Raising a child that is not yours (1 Viewer)

Big_L

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Anyone have experience with this?

My situtation is as follows. I am engaged to a wonderful woman. She has a 12 year old child from her previous marriage. Who doesn't have a kid from a previous relationship these days, so that in of itself is no big deal. Well, once my girl and I decided we were going to get married at some point she asked me if I would help her child with his slumping grades, so I did. Her son has been raised by his mother and is kind of sensitive. I as a veteran of our Armed Forces, can be very loud and confrontational, so I have to get up close and personal when the young man decides he is not going to do assigned tasks. The issue I have is I feel that she undermines me alot by babying (is that a real word?) him while I am in the process of disciplining him. When he fails to accomplish tasks, I remove X Box 360 privlleges. Right now he owes me 10 weeks of X Box time for failing to take out the trash, etc. He does know that when I say 10 weeks he has 10 weeks, his mother always gives in after 2 - 3 days. However recently he has started to talk back to me (all of which is expected), but I don't feel I can punish him how I would punish my own son, who is 13. Also when he does talk back his mother thinks it is funny. I have not said anything as of yet because she is real sensitive and overprotective of the child. Anyone have any ideas?
 

Saint by the Bay

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This problem exists if it's your child or not. It's critically important for parents to be on the same page in regards to punishment.

If I can make one suggestion as a father of four. Extremely long punishments are completely ineffective. The kids get used to living without whatever it is you took from them. Furthermore you lose the leverage of punishment if they have lost something for months. What's left to lose?

My general rule is anything longer than 2 weeks is worthless.
 

615saint

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More effective to lose something, get it back and then lose it again. 10 weeks in a row is numbing, Saint by the Bay is right - you get used to being without. Plus it sounds like your girl is not going to make it stick anyway.

Get on the same page with your wife-to-be. It's pointless to make idle threats about punishments that you can't make stick. In the short run it is frustrating and in the long-run it undermines your authority and position as a disciplinarian.
 
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Thanks for the insight. However, I can't punish him for something and then when he does it again not punish him. He is also a little older and should be able to understand that if he fails to do something, then there are consequinces(sp). Kinda like compounded interest.
 

SuperQuincy

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You need to take issue with the woman. If she is underminding you, and laughing when your dealing with her child and he is talking back. Well speak no further... there is your problem right there. That his mom, and she thinks its ok, so who are you in his eyes to say its not.

Start there, with mom on board, everything and anything will be as instructed by you. You need to lay down the law and let them both know there will be structure in you house, and in you life, period.
 

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...but if your reaching 10 weeks its clearly not working as a tactic for reversing the behavior. It's the equivalent of betting someone who makes $10 an hour a billion dollars. Even if you win you'll never see the money so the bet is meaningless.

Punishment shouldn't be a completely punitive exercise when it comes to kids. It simply doesn't work because they don't have the capability to even project past a few days at that age. A 10 week punishment for a 12 year old may as well be a billion years. They can't even project and visualize 10 weeks yet. His psychological reaction will be the equivalent of you taking it away for good. It no longer comes into the equation and thus does nothing to change behavior.

What I do is my kids have "game time". One hour per day on the weekends. They lose that incrementally as a punishment. Honestly though they don't need to be punished very often. This way they always have something to lose they can still project to and visualize. They also can earn game time for doing things right. Positive reinforcement is also an important tactic especially in that age range.
 

saintfan-n-alex

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have no kids mine or anyone else's but i am a step kid - but seems to me if your son and her son live in the same house, with the same parental situation (one step parent, one biological parent) you would have basically 4 different situations of "rules"

your kid and you
your step kid and you
her kid and her
her and your kid

seems it would be best for everyone to follow the same "rules" or no one will follow any "rules" mainly the kids, and frustration is bound to grow in the family unit.

do yall do allowances? thats was how we did it, i had certain chores to do, my bio-sister has certain chores - we earned an allowance, we didnt do the chores we got no allowance and that determined what we did that weekend as we paid our own admission etc.

when my step sister and step mom entered the picture, there was some of the "your not my parent" going on but not when it came to chores etc because we all had the same "benefit" or "penalty" for doing them or not doing them - allowance
 
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Big_L

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Hmmm, I like that idea of gametime. I guess what happens is I give him ways to earn it back, and then the very next day he fails to do his assigned chores, I mean the very next day. I am stepping in midstream and I have been tasked to fix a problem. I see that problem his school work as a culmination(sp) of his total lack dedication and initiative in everyday life.
 
