Parenting Skills with Step Children
1. Parenting 101 is that you and your spouse are on the same page and give a united front towards your teen or tween. If you disagree iron out your differences before you present guidlines to your child.
2. The biological parent should usually give the rules and discipline. The child will always love the natural parent, but will possibly resent, complain, and accuse the step parent who tries to implement rules.
3. Put the marriage first not necessarily each of you first. What is best for the marriage vs what is best for you individually.
4. The biological parent is usually more sensitive to the biological child so listen to his/her ideas because he or she knows the child’s heart. That being said, the biological parent can also be more easily manipulated and teens are unbelievably successful in manipulation. Yes they will lie and yes they will say things in order to hurt and or guilt the parent.
5. Both parents should agree on the rules, but depending upon the situation only the biological parent needs to discuss without wavering to the teen what the rules are.
6. Manipulation is the biggest issue that teens do very well.
7. It is scary to think that you may lose the relationship with your teen or tween for a short time, but sticking to what is best for them is really loving them more than you love yourself.
8. Every parent fears that their child may commit suicide or hurt themselves if they don’t have the relationship or don’t do as the child wants. However, enabling is NOT helping. You are prolonging negative behaviors that will increase vs decrease. God deals with everyone, but only the desperate deal the God.
9. Sometimes kids have to hurt and have the consequences they need. It’s more than rules. It’s them learning that their actions do have consequences and because you love them you will implement and follow through.
10. Yelling and threatening do not work. Only sticking to the plan and being consistent works.
Every child and every situation is different and the above tools can be tweaked. If you feel like your child/young adult is suicidal in any way or has a plan, please get help right away.
The relationship with your child is important and developing that relationship is a great goal. However, it does not mean you give up consequences or do not follow through on disciplinary actions.
If you have a specific problem and you would like to set up an appointment, please call Christian Counseling of Arklansas at 870-935-4102. Remember these are only guidelines as your situation, age of the child and circumstances may warrant different actions.
Laura Hodges, LPC, NCC