Skip to Content

The Universal Strategy for Disciplining Stepchildren

Sharing is caring!

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#f1cd99″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#f1cd99″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#f1cd99″ icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

I’m so excited to welcome my blogging friend, Jeniece, today. Jeniece writes about planning, homemaking, faith, and organizing a large family. I’m excited to have her share her perspective about disciplining stepchildren today.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

The life of a stepparent-stepchild relationship brings a whole new world of challenges. Many factors can make or break it, especially disciplining stepchildren.

When you try to enforce a rule you may hear “I don’t have to listen to you”, “You’re not my mom”, or “I only do what my dad says.” However, you may not hear those words. You just feel the resentment with their body language. Their look says it all.

How in the world is this going to work?

I have the answer. I’m a child of divorce with a stepmom and stepdad. Plus, I’m a stepmom myself! I know how tough it is.

The answer for this situation is very simple. It is more a comparison of roles than deliberately coming out saying, “I’m in charge”, “Your dad agrees with my decisions”, or “I’m a parent in this house”. You won’t have to say those things.

When it comes to disciplining stepchildren, there is one role to compare yourself to. One role that is almost universal for all kids to obey.

When disciplining stepchildren, take on the school teacher’s role.

Students must obey the teacher, but obviously it’s not their parent (unless you homeschool 🙂 ). Students are disciplined by school teachers. Students meet a new school teacher every year and endure change of style in all areas, including discipline strategies.

Step-parenting isn’t much different.

Stepchildren have a new parent role in their life. Stepchildren must obey the stepparent as they would obey any other adult: school teacher, friend’s parent at a sleepover, etc.

Isn’t that a great comparison that’s not really brought up in the heat of the moment? Parents are often so defensive about the stepparent’s role they forget that a stepparent is an adult. A parent is an adult. A teacher is an adult. A friend’s parent is an adult. A boss is an adult.

Children need to learn to obey adults and show respect to them, regardless of the relationship. One day these children are going to have careers where they may not agree, or like, their co-worker or boss. If they show disrespect or cause a scene, the boss won’t say “He’s just having a hard time adjusting”. They will get fired!

So how do we do this? How do we emphasize that proper role? Can disciplining stepchildren be done in a positive way?


Disciplining Stepchildren With 5 Strategies

  • Be positive more than negative
    Don’t down talk the other house. Don’t have a pity party. Say positive words and do positive actions. It will be fun and refreshing for them.
    If a teacher criticizes a child on the first day, they may lose them for the rest of the year.
  • Build your relationship
    Don’t focus so much on how they don’t listen to you. Focus on how you can play and make their life fun. It’s a lot easier to slide in “Hey, can you grab your trash off the table and throw it away? Then let’s go play outside.”
    If a teacher spends all their time instructing at the front of the classroom, they’ll never get to know their students until they get into small groups or have one on one time.

When it comes to the action of disciplining…

  1. Use logical consequences
    I LOVE logical consequences. Basically, logical consequences totally take the pressure off you. They make sense. Stepchild won’t pick up his trash? Maybe his hands are too tired, so he can’t use them for anything else, including games.
    If a teacher uses timeouts for all consequences, the student will eventually not care and just “do the time.”
  2. Handle it at your house
    This is a tough one. Whether you have your stepchildren 1, 2, 5, or 10 days, it’s hard. You hate to discipline when time is precious. This prevents the child from forgetting what they did. It mostly prevents the other house from handling your issue. It allows you to end your time on a good note.
    Teachers handle consequences with the students they had the issue with, not waiting for another teacher to step in.
  3. Make it immediate
    I don’t mean react and flip out! But provide a consequence as soon as possible to help the child make the connection where they went wrong. With limited time with your stepchildren, it’s easy to just want good days so they “want” to be at your house. If you push off a needed consequence, you may lose that learning moment and lose respect by letting it go.
    Teachers have classes that range from 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time. Think about high schoolers! They have to act quickly, but logically.

I hope these ideas help you. I have shed my tears. My heart has been stabbed. I know the feeling of not being wanted. I am the stay at home mom and stepmom that works hard at treating my biological children and stepchildren fairly. We have been through four different visitation schedules, so with that comes more changes. It’s tough! But totally doable. And I love them with all my heart.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jeniece is a mom of three including twins, and stepmom of two. She’s been married for seven years and loves everything to do with organizing life as a family. She writes about family management strategies, babies, kids, and parenting. Her goal is to inspire other moms by supporting and connecting with them. When Jeniece isn’t writing or surrounded by family, you’ll find her in a quiet place outside in the warm sunshine reading or simply enjoying God’s creation.[/author_info] [/author]



Sharing is caring!


Thursday 7th of April 2016

What an insightful and practical group of suggestions for disciplining stepchildren. I'm a former teacher, (but not a step-parent) and I can say that when my inner teacher comes out in Wal-Mart or the playground, kids listen. Thanks for sharing this post with the #EverythingKids this week.

Alison Lange

Thursday 7th of April 2016

My mom was a teacher and she had such a hard time restraining herself in public. ;) But it's true! Kids listen!

Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

Wednesday 6th of April 2016

This is a great suggestion. A step parent situation could be tough, but this seems like a really logical way to approach it.

Thanks for sharing at the Friday Funday Blog Hop #FFBH!

Alison Lange

Thursday 7th of April 2016

Really, I think it could apply to all parents. Sometimes I feel like my own kids aren't listening and it's so frustrating, especially when you're in the moment! I like the idea of removing yourself and viewing the situation with a different perspective!

Rachel @ Smart Mom Smart Ideas

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

Great comparison to a teacher role. This analogy can be used in so many situations with children to whom you are not the parent, but are responsible to care for.

Logical consequences are a good for children to learn their boundaries and your expectations. Thanks for sharing at Mom-to-Mom Mondays.

Alison Lange

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

Using logical consequences is a great discipline technique. My friend used to mentor delinquent youth and followed the Love and Logic series, which is based on that. They're great books.