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Big_L

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have no kids mine or anyone else's but i am a step kid - but seems to me if your son and her son live in the same house, with the same parental situation (one step parent, one biological parent) you would have basically 4 different situations of "rules"

your kid and you
your step kid and you
her kid and her
her and your kid

seems it would be best for everyone to follow the same "rules" or no one will follow any "rules" mainly the kids, and frustration is bound to grow in the family unit.

do yall do allowances? thats was how we did it, i had certain chores to do, my bio-sister has certain chores - we earned an allowance, we didnt do the chores we got no allowance and that determined what we did that weekend as we paid our own admission etc.

when my step sister and step mom entered the picture, there was some of the "your not my parent" going on but not when it came to chores etc because we all had the same "benefit" or "penalty" for doing them or not doing them - allowance

My son lives in Dallas with his mother. He doesn't like her son and her son doesn't like him so my son stays up in Dallas and calls me.
 

varanook

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I have 2 stepchildren ages 18 and 15. I have been around them for 13 years and have never heard, "you are not my father I don't have to listen to you" They have done dumb stuff but are decent kids.

It is vitally important that you and your wife to be show a unified front. Y'all can figure punishments behind closed doors and then approach the child AND THEY HAVE TO STICK.
SBTB and 615 Saint are right kids get used to going without pretty quick. Plus they will drive you crazy following you around 24/7. It is much more effective when things like waking up at 4:00 AM to clean for a solid 7 days are given. Yes, that includes school days and weekends. Plus homework turned in to you or fiance daily.
or
Going without TV/internet/radio/etc.. plus chores listed daily (baseboard cleaning or really anything that needs doing) after school but after homework and 10-12 hour work days on Sat and Sun with a the typical breaks like 9 AM 12 noon lunch and 2 PM break. After work though I let my kids have free time till bed time at 8:00 PM where they could read only.
No longer than 2-3 weeks though but make it hurt. You will look like a step-monster at first which is why it is important the wife back you 100% ALL THE TIME.

also be very explicit what the punishment entails and why he is being punished.

Step-kids are just like regular kids they want and need boundaries. They will be happy you set them in the end. Talk to him from time to time Eventually it will get easier.

edit-Earning privelages like Saint fan in alex and others say works very well. also. That should be done regardless.
 
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Saint by the Bay

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Hmmm, I like that idea of gametime. I guess what happens is I give him ways to earn it back, and then the very next day he fails to do his assigned chores, I mean the very next day.

Well you also have a bigger problem than I do. Mine were raised from day one by me so there's a strong foundation. Clearly he doesn't have to foundation of respect and discipline and that's going to be awfully hard to teach at this age. People claim I'm pretty good at this child raising thing :ezbill: but it's easy if you do it right from day one. Much harder to come in later in the game. What your doing is the equivalent of being the back up QB coming of the bench in the third quarter trailing by 21. What's worst for you is it doesn't sound like you have the support of your teammates.

How much time have you invested into connecting with him outside of homework, discipline etc.? How involved at all is his own father in his life? There are so many variables . No matter what your going to have to be patient because it will take time. Twelve years of bad parenting won't be corrected over night.
 
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I don't thinks it is bad parenting, it is over motherly parenting. She does everything for him and he is used to that. I come along and am like "Hey, pick up after yourself, do this, do that." His dad is active duty over in Korea, I guess this summer he will go and spend it with his father. I was just going to say what you said though, you had that base laid from day one, I have not. Thanks for the advice though, I will try to adjust it to my situation.
 
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I tried the taking away for a while and that didn't work. Kids don't react the same as we did because there is so much for them to do. I know growing up I had limited activities if I wasn't allowed to go play with friends. Today, the TV, DVD's, and video games are pretty much expected so kids don't really appreciate what they have.

What I have found to be particularly effective is assigning time consuming and numbing activities. I've found that mine dread having to write lines. At 12, I started with 500 lines, but have since pulled back to only 100. I do however say that only school work takes precedence over the lines. There is no video games or play allowed until all the lines are done.

I've also gotten creative and found nice odd jobs around the house that need to be done like pressure washing the driveway and fence. And they understand that I can be extremely nitpicky about the quality so doing it fast just means it has to be done a second time.

It sounds like things might be spinning a bit out of control. I'd start by talking to your girl and explaining that you are trying to help, but she isn't on the same page and that allows the child to find loopholes and work you two against each other. Sit down with her and figure out a pre-determined list of penalties for actions and then share that with the child. Put it in writing and stress to her that she has to live up to it as well. See if you can get her to agree to her own penalty if she lets the child off easy.

