Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DISCIPLINE is not a dirty word, after all!


As it is important to explain the rules at a time when you can be assured of your (step)children’s full attention, it would be a good idea to call a family meeting for that purpose. Be sure to keep the meeting light and that you have a few fun things on your agenda also. Spelling out the rules and consequences you need to bear the children’s ages in mind and ensure that they understand.
Having explained the rules and consequences the biological parent can let his/her children know that you have his/her permission to take matters into your hands if a rule is broken in their absence. If the child/ren consider this to be unfair or unreasonable it might help to point out that it is them who hold the power. After all, they do have a choice in the matter and if they choose to break the rules, they will have to accept the consequences.

Points to remember about communicating rules and consequences:

* All family members should to be present
* They need be explained in a way that children of different ages can clearly understand them
* They need to be presented in a way that (step)children understand their own choice in the matter.


To help children grow into responsible adults they need to know that every action has a reaction and every behaviour has a consequence of some type.
Using the law of consequences to both your (step)child's and your own benefit, they need to be enforced in a kind, respectful and matter of fact way.

Points to remember about enforcing consequences:


* Consistently
* Patiently
* Kindly
* Respectfully
* The use of bad language
* Name-calling
* Yelling and screaming
* Ranting and raving
* Any type of violence
Please understand that I am fully aware how difficult the above is to implement even with one’s own children, how much more so with one’s stepchildren. I also know that attempting to discipline a child who only spends time with you every other weekend can feel wrong, inappropriate and simply too hard. This can be especially so if you know that after the weekend they will return to a home in which they experience no discipline at all. It is equally hard if your partner sees him-or herself as Disneyland Dad or Mum (who spoils the kids rotten)and is virtually impossible if your partner doesn’t agree with you on that score. An additional difficulty is faced by those step-parents whose stepchildren suffer from ADHD or some other “hidden handicap”.
Whilst it is never easy to stand your ground when it comes to discipline, it can be a lot easier if you remember that you are doing a vitally important job that will not only contribute to your (step)child’s future success and happiness but will also have a significant impact on the relationship you and your (step)child will have once they are adults.  

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