Master the Art of Step-Discipline
Becoming an official stepparent is not an invitation to start doling out consequences and parenting advice. Dr. Carl Pickhardt, psychologist and author of Keys to Successful Stepfathering, offers these words of wisdom for new stepparents:
- Discipline should only come from the biological parent for at least the first six months to a year. While it may be tempting to establish a tone of authority early on, remember that the parent has a connection with the child that has developed over time. The stepparent, by contrast, should feel welcome to offer input. He or she has the ability to be objective in a way a parent does not.
If you have to discuss a disciplinary issue with your spouse, do so with tact and sensitivity. If a child misbehaves, resist the urge blurt out, "I can't believe you let her get away with that! I'd take away her phone privileges for a week." Instead, express your concerns in a calm, non-evaluative tone. "I disagree with the way she is behaving. This is why and this what I think could make a difference in the future. What do you think?"
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