New SM needs help-Kinda long — The Bump
Blended Families

New SM needs help-Kinda long

Hello everyone:

I am new to the boards and a new SM. I have a similar problem that goes with the tantrum throwing/not listening to me SD. She is 8 years old and will still lay on the ground kicking and screaming if she doesn't get her way. When this happens we will tell her calmly we can discuss xyz when she calms down or if its bed time we just turn out the light and tell her we love her

1) Is this the right thing to do. I know yelling ignites it

2) SD saw my mom this weekend and mentioned shes been naughty lately at our house and her mom's. Since SD seems to confide in my mom a lot she asked her why shes been like that. SD answered " I want to spend more time with my dad and SM, but my mom won't let me. We have her 2 days a week due to DH's profession, 2nd shift in law enforcement. Our state doesn't see a step parent as a good of a fit as the bio parent. My mom basically had said your a big girl and to old for that.

3)  What are good punishments? Nothing seems to work, have pulled the usual, tv, wii, etc

I guess I am just at a loss on what to do. Her mom knows that she does this and has talked to SD about this as has my husband.

As much as we disagree a lot with BM on things, this is one thing we all agree on is behavior. I just don't feel SD listens to me is the bottom line. I don't want to be the evil step mom either. DH and I have talked about this and he agrees I need to lay down the law more. Its hard knowing whats a kid behavior and whats naughty if you don't have the parenting experience.

When she switches houses, punishments do stick. SD isn't going to be off the hook because she is at the other parents house. Sorry this is so long winded. I would appreciate the help. Thanks

Re: New SM needs help-Kinda long

  • That is a tough one. None of that is acceptable, and you know what is wrong/right behavior for a kid.
    You need to sit down with your H, and come up with a list of rules, expectations, and consequences for her.
    Then the two of you need to sit down with her, and go over them. Your H should be the main enforcer here, but he should let her know that if she is disrespectful to you, or if she breaks the rules/throws a temper tantrum with you, you have the responsibility of enforcing the consequences.
    If he is around though, it should be up to him to dole out the consequences.
    I am not a huge fan of taking away the tv etc. I don't think it works. I like to make them work, read/write a story about how their behavior is wrong, clean something they would not normally have to, do yard work they don't normally do, etc. All age appropriate of course.

    It sucks, and it sounds like she is doing it to get attention. Maybe talk to BM and see if you guys can get her a little more often.
  • My DH and I handle the discipline for our own kids (I have 2 - he has 1) and it works out very well.  While I'll let DH know if there has been a problem with his daughter, I don't get involved in the actual discussion/punishment.  This doesn't work for everyone but it does work for us.  It will also help me not become the evil stepmother.

    As for punishment, we will take away all things electronic (tv, computer, nintendo), cell phones, ground them, make them go to bed early.  Usually taking away electronics is painful enough to get the point across, but our kids are older - 16, 14 and 10.

  • Unfortunately BM will not give us SD more often. I agree she is probably doing it for the attention as well. We recently have started working with BM on giving stars and checks for being good and naughty. DH has been doing good with this. He doesn't always like doing a lot of discplining due to the fact he doesn't have his daughter that often. I disagree with this 100% and he is getting better at it, but has a ways to go.

    SD knows that she SHOULD respect me and if she doesn't there is consequences. BM has actually yelled at SD in front of me about her being naughty. As I posted before, we don't agree much with BM, but this is one thing we are on the same page with.

    However DH and I still disagree a bit on whats being a kid vs not listening. I don't believe I should have to tell her 3 times to brush her teeth, to to the bathroom etc. He says her not listening is being a kid.

    DH and I have different buttons SD will push.She will do something that I may overreact to and vice versa with DH. He may get mad over something I don't think is a big deal.

    I don't know if this is a big deal, but she also still has "accidents" in her pants. She will say she forgot to go or didn't make it to the bathroom in time. Is this normal for a 8 yo?

