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Old 03-24-2012, 03:03 PM   #1
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Default Finding a balance in discipline

MG on March 24, 2012 at 10:45 am said:
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Hello,

I have a question I’d like to put out there to your forum.

I am the stepmother of a 3 1/2year old girl who comes to visit her dad every weekend. Our questions and complications are kind of the reverse of many things I am reading on your site and others.

We try very hard to give consistent guidance and discipline in our home but only having her 2 nights a week we are finding any progress is lost. Our little one tends to get whatever she wants at her mother’s and now is at the age of saying no to everything. She yells and demands for things in a way we aren’t ok with. When she says no to her mother, she gets told she will get candy or something she wants. When she is here we try to communicate with her that she needs to cooperate, listen and it’s not okay to be rude and demanding. We understand she is only 3, but we are trying to introduce that she needs to do as asked and she currently is working on, No to everything unless given something, and even then it’s up to her.

My husband finds it difficult because he doesn’t want to constantly be begging her to listen or constantly making her cry cause she isn’t getting what she wants. We only have her for 2 nights and want to enjoy and love her every second. It’s hard when she is putting up a fight for everything and we don’t give like her mother.

Her mother often says to my husband when she asks for things from us, says she is exhausted from having her all week and all we do is play all weekend. It is much more than that, we deal with the same parenting issues just for a shorter time period but it’s still just as challenging. She holds a lot of resentment that she is the single parent 5 days a week, we try and offer as much help as possible but she is also reluctant to accept it or see we are there to help. Due to that resentment, she doesn’t communicate well when my husband tries to address things, often times he is not taken seriously or it gets turned around.

How should we deal with being consistent in our home when it’s so different from the rest of the week and should we address things with her mother?
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Finding a balance in discipline

The only thing I can advise is to keep doing it. Eventually, she will learn that things are different at your house as opposed to mom's.
Its hard with two different households that hold two different types of parents.
You will be fighting an uphill battle-no doubt-but if you stay true, eventually, she will get it.
I have seen this with my kids as well. Some things have fallen through the cracks, but not big enough stuff to worry about.
You cant change the parent she is, so you just have to remain consistent with how the two of you are.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Finding a balance in discipline

I was in this situation when my X and I were together.
The mother bribed her son with candy, and did not instill any manners. It was gimmie this, or I want that with a tantrum to follow if we did not comply to his demands. I'm sure the X felt the same as your husband, with the tears and constant battling. Eventually the boy spent more time with us, and meanwhile the mom and her friends were teaching the boy to hate me. I think all you can do is what WS suggested, but with no dicipline from mom, and since the majority of time is spent with her, don't hold out for any change. Expect more rebellion while the child is there.
Step parenting ~ not a situation I would eagerly put myself in ever again!
Good luck to you! Best Wishes, ZM
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Finding a balance in discipline

Consistency is the key.

Honestly, I found the age of 3, much, much more difficult than 2. I think it should be the terrible three's.

Eventually your stepchild will understand the behavior that dad expects at his house. She will stop expecting dad to behave like mom. But it will take awhile.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Finding a balance in discipline

I would recomend buyin the book: Setting Limits With Your Strong Willed child, Eliminating conflict by establishing CLEAR, Firm, and respectful boundaries. By Robert J. MacKenzie, EdD.

Maybe get a copy for mom too. It's full of great parenting advise for any/every parent. It might help all of you... I know it pointed out to me a lot if things I could be doing better and change. Great read.
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