they don’t listen, I reprimand my kids and I mean business. I have told the adults here that I would rather they tell me if my kid needs discipline, but if it seems to merit an immediate punishment or if they know what my standard punishment is, they can punish the children. This rarely happens, but the kids know it “could” happen, so hopefully they are more careful not to disrespect. I mean, if an adult has to put up with a child day in and day out, the child needs to treat him with respect. Maybe not exactly the same as a parent, but certainly not like some guy off the street.

    In the case you describe, I don’t even consider that a parental punishment. Basically this guy was going to do a kindness for this young lady, and she acted so disrespectfully that he decided not to do it. Totally understandable in my opinion. If he isn’t treated as a parent, why should he be obligated to perform parental duties regardless of the child’s attitude?

    I feel the mom should cool off and then reconsider. The guy needs to have some authority, yet she’s right that he can’t just do whatever he wants without consulting her. The only sensible thing to do is have a grown-up discussion with the guy and lay out the boundaries, then discuss it with the child.

    I wonder if she has any other concerns about trust with this guy having power over her daughter? If she is getting bad vibes about her child’s safety, maybe it is time to say goodbye, or at least get him out of the house. But I don’t get this from the situation you described.

  2. thegoddessanna says:

    If the stepparent is in any way providing for the child, ie, roof over the head, food, clothing, attention, love, then of course the step has a say in discipline. If not, then the step isn’t a parent at all, just someone who’s being taken advantage of. If the mother doesn’t want anybody other than the biological parents to have a disciplinary say with her child, she should remain single. Otherwise, it’s simply rude and quite wrong to say “you can provide all the good aspects of parenting, but none of the hard ones” to the poor sap she’s roped in.

    Parenting is not just love, food, and shelter, but also teaching and discipline as well. She should be lucky he wants to be so involved – my step (that was with us for 13 years) only wanted to do the discipline, and nothing else.

  3. Elena says:

    I have to agree that a step-parent should be respected. I am in a similar situation, and I feel strongly that I need to support my husband as step-father and that the children should mind him.

    However, if I did not trust his judgement or methods, it might be a different story. Perhaps when a “real” parent begins to insist on having sole control over the kids, it points to an underlying difference in values/parenting styles? Or maybe the parent has control issues? I just can’t imagine a healthy situation in which there is a step-parent that has no authority over or respect from the children.

  4. mssc54 says:

    A little clarification please.

    Is the biological mom and the bf shacking up together and have the 16 yr old living with them?…. for the past 5 years?

  5. Just a Mom says:

    I agree that a step-parent should be respected and rules that are set down by both step-parent & parent should be obeyed.

    I do not think a boyfriend has any say over the child. Hence the title boyfriend not step-parent.

  6. kwoneshe2 says:

    Agree. Step parents have the right to disipline. If that child lives in that home with that “parental figure”, they have a right to input with the kids.

  7. Joy says:

    I agree that this is a tough one. I tend to be on the side of fairness even though I know life isn’t always fair. If this man is living with these two, then he does have some “rights” in saying things. If she wants or chooses to live with someone with her daughter then she can’t have total control. If she wants that then I feel she should be living alone with her daughter. I also feel if he’s supporting them monetarily in any way, she should respect him. I’d be really ticked off if I lived with someone for 5 years, paid for the home and food and some guy just waltzes in (a measly 6 months ago) and has more say in my life than I did.

    It was also only about shoes. How could it get this blown out of proportion? Me thinks something else is going on here. You have to remember how kids are and that at times, they will act in ways they shouldn’t and maybe this teen was almost “tattling” on this guy.

  8. Joy says:

    Lisa is at a doctor appt with her youngest daughter today but she’s going to call me when she gets home so I can’t answer any of your questions right now.

    I would “assume” mssc54 that yes, she’s living with this guy with her daughter.

  9. nikki says:

    Step parents should have a say in what goes on. It should be worked out with both parent and step parent and know where the boundaries are and they shouldn’t be crossed. What a tough situation. They need to be on the same page here, not one under minding the other. It just won’t work. Did this women have a problem with her boyfriend disciplining her daughter before she found out who her real dad was? Has this always been a problem? If not it shouldn’t be now. Maybe they need to sit down and reevaluate the disciplinary actions, b/c the circumstances have changed.

  10. mssc54 says:

    This kind of thing just gets me a bit angry.

    So at the tender age of eleven this mother decides that she needs to move she and her daughter in with this man.

    Now after five years of living as (apparrently) a cohesive family unit she suddenly decides this man has no “rights”?

    Wait, wait… how in the world is it that the girl was thirteen years old before she found out that her mom had been less than honest with ther with regards to her biological father?

    What sort of earth shattering news will she tell her when she’s eighteen? “Oh, by the way your twin brother was given up for adoption.”

    Here’s what you tell your friend.

    Tell her she should write a book on how to screw up a little girl’s life! This woman is dispicable and this young girl will only live to mirrow what she has learned from her mother.

    This really just ticks me off!!!

    If you really have influence on this “mother” tell her she owes it to her daughter to get the entire “family” into counseling! But she won’t do that because she will have to admit she screwed up and it appears that she is the only one who doesn’t… in her opinion.

  11. Sue says:

    I agree that step parents have “rights” to discipline. If the mom has such a problem with him yelling at her daughter, then I think something else is wrong. The mom has some issues of her own maybe.

  12. Mark says:

    My Stepdaughter is 16 and i have been in her life for thirteen years, her father is not in her life or does not pay child support, she shows disrespect towards me and her mother takes her side most of the time, she cursed at me and her mother didn’t even ask her if she cursed, i was raised to respect others, if one of my biological children talked that way to an adult i would discipline them, and i’m the soul provider, parents what if your spouse had a child and you was a step parent and he or she allowed the stepchild talk to you that way unacceptable, your teaching that child to show disrespect towards anyone. uncalled for you disrespect your spouse.

  13. Joy says:

    Hi Mark, thanks for stopping by. I do agree with you that kids should be taught to be respectful no matter how old anyone in the situation is.

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