Most days, I am epitome of control. After my previous child care experiences, there’s not really anything these two can dish out that would faze me. The boundaries are clear, my authority is obvious, the kids respect that and each other, and we all have a good time. Sometimes, though, I don’t manage to set that tone, and things can get out of hand. Take last Monday for example.
In my weekly “Ask Manny” post, I answer questions from actual parents seeking advice on challenging issues and topics. Last time, I talked about yelling. If you have parenting paradox of your own that you would like Manny to weigh in on, write to me here. This week, an anonymous reader asks about for help with her stepson’s problem behavior:
My stepson and husband love video games. For hubby it is one of many hobbies, but for his son it is an obsession, staying up all night playing and sneaking out of bed to play on the TV or computers. It has gotten to the point that he stole a credit card and charged $200 for games on his DS. He also eats everything, like 1lb bags of pretzels, cans of peanut butter, cokes and takes things that we ask him not to. He is 10 and does what we ask him to (cleaning, etc) and is generally a good kid. He did not seem fazed by the punishment (grounded) or by what he did. His father says rules won’t matter, I think he needs boundaries. Where do I start?
Since you asked where to start, I’m going to cut right to the chase: the first step is that you and your husband need to get on the same page about how to manage Junior’s behavior.
You are absolutely right that he needs rules and boundaries, and you can tell hubby I said so. Not only do kids need boundaries, they like them. They crave order and structure. Out loud, they’ll deny it up and down, but inside, that’s what their developing minds and bodies truly need.