What to do when step children don't listen

I'm not going to go at the topic of making step children listen to you from the perspective of a parent, but rather as someone who has been a step child.

I may not know what exactly works, but I sure can tell you what doesn't.

For one, don't try to pretend you are the actual parent (maybe with exceptions if you have mainly filled that role, the birth mother isn't involved, or it addresses the immediate physical safety of the child.) It's just rude, and it's not the same as having your actual mother around at all, as I'm sure you all realize.

Make sure boundaries are established in the beginning and stuck to... Not only between you and the child, but between you and the father in regards to the child. I feel like over stepping your bounds in this situation can cause tension in the whole unit- the child, the father, the birth mother, everyone will be affected.

All it takes is one in-your-face you-do-it-my-way moment to create a ton of rebellion. I know at one point my father's ex-girlfriend tried to play those little power games with me and I just straight up left. My father stood up for me, but I was not about to hang around and be disrespected in my own home because someone decided she could step into a parenting role. I remember she used the words “If you were my child... blahblahblah mean comments.” I think that is the core of it. I was NOT her child, and I did not care how she would handle it. As far as I could see, it was rude, out of bounds, and frankly, a moot point.

I feel like this is especially true if the kids are older... they are used to their ways. You're kind of invading their home, at least it seems. They already have a well-established dynamic with the father and you can't just come in and decide you know better. It won't do anyone any good.

Understand that it isn't your child and your ideal parenting techniques may not mean a thing. I think that is part of getting involved in a relationship with someone with children. I'm sure you ladies wouldn't let a man, even one you loved and decided to accept into your home come in and say... “Well, I think your house should look like this and you should parent this way or I'm going to make it a constant fight.”

Obviously, if you're in that serious of a relationship, there will have to be some give on everyone's part, the new man would obviously need some personalized space and the kids would have to adjust to having another person in the house, but again... boundaries. No woman has a right to walk into a home and fully disrupt the routine of the family unit. The kids come first, in my opinon.

That, I think, by far, is the most important thing. Boundaries, closely followed by respectful, calm communication including LISTENING-both to the man and the children.

(By the way, I was a teen when I was facing these things... I have no idea how it works for small children, but I think most listed above still applies)

What about you?
What is the most important way to make your step kids listen to you without causing too many waves?

Moms Expertise
    This is great advice... not being a step parent or a step child I honestly cannot relate but I hope your post helps someone in need!
      On the side of the step parent, use compassion and love with a bit of firmness. Always respect that you are not the parent but never expect to be disrespected because of that. On that note, take time to build a relationship of love and trust. Even if you just tolerate each other it is better than having an unhappy household. You can't make them like or love you but you can be a positive influence in their life.
        We went through a lot of family counseling to understand where each of us fit into this new family unit. It was super helpful. Granted everything we learned we took with a grain of salt. In the end, letting their kids know that I love and respect them as a friend and not as a 2nd mother. This is important because they already have a mother who is an active part of their life and it would confuse them further to think of me as a 2nd mom since one, we're not married and our relationship could dissolve at any time...two, I wouldn't want another female coming into my kids' lives and playing a mother role to them as that would hurt me...three, kids have a way of playing divide and conquer which I refuse to be a part of. I'm lucky that I'm friends with their mother, and she also knows my stance of just being their friend and not a parental authority.

        I think it's also important to enforce the 1:1 time with parent and child(ren). Not so much a big deal now as we are a ten minute drive away from the kids. When they are with us, I will casually announce that I'm doing a separate activity from them and that now is the time to have their alone time with their Dad. It shows them that I respect their relationship and clearly do not feel threatened by them spending time alone and not being included. I will participate in an activity with them but it will be for a short time so again they have time with Erik.

        I also tell the kids that I support whatever their parents agree on, and that if both parents don't agree on something, I won't support one parent over another. This has helped out tremendously with Erik and his ex understanding that I would never try to be a troublemaker when it comes to them co-parenting.
          I honestly think if it is a situation in which the child still has both the natural mother and father, that it is not the right of anyone else to step in and try to parent that child. I think all decision making should still be those of the actual parents. That is not to say that the step parent or potential step parent could not correct a child if doing something wrong. I do believe there needs to be boundaries, the child out of rebellion or simple hurt would definitely push the relationship limits if there were no boundaries. I think the role of the step parent should be that of patience, understanding and love.
            I wish my youngest daughter's step mother thought like you guys..She has been in my daughters life since birth and I know in some way for her that must be different than someone who came in way later in my daughters life. But to me she is always overstepping. I could list for days the way she oversteps, but the first thing that pops in my mind right now is with sports. She tries to come across as the mom with the over excessive picture taking and at the end of the soccer game when the PARENTS get up to make the bridge for the kids to run under she gets up and has to be involved.I personally thing she she sit down and watch and be supportive but quiet. It makes my daughter uncomfortable enough with all three of us there. She also goes overboard in front of me sometimes with the hugging and kissing ans I love you's to my child right in front of me and it bothers me and my daughter.Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she loves her but I don't wanna see all that when I'm standing right there..And to top this whole situation off she called herself a soccer mom on her facebook page saying something about she didn't realize it was going to be so hard to get up so early for the games and that it was tougher than she thought to be a soccer mom! And I saw it and was not happy!To me you can not be a soccer mom to a child you are not the mother of..I am there at every game there is no need for her to be trying to play mommy! So I can only imagine how she is with her when I'm not around.
            About Cassaundra Owens
            Birth: February 13
            On Moms.com since: Oct 11, 2013
            I'm a little strange, pretty green, and learning to live life as a wife, future mother, and entrepreneur. Right now, my husband and I are trying for our first after 3.5 years of infertility and 2 losses. Viva la adventure! Join me too at MortalMommy.com!