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mcfly May 24th, 2011 12:50 PM

Eek, I'm new to this!
 
Hi everyone! :D Hope y'all don't mind if I jump in with a question? I think I'm going to be spending quite a bit of time on this forum pretty soon haha.

So, a short backstory. My fella has a 10 year old son from a previous marriage, he is on great terms with his son's mom (and so am I, which is awesome), and we get him every second weekend. (I've only been part of this for a short time, as we only recently moved in together.) He's such a great kid and I absolutely adore him, and he seems to really like me too, which is an awesome start. Buuuut of course there are problems.


The big things for me:

-I don't know when it's appropriate to discipline him, if it is at all. Little things like if he asks for ice cream for breakfast I will say, "nope, your options are cereal or eggs with toast" or something and Paul has encouraged me to do so and he backs me up on it. But other stuff, I don't know where my place is. There have been a couple of small incidents (for example, he plays too rough with my pet rabbit sometimes - it's accidental, he is not trying to be cruel) and I've told him to please be more gentle or the rabbit will have to go back in his cage. He listens well, apologizes, and obeys immediately, so I'm fine with leaving it at that, but Paul will sometimes snap at him and angrily tell him that he'd better listen to me. I appreciate the backup, but I really don't feel like it's necessary in this sort of situation.

-I am REALLY not a fan of the way Paul encourages him to be masculine. For example, he is a bit scared of the dark and Paul doesn't give him ANY sympathy, and he actually berates him for being a sissy girl. I think that's an awful thing to say to a kid! Just because he's a boy doesn't mean he HAS to be brave and tough all the time. But again, I don't feel like it's my place to correct this or alter Paul's parenting strategies - his son, not mine. So I don't get involved, and I don't say anything.


So clearly we need to have a talk about this and lay out our expectations clearly. I just want to do it in a way that won't make him angry or upset. I don't want to criticize his parenting methods or take on more responsibility than he wants me to.

I was originally going to feel things out and see how it went, but now that we have an unexpected baby on the way, ironing out our parenting strategy differences is becoming much more important to me. I will NOT tolerate my son being called a sissy or a girl for not "manning up" (especially at a very young age) nor will I tolerate my daughter being discouraged from being brave or tough, or allowed to be whiny due to her gender. (We don't know the sex yet.) And I don't want to treat our child together significantly differently - that just isn't fair. I suppose I'm also a bit biased here because my dad was VERY strict and I was terrified of him. We are close now and I do believe that his strict discipline helped make me a better person in many ways, but I feel that he was unnecessarily cruel sometimes, and I don't want to perpetuate that. Y'know?

How do you approach these sort of issues?

K.A.T May 24th, 2011 01:10 PM

Re: Eek, I'm new to this!
 
The way you approached us is the best way to approach him. Just try to keep a calm and cool head the entire time, this will become a heated debate. So far I think you know your "place" just fine. But as time goes on you should be able to discipline the child more, if need be, in a way that is acceptable for all involved.

AMiner86 May 24th, 2011 01:21 PM

Re: Eek, I'm new to this!
 
My advice would be to focus more on the parenting style that you want to practice together with the new baby at first. That way, it's not really you overstepping your boundaries as a stepparent, it's a discussion of the upcoming child that you have together. Explain to him your feelings about your father's discipline and how you don't want to parent your child in that manner. Maybe that will open the door for a discussion about your stepson and it won't be in a way in which he feels attacked as a parent.

katiemama May 24th, 2011 01:26 PM

Re: Eek, I'm new to this!
 
Do you live together?

I have a "Lady of the House" mentality. My house, my rules. I honestly don't discipline SD because I leave the heavy handed stuff to dad (and haven't really had to), but I give her chores, tell her to put things away, handle her when she's rough on the dog...

She's under my roof - so yes, I treat her as my own.

However, my SO backs me up 100% on this. Sounds like your guy will too. If that is the case, realize that you not only have a right to ask for what you want from the child - but it's GOOD for the child for you to set boundaries and rules.

Regarding your SO's parenting style - I'd talk to him about it. I'd be very careful how you approach it - I would say you have noticed a/b/c and I would talk about your feelings related to the message it sends his kid. See how he reacts...

Good luck!

Rachel May 24th, 2011 03:26 PM

Re: Eek, I'm new to this!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by K.A.T (Post 23976734)
The way you approached us is the best way to approach him. Just try to keep a calm and cool head the entire time, this will become a heated debate. So far I think you know your "place" just fine. But as time goes on you should be able to discipline the child more, if need be, in a way that is acceptable for all involved.

I agree.

Quote:

Originally Posted by katiemama (Post 23976866)

However, my SO backs me up 100% on this. Sounds like your guy will too. If that is the case, realize that you not only have a right to ask for what you want from the child - but it's GOOD for the child for you to set boundaries and rules.

Completely agree. The worse thing that he could do is not support you. It's good that he does!

Quote:

Regarding your SO's parenting style - I'd talk to him about it. I'd be very careful how you approach it - I would say you have noticed a/b/c and I would talk about your feelings related to the message it sends his kid. See how he reacts...

Good luck!
Yes, I agree. I think it's really detrimental to a child to be berated for his/her fear. I think this definitely needs to be addressed, but in calm, cool, collected manner and not while the child is around.

My2miracles May 25th, 2011 10:36 AM

Re: Eek, I'm new to this!
 
I agree with talking to him about the parenting style you will both implement with your child and then at some point talk about how it will affect dss.

My dh isn't anything like yours but his ex's parenting style is way, way different than mine. Actually I parent differently than most people. So I had to teach dh the softer way to parent. Now that he's been doing it for a few years, he's totally on board. He sees how truly effective it is & how much better the kids respond.

bowlingbabe6 May 25th, 2011 12:08 PM

Re: Eek, I'm new to this!
 
welcome to the board! Everyone here is great and we all are very supportive of each other. I am a step mommy (our 2 year old calls me mommy) to two amazing boys ages 10 and 2, we get them every other weekend and their mom and i get along great and I am currently pregnant with my first. Although 'hubby"aka brian (we aren't married but we may as well be) and i have been best friends and have always wanted to be together since we were young teens, having the kids adjust to another woman in their lives has been difficult but moreso just in the beginning. I was introduced to corbin (our 10 year old) as daddy's friend at first mainly because I lived 2 hours away at the time (when we finally started dating after 10 years of being apart i was living 2 hours north of where we live now, i moved to be with him) so becuse we couldn't all spend every day together it was best like that for us to get to know each other, though he took to me right away, just as camden did.

At first, especially when we moved in together I wasn't sure of my place as well as far as discipline, not that we have to discipline them much at all yet, but still. I spoke to brian about this and he said, you are more of a mother to them then she is, you discipline them as they are your birth children. They are great kids, they don't act out, once in a while corb will have to be told to knock it off or we have to remind him to do something more than once but that's about it. Camden is a typically 2 year old..enough said lol!

but i would sit and talk together about your parenting styles at a time when you are both calm and cool and go from there. i think all the ladies have given great advice, welcome to the board!


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