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Old 02-21-2012, 08:49 AM   #1
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Children: 10 year old step-daughter
Default Step parent/step child discipline...

I had great fun reading the spanking debate threads! So I wanted to ask my own questions regarding spanking and other forms of discipline from a step parent perspective.

How many of you have a biological child who spends time with a step parent? And those of you with that situation, do you agree with that step parent disciplining your child when necessary?

If you, yourself, are an advocate of spanking, does that disciplinary tactic extend to the step parent (assuming you trust that person to practice good judgement)? Or do you expect the biological parent to handle all discipline and leave the step parent out of it?

Now, let me say that I do not think that resorting to a spanking in every situation or as a 1st level of punishment is right. I DO believe that not all children benefit (for lack of a better term) from spankings just as not all children benefit from taking things away or time outs.

I grew up with a mom and dad who spanked our bottoms when we misbehaved. Mom used a big wooden spoon. Do I feel I was abused? No way. Was it effective? Yes it was. We also got soap in our mouths when we wouldn't stop sassing. Let me tell ya - that leaves an impression and it only happened a couple times b/c I learned to bite my tongue! Did it damage me in any way? No.

Again, just b/c I was raised with some amount of corporal punishment... doesn't mean I think it is effective in every situation with every child. My SD10's (10yo step daughter - is that the right shorthand? I'm new to this) mother spanks her but does not want me or my husband to spank. In fact she'd rather us not punish in any way. She about has a coronary over the subject. Well, sorry, but when the child misbehaves, she's going to be punished. And I'm not of the opinion that the "Wait until your father gets home" strategy is effective. I spend a lot of time with my step daughter and DH is not always home - discipline is practiced as needed.

Now, when she was younger taking things away simply did not work! She was not attached to anything deeply enough to care about not having it. No TV? Didn't care. No [insert other fun activity here]? Didn't care. But the thought of a spanking scared her into obedience! Most of the time a threat would be enough. The times she thought the threats were idle and kept misbehaving, she got spanked and we always reinforced the punishment by making sure she understood the action/consequence. Spankings have been very few and far between but for HER, they WORK where other punishments did not!

A little older now, she has a few things that are important enough to her that grounding works. Her favorite sweater, Nintendo DS, mp3 player, no sleepover with grandma, etc... she thinks twice when faced with losing these privileges. However, we've had a problem now and then with lying (and I've never seen anybody stick to a story like this girl!) and arguing/disobeying. Her BM tells her all the time that we are not allowed to spank her so she test the waters sometimes. And she still sometimes gets spanked.

I read in the other spanking threads that 10-12 years old is too old for spanking. I don't think so - not when they throw themselves on the floor and ACT 3 years old! Some instances call for whatever works to punctuate the fact that they can not lie/disobey/back talk/etc... and sometimes grounding just doesn't get the point across.

I'm also of the opinion that a little bit of embarrassment goes a long way. We've had to discipline in front of friends/family a few times when she thought she'd get away with something simply b/c there were other people around. Being ashamed of your bad behavior is a characteristic that will serve well into adulthood, I think. I work at a high school and daily see the results of absentee parenting. As teenagers, they have gotten away with too much without consequence throughout their lives and it shows.

And my last question - for you step parents out there who are faced with situations requiring discipline, what are the strategies you've found MOST effective???
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