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Different discipline in different households?


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  #1  
April 24th, 2010, 06:16 AM
ElizabethS's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 11,976
I have a dilemma. My 3yo stepson is out of CONTROL. He spits on me, hits me, talks back, throws things, screams like a baby. I know part of this is normal, but he's to the point where I almost fear if he keeps it up he has oppositional defiant disorder.

Our household is a no spanking, no violence household. We parent through positive discipline, and we use timeouts as needed for major offenses. My two children are well behaved for the most part, but of course they are 2 and 4 so they have their moments, I am by no means claiming they are perfect.

However, my DSS's mom spanks him, and washes his mouth out with soap. When DH told her that he was spitting at me and hitting and back talking, she said "Well I give her permission to spank him AND wash his mouth out with soap". I am totally not comfortable with this, and we DO NOT parent this way.

Nothing seems to work with him, time outs, talking to him on his level, none of the positive discipline techniques we use on the other two. The only thing that seems to work is yelling and threatening (which I let DH do..I step back! I'm just not comfortable disciplining someone else's child, I feel its not my place). But I don't like the threatening and the yelling. My kids aren't used to it and watch as all this goes on and I DON'T want them to learn that is a normal way of interaction.

So help, what do we do? Obviously DSS's mom's way of doing things (spanking/soap in mouth) are not working as he's STILL out of control every day. Do we just keep persevering with our gentle methods? I hate this......I want my children raised a specific way and I just don't want that type of discipline in my house...
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Liz

Momma to Alex (2005), Cadence, (2008), Ethan (2010), Brayden (2012), and Adrianna Elise due September 19th 2014

Stepmom to two (2006, and 2009).



Last edited by ElizabethS; April 24th, 2010 at 05:35 PM.
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  #2  
April 24th, 2010, 10:30 AM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: In the enchanted forest
Posts: 5,257
First off, welcome. I am Chantelle, one of the co-hosts here on BF, I have a child from a previous relationship, my DH has a child from his 1st marriage & together we had 2 more kids.

I know what it's like about having different rules in different environments. I ran into this a lot w/ my step-son, he is allowed to watch Rated R movies, play w/ guns (real ones), talk like a truck driver & be rude. Well.. I was in awe... I didn't go for that & my DH wasn't putting his foot down. Long story short, my DSS is rarely around, and the reason is b/c he doesn't like me, and our house rules, and I refuse to accommodate him for the time that he's here & allow him to do things that I would never allow my family & friends & kids to do in my home. I had to set a standard and that is obvious that you want to do the same.

As far as spanking goes, it's not against the law (at least not in all states at this point), some parents are good about it & think it's fine, others aren't. Some love time-outs, others think it's waste of time. Everyone has a different way of laying down the rules. If you are uncomfy w/ things, then that's b/c you do not want to parent that way, and I think its' noble for you to say "I'm not comfortable w/ this & I do not believe in this"... on another note, the fact that your step-child is out of control, isn't acceptable either. Discipline (for the most part) needs to come from the biological parent. Unless of course, you are the one caring for the child b/c your DH/SO isn't around. Then you would need to set down the rules.

This is a hard thing for everyone. My DS' bio-dad does things differently at his house than I do at mine, but not so far out there that we have a battle (not much anyways). My DS' step-mom hasn't done that to my DS, at least that I am aware of. I would have a sit down heart-to-heart w/ your DH & say "I am not comfortable w/ spanking or washing his mouth our w/ soap, but I am not okay w/ the behavior, you need to step in & discipline your child b/c I cannot tolerate being treated this way". If he does his job right, he will do something about it. But... I will warn that most men/fathers, don't like to discipline b/c they feel guilty cuz the child doesn't live w/ them full-time (that's the issue I have w/ my DSS & my DH). I suck most of it up, bite my tongue & then usually leave or remove myself from what ever my DSS is doing to upset me & the kids.

