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TOPIC: Step-Children Issues

Step-Children Issues 9 years 5 months ago #9010

  • Baz
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As I mentioned in my welcome post, my girlfriend has two kids from a previous relationship who are 3 & 5, and i've taken them on as my own. However i'm running into a couple of issues of late which are really annoying me.

Neither of the children listen to me at the moment, even when i'm in sole control, they point blank refuse to listen to me, even on the simplest of tasks like sitting on a chair properly. They just back chat me, throw things, throw tantrums etc.

I know part of this is due to their age, but it's getting really tiring. I/We have tried reward charts to try and get them to at least listen at times, but still nothing.

Now their biological father hasn't had anything to do with the youngest, and hasn't seen the eldest since she was about 16 months old, so there has been that lack of male influence at times, but until recently they've not been that bad on the whole.

Anyone got any ideas/tips on things I can do/try when they are under my supervision?

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 4 months ago #9288

Hi Baz

Sorry mate I have only just seen your question!

Here are a couple of thoughts.

The most important thing is that you and their mum approach this together. You guys HAVE to be on the same page and they need to see mum give you permission and freedom to discipline them, parent them and have control.

Have you both sat down and discussed a way forward? The reward chart is a good idea but if it was up and running before you arrived maybe it might be worth coming up with a new one/idea/concept. for example if they currently have a star chart type thing that gives them a reward if they reach 10 stars in 1 week, move to something else like a penny system. But the approach is that when you talk to them do it together one evening before bedtime. It needs to start with mum say “ WE have been talking and WE have decided”

The penny system could work in that they start with 10 pennies (they are only 3 and 5 yrs old after all!) and lose a penny for bad behaviour and are rewarded a penny for good behaviour. At the end of the week they count their penny’s and go to the sweet shop with you. I would also suggest that for the first month you have the task of rewarding good behaviour whilst mum seeks to pick up on bad behaviour for the main part. This will break any perspective in their minds around you playing second fiddle to mum.

If you don't like the penny idea try thinking of some others.

Also try getting regular “Family Time” and calling it that. Mum esp needs to be very verbal about FAMILY and including you in that time. Do they call you dad or is it to early for that? Can i ask a very forward question! How long have you been living together, how used to havig you around are they?

I would suggest you need to be very proactive in having fun ideas through which to engage with them. Take them on 1-2-1 times where it's just you and the 3 yr old then you and then you and the 5year old. Take them to the park and play, take them to a coffee shop for a muffin. take them swimming or to the cinema. (divide and conquer my friend! ;) )

Every now and again bring them home a small gift like a packet of sweets or cheap toy or magazine. Saying things like I saw this and thought of you reinforces that you consider them to be a part of your life.

It take on average 66 days to learn a new routine or mind set so give them time to see what's going on through the above ideas.

One top of all this remember that the 5 year old is going through some big life changes with schooling that opens his/her world up to the outside world. It can be quite intense for them and they may not know how to deal with it. If they have up till then had lots of close time with mum they might simply be missing her and play up more when she is not around because of that. The 3 year old will simply follow suit.

check out these
child dev articles for 3 and 5 year olds

Also what is their love language? how do they give and show love? find this out and then demonstrate your love through that. ie time, gift, touch (hugs, tickles etc) words of affirmation.....

Hope this helps bud. Let us know how things go.

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 4 months ago #9322

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Cheers for the reply, will break it down in parts.

Have you both sat down and discussed a way forward? The reward chart is a good idea but if it was up and running before you arrived maybe it might be worth coming up with a new one/idea/concept. for example if they currently have a star chart type thing that gives them a reward if they reach 10 stars in 1 week, move to something else like a penny system. But the approach is that when you talk to them do it together one evening before bedtime. It needs to start with mum say “ WE have been talking and WE have decided”


We actually came up with something like this and its worked so far, and they accept more now that I have an equal say as Mum does.

Also try getting regular “Family Time” and calling it that. Mum esp needs to be very verbal about FAMILY and including you in that time. Do they call you dad or is it to early for that? Can i ask a very forward question! How long have you been living together, how used to havig you around are they?


We have 'family time' a couple of times a week inbetween our studies, but no matter how busy we are, we make time for it. Both kids alternate between calling me Neil & Dad, I answer to both it's just easier for me. I've been around for 2 and a half years, about 6 months or so have been 24/7, so they're used to having me around.

