One of the trickiest things to navigate if you remarry and create a blended family is stepparent discipline. Co-parenting comes in many forms and this is absolutely one of them that takes a bit of adjustment. After all, you want to both be a good parent, but also don’t want them to resent you. Striking that balance can be hard, but you can make it easier by using the right techniques…
Stepparent Discipline: Do It Right
Let your spouse take the lead
When it comes to stepparent discipline, the stepparent shouldn’t be taking the lead initially. During those early months, your stepchild may not fully respect your authority. Therefore, when you do try and discipline them, they’ll either ignore you or get even worse. That’s why you want your partner to take control.
It’s good to let your spouse handle discipline at first. They’ll be more experienced, and your stepchild will hold more respect for what they say. You can try to talk to them in a positive manner when they’re misbehaving and see if they stop. But if they don’t, then let your partner take over.
Don’t be too harsh
When it comes time to implement some stepparent discipline, it’s important to not go to far. Being too harsh on your stepchild will cause them to view you as mean and hurt your relationship. Adjusting to being a stepparent can be hard and you may be a bit stressed. Still, you don’t want that to come out in your punishments.
Your punishments should ideally fit with what your stepchild has done wrong. For example, if they were being mean to someone else, you shouldn’t ground them for a week. Instead, explain why what they did was wrong and send them to their room to calm down. When they don’t feel like they’re being punished unfairly, kids tend to better understand why what they did was wrong.
Hear them out
An important part of stepparent discipline is giving your stepchild a chance to tell their side of things. Much like you have, they too have been going through a lot of change. Not only did they have to deal with their parents divorcing, but now they must adjust to a “new” family. This can bring up a lot of emotions and make them act out in response.
However, by giving them a chance to talk, you can better understand how they feel. That way, you can see why they may be acting a certain way. Instead of punishing them, encourage them to talk to you and use it as a chance to help them and improve your bond.