I am not sure how helpful this was but don't change who you are as a person b/c that is what bio-mom wants you to do. But I would also set some serious ground rules about how you are treated & how your DH must do something ASAP too. If not, you will leave while the step-son is around b/c you can't be around that. It's not healthy. If you DH wants to deal w/ his outta control behavior than that's his deal, you shouldn't have to tolerate it..

(((HUGS)))
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  #3  
April 24th, 2010, 10:54 AM
Mega Super Mommy
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Location: Ohio
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I know exactly where you're coming from! My stepson came into my life when he was about 2 1/2 and none of the adults in his family used any kind of effective disipline. His mother believes in spanking and then some, her advice for when he talks back or says something he's not supposed to is to smack him in the mouth. This is not at all acceptable in my house.

My best advice would be to absolutely not do anything that you are uncomfortable with. Children pick up on way more than a lot of people realize and if you are not confident when you are disiplining then it is just not going to work. Your stepson will pick up on your lack of confidence and only feed off of it. Stick with what you're comfortable with and be consistent, consistency is key. It may take awhile, it took me about a year of constantly working my stepson to calm down his extreme behaviors. If you keep the same rules all the time and don't back down, eventually he will learn that certain things just aren't going to fly with you.

As far as DH is concerned, just sit him down, talk to him and just lay everything out on the table. Let him know that these behaviors aren't acceptable for your children and his son is no different, all the children are equal and should be treated in the same way. It's most likely going to be a difficult task to get through to him, but just keep trying until he eventually gets it through his head. In my situation, I happen to be the main caregiver for the kids in the house (my stepson is with us most of the time) and after many months of trying to get his help I finally just said that I was fed up with it. I told him that he either needed to get on board with me or I wouldn't be able to keep his son home with me. I know that sounds mean and I hated saying it, but there's only so much any person can take. When I gave him that ultimatum, our daughter was only a few months old and I just couldn't keep up with her and my stepson when he was throwing himself down on the floor kicking and screaming every single time he didn't get what he wanted.
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  #4  
April 24th, 2010, 05:41 PM
ElizabethS's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 11,976
Phew I am so glad that I am not alone in this! DH disciplines him the way his mom asks us to..he will spank him, and he will *threaten* the soap (but has never followed through). But I don't like my children witnessing this and IMO it doesn't help anyways. I just bought a book calling Parenting with Love and Logic and going to see if there are any tips. I know that children do better being parented in different ways sometimes, I just don't want my children seeing another child spanked when I don't allow spanking of my children. I also don't want my DSS to realize he is being spanked but the other children are not. KWIM? I believe all the children should be equal and parented in generally the same way while they are here.

Thanks for the tips! DH is on board with me and he tries to discipline him, but its just not working! And he's not always there to discipline..and I'm on bed rest 30 weeks pregnant so its hard for me to follow through..keep putting him back in time out, etc, when DH has to step out to the store etc. I think I'll just ask him to take him with him whenever he has to go somewhere while DSS is here.

What do you do when he repeatedly screams at you that he hates you when you tell him not to do something? Inside I just want to scream that I hate him too, obviously I'm an adult and can't and shouldn't say that lol. But do I just ignore it? Or say, "I'm sorry you feel that way, but I still like you?" It really irritates me and makes me feel awful everytime he says it and I know he knows it...thats why he uses it so much. I don't expect him to love me like his mom but I DO expect his respect while in my home.
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Momma to Alex (2005), Cadence, (2008), Ethan (2010), Brayden (2012), and Adrianna Elise due September 19th 2014

Stepmom to two (2006, and 2009).


