Post # 1
I need some advice. If anyone knows of any good resources (books, websites, etc.) please share them. Here’s my story:
My fiancé has a 4 year old son who is coming to live with us on a full time basis for at least 3 months. I don’t know how to be a mother figure to a 4 year old. We usually only have him for a week every month which feels more like baby sitting than parenting to me. It’s easy to just order a pizza and put on movies for most of the week (not the best thing to do, I know, but it’s hard to develope a good schedule for one week out of the month). Now we obviously need to make things more structured for him. I just don’t know how to do this. I’m worried about doing things wrong or messing up.
My fiancé has assured me we will be fine, I will be fine. But he has been a father for 4 years. I really was not expecting to be taking a major part in raising a 4 year old anytime soon. I appreciate his confidence in my abilities but he’s never going to be able to fully understand my concerns. If anyone has any advice or suggestions on good parenting/stepparenting books or websites that would be great.
Also to note, this is going to be a very tough time for him. He is an emotional kid to begin with and now he is going to be seperated from him mother and brother for a while. I’m worried I will have trouble finding a balance between being sensitive to his feelings and letting him get away with everything because he’s going through a tough time.
Post # 3
@MistySoda: I’m not a step parent, but I have a background in child care. First of all, good on you for looking for reasources, and WANTING to do a good job. This shows alot of character, and how much you already care for him.
I just wanted to address the last part of your post: I’m worried I will have trouble finding a balance between being sensitive to his feelings and letting him get away with everything because he’s going through a tough time.
This is really important. He will likely have a tough transition, but remember this, kids WANT and NEED boundaries/guidance. Alot of his transition will probably be testing boundaries to do things that he is not allow/supposed to do. He’s old enough at 4 to know what he’s not supposed to do. Letting him “get away” with things because it’s a difficult time will not make things easier on him or you. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to provide solid boundaries. Reminding him/redirecting him when he steps out of line will not be bad thing. He will be wanting and needing this consistency in his life while everything else is in turmoil.
Example: bedtime is at 7pm. He needs to be in bed at 7pm with lights out. Not 7pm and then a story, and then a cuddle because he misses mommy. If that’s going to happen then he needs to be in bed at 6 to have his story, and his cuddle/cry because mommy isn’t there, and lights are out at 7pm.
If you are consistent (meaning same thing day after day – no meaning you are mean to him) then he will transition easier/faster/better because he has structure and guidance from you, he knows what to expect, and he knows that things will be the same on a daily basis.
Post # 4
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
The most important thing is to set up realistic house rules and boundaries with your Fiance BEFORE the child moves in with you. Spend a lot of time negotiating the rules ahead of time, and establish a consequence system ahead of time. First violation of rule a equals consequence x. Second violation equals consequence y. Etc. Be methodical and consistent in establishing and enforcing house rules. But remember that he is young and be realistic about your expectations.
You also need to talk ahead of time about how you and your Fiance will handle differences of opinion regarding rewards and discipline. You won’t always agree, but you need to make sure that you always act as a united front. Never disagree about parenting issues in front of the little guy. Ever. Take it behind closed doors after he is in bed.
And you can start working out your routine now. Who is going to cook dinner? How will you handle the extra laundry? Who handles day care drop off? pick-up? Institute family game nights. Start scoping out local parks with good playgrounds and lots of kids. Read a few books on parenting pre-schoolers and grade schoolers (since he’s nearing that cross-over point).
And most of all, get yourself excited for this opportunity. Your best assett is a positive attitude. Kids sense negativity from a mile away, and they internalize it as negativity about them and who they are. So you need to banish that from your mind before he has a chance to misinterpret your nerv es as you not wanting him.
Post # 5
I don’t have much to add, but i wanted to wish you luck! I would follow DH’s lead, and be open to hearing out your step-son, too. At four years old he should be able to tell you “how mom does it”, and being open to doing things that way will make the transition easier on everyone.
Again, good luck! Have fun with this!
Post # 6
I am a step parent but i really don’t have any advice. It’s something that you have to figure out. Make sure that you follow his routine that he has where he lives mostly. Kids need routine.
Plan meals that are more nutritious and don’t give him too much sweets cuz it will give you a hyper kid and you will wear out you patience earlier LOL
I am wishing you the best of luck! We get my FI’s kids every other week for a week and if i didn’t have a week break in between I am sure I would be locked in some asylum already LOL 3 months WOW! You can do it !
Post # 7
Thank you everyone for your support and advice. He’s been with us for a few days now and things are going ok. He has been acting out some which was expected. His mother is getting divorced and said he has been acting out as a result. Nothing too bad though. He starts preschool/daycare tomorrow so hopefully that goes well. Last time we had him for a few months and had him in daycare, he would scream and cry when I came to pick him up. It was pretty bad. I worried people would think he was being abused at home or something. I’m praying that doesn’t happen again.
I talked to a friend who has taken a few parenting classes and she offered to take one with me if I am interested so I am working on picking one out. I’m thnking of doing 2 because there are a couple of basic ones that sound good and one that deals with what a child goes through during a divorce which I really want to take.
Post # 8
Its rough at first but once you get your routine down it gets better. Hang in there!!
And make sure you and hubby are on same page when it comes to discipline.