How I Learned To Discipline My Stepson


How I transitioned from being fun to being in charge of discipline. And how I kept my sanity.

And then I was just left wondering: what happened to me? What happened to that cool chick he knew and loved, the one I knew and loved, the one who played fun games and let him stay up late? And how was I supposed to handle a position of authority when I had no idea what that meant, no idea what right I had to be that authority figure?

It was interesting.


So I had to figure out how to discipline a child who wasn't mine by birth. Techniques got innovative. Tantrums were met with a lack of interest on my part, thus bringing the screeching to a screeching halt. (No audience means no fun.) Destroying a piece of clothing, such as taking scissors to a pair of school uniform pants, meant using allowance or even tooth fairy money to replace it. Having a fit in a store over a toy that would not be purchased resulted in sitting in the car with me while his dad finished the shopping. The boy is smart, and now knows that whiny voices will get him nowhere, tantrums will get him even less, it kind of sucks to use his own money to buy new school pants, and I am the least fun person in the world with whom you can sit in a car. Flattering? No. But I'll live with it.

It helps that my husband is amazing. We always back each other up when it comes to discipline and, if we disagree, we do it in private. If one says no, the other echoes it. There is no playing one of us against the other. We are a team, an unstoppable team. My husband leaves it to me to set a lot of the rules and lets me know when I'm venturing beyond reasonable parameters. I worry constantly that I'm too strict, too insistent on teaching proper behavior and encouraging good habits. I worry that I'm going to become that Mommie Dearest I really don't want to be. So far, so good, because he tells me I'm doing fine. And he tells me his boy loves me. Parenting Conflict? Make Sure Your Kid Wins

To tell you the truth, I love that kid right back.

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