I would suggest you need to be very proactive in having fun ideas through which to engage with them. Take them on 1-2-1 times where it's just you and the 3 yr old then you and then you and the 5year old. Take them to the park and play, take them to a coffee shop for a muffin. take them swimming or to the cinema.


This worked very well during the summer holidays, it's slightly harder now they're back in school as the weekends are packed but it's still done just in smaller doses. With the eldest i'm the reading book partner, so that's just me and her time, no matter how long it takes. We also take it in turn with the shopping run, so both children get one to one time with each of us, which has helped loads.

Thankfully things are starting to get better, the eldest is happy to having time with just me, though she does sometimes play up if I send the other half out to get some alone time, but she'll get used to it, the youngest doesn't really care who he's with to be fair, and we've also got a new discipline procedure in place which we both carry through and they know it inside out now.

It's worth the effort I know that much :mrgreen:

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 4 months ago #9334

Baz wrote: Both kids alternate between calling me Neil & Dad, I answer to both it's just easier for me.

Let me guess - they pull out the Dad card when they want something? :D

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 4 months ago #9336

Hi Baz,

Glad to hear you are having some breakthrough! It must be really hard for all of you making the adjustment to being a family. It sounds like you are doing a great job & doing some fun things with the kids. You'll be making a huge impact on the kids & they are very lucky to have a Dad that cares!

I'd agree with all that Harveys Dad said, but would add that we've found consistancy is the key in our house with our 4 & 5 year olds. Consistancy not just with you both as a Mum & Dad team but with meaning what you say & knowing (as much as possible) ahead of time of consequences for not obeying. Simple rules we have in our house are things like, 'If you don't eat your dinner you don't get dessert', 'If you whine, when I've given you an answer you don't like, you go to your room until your ready to come down & accept our answer', If you disobey or speak rudely then you spend 5 mins (we do 1 min for every year old they are) on the bottom step of the stairs. The rule on this is that the time starts when they are sitting quitely. It can be really hard going when you start inforcing rules for the first few times, but consistancy shows them that you mean what you say & actually is helpful for a child to feel safe & know exactly what is/isn't ok. Obviously the above rules we set are unique to our family & I would never suggest that this is exactly what everyone should do. They're just examples & hopefully thought provoking for what things might be helpful for you guys to discuss together.

Really hope things carry on improving. Keep going, you're doing a great job!

Spring Chicken

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 4 months ago #9337

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realitycheque wrote: Let me guess - they pull out the Dad card when they want something? :D


They've not pulled that one to be honest, it's a day by day thing with them, one day i'm Daddy all day, then the next i'm just Neil. When they're after something they tend to use the 'I love you' thing :lol:

SC, we've got some new rules recently which aren't being taken so well by the kids, but they're starting to understand it. We've gone the zero tolerance route on hitting now as it was getting a bit much, the youngest has taken to the new rule quite well considering he's the fighter of the two being the male trying to stamp his authority an all. The eldest purely hates being sat on the naughty step, but she's getting their slowly, she's just getting really argumentative with both of us now, she even tries it with the grandma she loves most, so we know it's more an age/boundary pushing thing.

I'm just glad we got the rules clear in our heads before implementing it, as it's made it so much easier to be on the same page.

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 4 months ago #9359

I'm just glad we got the rules clear in our heads before implementing it, as it's made it so much easier to be on the same page.


You're so right. It makes a huge difference to be on the same page when it comes to kids/rules/boundaries etc. It we are divided as mum and dad how will our children be able to know what to do.

Baz as you continue to set out clear boundaries around the kids behaviour and stick to them the kids will change and come to terms with what is expected of them. It's a lifelong process so keep in there for the long haul fella.

When it comes to calling you Daddy or Neil just try to shrug your shoulders and think that in some format they are simply expressing power in an area where they can. If you show you're not bothered then it will become less of a thing. The positive is that they do call you daddy, that shows that they are comfortable to do so.

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 3 months ago #9594

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Just to give a quick update on this.

Things have been getting so much easier in the past few weeks, the new rules have been working a treat and it's finally some kind of calm in the house at times. Granted DS still pushes his luck but it's to be expected, just have to curb his tantrums in town and all will be good.

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Re: Step-Children Issues 9 years 3 months ago #9606

Glad to hear that things are on more of an even keel now mate.

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