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  #5  
April 25th, 2010, 09:47 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,091
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I think what you're doing with raising your children without spankings is very admirable and I commend your commitment to it under VERY difficult circumstances. It's unfortunate that your DSS's mother isn't onboard with this too because without everyone doing the same things, it's pretty much a lost cause. Children need consistency at that age. An older child can understand that there are rules at each home that may differ as may the consequences for breaking those rules but at 3? All he knows is he is angry at you for some reason and (in his mind) getting away with abusing you. For a child who has been spanked and (shudder) had his mouth washed out with soap, a time out isn't something he associates with punishment in the classic sense. He just sees it as him being singled out and that makes him more angry. I also would not rule out oppositional defiant disorder just yet, although it is probably a little early for that diagnosis. He may also have ADHD. Again, it may be a little early for that diagnosis as well but not necessarily. If he's constantly "off the reservation" with his behavior, there is probably some underlying cause that should be addressed by his pediatrician.
As far as when he screams that he hates you, yes, I would just tell him that you still love him. Kids do that to get a reaction and if his actions are met with love and acceptance, he will learn that he is loved and accepted. Eventually. LOL
This situation is by no means easy, I can tell. My hat's off to you for staying committed to your beliefs in a non-violent upbringing for your children--including him. One thing I did want to mention is someone needs to talk to the BM and tell her that the soap thing has got to stop. That can be considered abuse if the child ingests the soap because many soaps contain ingredients that can harm a child and washing a child's mouth out with soap almost guarrantees ingestion. (A woman in Florida was arrested for child abuse after washing her daughter's mouth out with soap and then taking her to a hospital because she was vomiting and sick. Turned out she had swallowed some and it made her sick) There are just so many other things you can do to discipline a child other than that. She needs to understand that what she is doing isn't just discipline--it's potential abuse charges.
Hope that helps some...HUGS!
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  #6  
April 25th, 2010, 11:07 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,032
I agree with what was said about when he screams at you. When he says that he hates you, tell him something along the lines of, "Well that's ok because I still love you." He needs to feel that your love in unconditional no matter what he says or does. My stepson still tells me that when he's in trouble sometimes, but I know that he doesn't mean it. For one, he's only four and I don't think he has the comprehension to even know what that word means, he just knows that it gets a reaction from some people. Also, within five minutes, after his tantrum is done and over with, he's giving me a hug and telling me that he loves me.

I also don't think it's a bad idea for DH to take him along when he needs to run to the store. Given the fact that you're on bedrest makes it extremely hard to follow through and do the things that need done as far as his disiplining so that's not an outrageous request by any means. I was pregant during the worst of my stepson's tantrums and even though I wasn't on bedrest it was still extremely difficult to repeat the process of putting him back in the timeout spot over and over and over and over again, especially because a lot of days I would be doing this for an hour.

It's probably hard to deal with all this when you're on the emotional roller coaster that pregnancy brings. I know it was for me and there would be times that I would retreat to our bedroom when my boyfriend was home just so I could cry it out for a few minutes.

You do really need to talk to DH about the spanking. Having one child being singled out with a punishment that the other children aren't subject do is just going to make your stepson's anger issues worse. Even though he's 3, he's still human and I don't think any of us like it if we are being singled out in anyway and your stepson is going to feel the same. The big difference between us as adults and him as a child, is that we know how to deal with our anger more constructively and he has no idea what to do with his frustration other than to act out.

And as far as the soap thing, it would definitely be considered abuse because it is something that could be potentially poisonous. I would have DH talk to his ex about because if you are the one to talk to her, it may come off in a way that is not intended and you are most likely to get an extremely negative response from her.
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  #7  
April 25th, 2010, 01:52 PM
ElizabethS's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 11,976
Thanks for the advice. I was really shocked when she told DH "Just tell her to wash his mouth out with soap". LIQUID soap. I just don't see how that's discipline!

I'm going to keep sticking with telling him I love him when he screams at me that he hates me. I'm going to talk to DH about just doing time outs and being consistent with him when he acts out.

I took lots of child behavior classes in college (my minor is child psychology), and I totally see all the classic signs of oppositional defiant disorder, but know he's too early to definitively diagnose.

I hate singling him out, and I certainly don't want my children witnessing a spanking, slap on the butt, or what not. That's not how my children or ANY children in my household will be raised.

Once again you girls have given me some great advice on here, and definitely reinforced a lot of what I was thinking and feeling!
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Liz

Momma to Alex (2005), Cadence, (2008), Ethan (2010), Brayden (2012), and Adrianna Elise due September 19th 2014

Stepmom to two (2006, and 2009).


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