An other thing that can help is to set up a reward system as well. If you achieve A's on the report card then I will buy you a game for the x-box etc.
 

bclemms

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Anyone have experience with this?

My situtation is as follows. I am engaged to a wonderful woman. She has a 12 year old child from her previous marriage. Who doesn't have a kid from a previous relationship these days, so that in of itself is no big deal. Well, once my girl and I decided we were going to get married at some point she asked me if I would help her child with his slumping grades, so I did. Her son has been raised by his mother and is kind of sensitive. I as a veteran of our Armed Forces, can be very loud and confrontational, so I have to get up close and personal when the young man decides he is not going to do assigned tasks. The issue I have is I feel that she undermines me alot by babying (is that a real word?) him while I am in the process of disciplining him. When he fails to accomplish tasks, I remove X Box 360 privlleges. Right now he owes me 10 weeks of X Box time for failing to take out the trash, etc. He does know that when I say 10 weeks he has 10 weeks, his mother always gives in after 2 - 3 days. However recently he has started to talk back to me (all of which is expected), but I don't feel I can punish him how I would punish my own son, who is 13. Also when he does talk back his mother thinks it is funny. I have not said anything as of yet because she is real sensitive and overprotective of the child. Anyone have any ideas?

I don't have the first child so I may not be who you want to hear from. However, I have had a step father that I hated from the day I met him and have a step mother that undermined my father during any discipline situations with her own children.

My ex step father thought from day one that he had some sort of earned parental rights. He has 5 daughters of his own and didn't meet him until my mom was in a serious relationship with him. At the time I was about 10 years old and already upset with my parents from the divorce.

My step father owned a chain of tire and accessory stores at the time, he was in his mid 40's, wealthy and old fashioned italian catholic man. He treated both me and my brother very unfairly and said that since we were boys had to learn more responsibility and do more to help out than his daughters. He was much more strict with us and I resented him from day one. Each time I tried really hard to work things out with him he would do something to push me farther away. After a few years of this I finally quit trying and just stayed away from him. It caused problems with both my mom's relationship with him and with me. The guy was a total ******* but people would ignore his faults because of the dollar signs. I would not. When my mom got in a 4 wheeler accident and became paralyzed from the waste down he jumped down my throat for taking an hour to get to the hospital even after he found out that I was an hour and a half away playing golf when I got the call. When this happened it took everything I had not to lay him out in the parking lot right then. The first day home from the hospital he told my mom that he couldn't handle being with a woman in a wheel chair and moved to Miami and married a 20 year girl.

Other than being a **** the mistakes he made with me that could have been avoided was little things treating his step children the same as he treated his real children. Not thinking since we were boys it was his chance to raise a first son or that different values were placed on us. Not assuming he was our father from day one. I understood he would have a parenting role even as a kid, however, I did not think he had the right to try and undermine my mother or assume a parenting role from day one.


My step mom had two sons when she met my dad. The youngest was about 10 at the time. The oldest had dropped out of high school and moved to California to live with his dad. The youngest was a momma's boy to the fullest. His mom would pick his clothes up, make his bed up every day, make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich at the snap of a finger and make excuses for his every action. She also undermined any attemtp my dad would make at discipline or other parenting role. If he wanted something he got it and never had to do anything around the house. It became a stressful situation and caused many fights between my dad and step mom. It took several years before my dad managed to find his role and my step mom would allow the role on some level. Kris was always a good kid but he certainly took advantage of his mother. About the time Kris entered high school he really started taking a liking to my dad. He realized that all that time he was being hard on him because he cared and because his mom treated him like a baby. He was big into swimming and managed to get a free ride through college and graduated from Delta State and is trying to make the olympic team. After graduating college my dad and step mom took him to eat and he told my dad that he would have never graduated if it wasn't for him and thanked him for being tough on him when he was younger. He sincerely believed my dad helped to install values in him that made him a better man. Today they get along great, my dad considers him a son just as Kris considers my dad a father.

The one thing my dad always did was treat him the exact same way he treated us. He held us all to the same standards even if it was more difficult to do so. He also didn't rush into becoming a "father figure" and treated him like he would one of my friends for the first few months, this is the biggest suggestion I can offer.

I hope some of this helps.
 

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Yeah, basically it comes down to what most are saying. It's up to her how much influence and/or authority you will have with the child. Kids are awesome at triangulating and will do it as a first defense and again and again and again.

If you aren't on the same page about that and if she doesn't back you and you back her. You're going to have marital problems. Not to mention behaviour problems with the kid. You both need to get that worked out before you get married. You may have to change your style some and she may have to as well.
 

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