  • 8 is too old to be behaving that way.  If she throws a temper tantrum or attitude tell her to go to her room until she can talk about what is bothering her in a calm manor and as a big girl should (ie no baby talk, no whining, no eye rolling etc). 

    She behaves that way because it works, she is getting attention and it doesn't matter if it is good or bad, it is still attention.  You need to teach her that negative behavior isn't going to give her the desired result (ie attention).  I would not personally give her check marks - it reminds me of elementary school, while still drawing attention to her negative behavior, you have to stop what you are doing to give her a check, plus negative reinforcement in that manner doesn't work often.  I would go to a marble system or something that she can hold, like Hind suggested in an earlier post.  So that when she behaves in a way that isn't appropriate SHE can get her sassy behind up and bring you the marble, item etc.  Make her do the work for it! 

    Tell her what your expectations are.  If she does this in public tell her before hand that she will be removed and have to sit in the car or returned home and next time she won't be able to attend that kind of activity until she shows she can handle it.  If you can be consistant between the houses that is awesome, some of us don't have that luxury.  Otherwise you can work on correcting the behavior when she is with you.  I would also sit down and talk with her (you and DH) that you spend so little time together you want that time to be happy and fun...not where you have to punish her. 

    We have my SD every other week and she will be 9 in less than 2 months.  She behaves COMPLETELY different at our house versus at BM's.  BM puts up with ALOT more than we do and SD is usually in trouble fairly often.  I can't tell you the last time she gave us attitude or didn't listen, nevermind throw a tantrum!  She cries, screams, and has even hit BM and her bf! 

    Your SD may also be helped by speaking with a counselor to talk about her feelings and how to cope better and express herself in a more appropriate way. 

  • I agree about the counselor thing.How do I bring up the counseling thing again to him? I am afraid its going to come out wrong if I say I think SD needs counseling. Again DH thinks some of her behaviors are being a typical kid.

    I have her by myself tomorrow night. DH is working OT. I will see how things go. I am just frusturated.

  • image LovetheMidwest:

    I agree about the counselor thing.How do I bring up the counseling thing again to him? I am afraid its going to come out wrong if I say I think SD needs counseling. Again DH thinks some of her behaviors are being a typical kid.

    Some of her behavior is because she is a kid and some of it is because she is a kid with a split family and she is acting out. I think counseling is the way to go. Maybe approach the subject with your DH not as just your SD needs counseling, but maybe it's a family thing. You are having a hard time with this and aren't sure how to handle it, and even though I agree with what you have been doing so far, it's not really working. So tell your DH as a family you think you should all go see someone and see how to deal with the situation.  


  • I don't agree with the philosophy that some of it is because she is a kid and some is because she has a split family, that is the easy way out.  Do 8 year olds give attitude?  ABSOLUTELY!  Do 8 year olds get upset and yell?  ABSOLUTELY!  Tantrums however are not 8 year old behavior.  And personally I think that to say "its because her parents aren't together"  is BS and isn't good for her.  We are here because we have a blended family, that excuse seems like it gives permission for a kid to "act out" because of circumstances, and that isn't reality.  They need to be taught it isn't appropriate no matter the reason, not given an excuse. 

    As far as counseling.  I would tell DH that it isn't about seeing a shrink, it is about giving her coping skills and teach her how to deal with her emotions in a healthy way.  I told my DH that I thought SD may need to speak with a counselor and he wasn't happy about it but I explained that it was because she needs ideas on how to deal with BM's bf's daughter.  That I had given suggestions that don't seem to be working and maybe a professional has ideas that we didn't think of...he was more agreeable to that.

  • Taagent- I agree there is NO excuse for that behavior. I am on my own tonight with SD so I will see how it goes. DH and her left for a bit, but I have a sinking feeling it will be a loooooong night.  Room is already trashed and so is her bathroom.  I make her clean up her toys/mess before bed. I will let you know what happens. Thanks

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