How To Discipline A Serious Disrespectful 14 Year Old Boy How Does a Stepdad Respond to "You’re Not My Daddy"?

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How Does a Stepdad Respond to "You’re Not My Daddy"?

“You’re not my dad.” How do you react after you have invested emotionally, physically and financially to raise a child that is not yours? Have any of you experienced this? Surprisingly, I never heard this from my two stepchildren, but to be sure, I felt there were times when their body language and behavior conveyed the same message.

When my wife and I got married, her two children were 10 and 14 years old. My wife and her ex had joint custody of the children. I imagine hearing it from your stepchild is the equivalent of them spitting in your face when they are frustrated or angry with you. If it’s a young child or young man, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and not take it personally because they don’t fully understand what they’ve said and how hurtful it can be.

But if they are teenagers, they must be held accountable for their actions. Their intentions to defy your authority and hurt you are obvious and a clear violation of the stepfather’s boundaries that must be addressed. Under these circumstances, my response would be, “Yes, I know I’m not your dad. I’m not trying to replace him, but you live in my house. If you want to continue living in my house, you” will have to respect and obey me. So what’s it going to be?” Plus, I’d say this with my wife, so the kids know we’re on the same page about this.

Here are some more answers:

I heard, “You’re not my dad” from my stepdaughter. I tried it once early on with my stepfather. The answer he gave me and the one I used with my stepdaughter: “You’re right, I’m not your dad. I’m not trying to replace them. I love you and have your best interests at heart, so you should do as I say.”

I made it clear from the beginning, “No, I’m not your dad – I’m under no biological obligation to take your shit!” But under no circumstances would I let it go without addressing it. When they say that, it’s designed to be a challenge to your authority in the house, not just something to hurt your feelings. The point is, you’re not their biological parent, they don’t really need to listen. The day any child in my home, regardless of age or parentage, decides to tell me they don’t have to listen, for ANY reason, they are in for a rude awakening. Besides, I think if your wife/husband hears this and doesn’t get their son or daughter under control then you have bigger problems.

Some additional considerations:

Consistency between households. If your stepchildren are members of two households, as much as possible, make sure that you and your wife are on the same page with your stepchildren’s biological father in terms of discipline. This helps avoid “My dad lets me…” or “My mom lets me…” when they’re with the other parent. Communicate bedtimes, homework schedules, consequences, and worries about what we will and won’t allow so that the rules remain relatively uniform from home to home.

A united front with a woman. Very important – your wife and you must remain united in matters before the children. This will be a challenge for most mothers, especially if they were single parents for a long period of time before remarrying. This will be a challenge for them because they are used to making and enforcing rules.

Because they are so used to making the rules, it will likely be difficult for them to step back and let you take control of a situation involving their child. Your wife needs to understand that questioning or correcting you in front of her children will undermine your authority and only give them more fuel to play both sides against each other. Even if you disagree with each other, it’s important to talk about it away from the children.

Remember this is a Process. It is not always easy for adults to learn to live with someone, and it can be even more difficult for children who do not always understand the dynamics of change. Even with a few years of marriage under your belt, your stepchild will still occasionally try to compare households when things don’t go their way.

For a successful family reunification, it takes a conservative estimate of at least seven years. Like marriage, it is a learning process. By trying to remain understanding, keep the lines of communication open, and be your spouse’s partner in discipline, you can help the transition go more smoothly.

To be heard, “You’re not my dad” is like your stepchild going nuclear – it’s an “offensive” weapon used to inflict the highest level of pain and damage. It is used when the child feels threatened, and there are no more arguments why he should not be forced or not to do it.

* Be sure not to answer truthfully – two wrongs definitely don’t make a right.

* Confirm that your child is right: “You are not his real dad.”

* Confirm while you are not his biological dad that it is not relevant to you because you still care about them and want the best for their lives.

Your genuine concern and consistent care will always win out in the end.

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