Ask Fred > Family > How do you improve relationships with stepchildren?

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Dear Fred

How can you improve a bad relationship with stepchildren that are rebellious and disrespectful to both the parent and stepparent?

Fred's Response

It has a lot to do with what age they are. The discipline of the past is a factor as well. It is difficult to let a child run free for several years and then reign them in. The scriptures tell us not to make our children angry which is difficult at times. When our children were small they knew we believed in reasonable corporal punishment. My father did as well. I was better for it. Punishment must be reasonable and consistent. It is a responsibility not a right. The child must know that your motive is ultimately for their good. Some children are more resistant to love then others. I feel there has to be known rules of behavior and known punishment when the rules are broken. Both parents must agree and to the treatment of rebellion. Sometimes, taking away privileges will work. The child must know that rebellious behavior will not be acceptable. I do not believe that parents should be afraid of making the child dislike them. As on authority said you should pick the time when the children should hate you. If they love when they are young they may hate you when they are old and if they hate you when they are young they may love you when they are old. I find much truth here. Athletic coaches find that kids must live a disciplined life in order to be successful.