Step Parenting Community
stepfather punishment
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to step parenting, anger, behavioral issues, chores, communication, discipline, ex- spouses, family gatherings and meetings, family decisions, frustration, fun activities, grandparents and relatives, guilt, rules, stress, and time issues.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

stepfather punishment

I have just found out that my stepdaughter's stepfather is beating her with a belt. They haven't left marks that we've seen and it's only when she's "being bad." They also only hit her on her bottom with it. I don't think it is child abuse... but my question is: Are step-parents allowed to physically punish a child to that extent? Both my husband and I agree that he should not be the one hitting her with a belt, but do we have any legal grounds for asking him to refrain from physically punishing her?
Related Discussions
38 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Actuallly you can request this through the courts and it's possible they will agree but it's also possible that they will say if she's in the home then he has the right to punish but I don't think it's right.  I would have the dad and mom discuss it.  Do they have a good relationship since they are divorced?  Sometimes it's easier when they divorce, not in my husband/ex-wifes case.  But maybe they could talk about it?  I hope that things work out and make things better for the child.  I disagree with belt's being used actually anything other than a hand and I don't like the thought of it but I have spanked so I can't say I disagree with it!!!  On paper I do disagree with it but I have broken down and spanked a bottom.
Blank
100019_tn?1335923317
I think in today's world it is considered child abuse.  My husbands exwife was able to turn discipline around on my husband and say it was abuse.  He was investigated and cleared, but he was the biological parent.

I think if a biological parent has a problem with a step parent doling out physical punishment the courts will listen.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
There are going to be instances where a step-parent should have every right to discipline a step-child.  I do not agree with disciplining with a belt however.  

I'll give you an example.  My fiance's exwife's NEW husband caught his 7 year old stepdaughter (my fiance's daughter) holding a 5 pound weight over his 2 year old son's HEAD (this is a child he shares with my fiance's ex wife), she was laughing saying she was going to drop it.  I swear I would have given that girl a firm wack on the butt, and sent her to her room.  Instead he waited until her mother got home HOURS later, and she "talked" to her.  She STILL thinks that hitting other kids is funny, and she will pinch and poke at her 5 year old sister while she thinks no one is looking.. I realize that is just a kid thing, but she is getting WAY too old for doing things such as holding a weight over a baby's head and laughing.  I can not tell you what rage that will go though my body if I find her doing anything remotely close to that to my new born baby.  I have caught both the 7 and 5 year old holding their hands over my baby's mouth because she was crying and it "annoyed" them.

When a child puts themselves or another child's life in danger, I do believe that a spanking is the best way to handle that situation.  I honestly hate the thought of spanking any child, but when a child is hard headed and unruly it is sometimes what must be done.      
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry I have three boys and they can be unruly and are hard headed and a spanking just does nothing for them.  I'm not saying that I disagree with spanking in certain times but it's not for at least my 2 older boys.  It doesn't do a thing for them.  I don't believe that a step parent should ever EVER hit with a belt (or a parent for that matter) but def. never a step parent.  It's not good.  As far a child holding a weight over another younger child like that I would have at a minimum spoken to the child, and the childs parent but if it were my step child I'd have timed out or something.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Wow, so what would you have done if the weight had dropped and slammed into the baby's face?

Funny how people thing that step parents are responsible for the safety of a step child while in their care, but god forbid do not punish them.  Let them do things that could cause brain damage to another child, and just "talk" to them about it after wards.  
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
What would you do if you caught your step child holding their hands over a new born baby's mouth, and you had already "talked" to them about it, and yet they still continue to do this??  What if one day you didn't "talk" hard enough and they sufficate and kill that baby because the baby's cry was "annoying" them??  What would you do then?
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I didn't say not to dicipline I said that a step parent should never hit a child with a belt.  I don't think that  a parent should.  MY OPINION.  I also don't think that you should ignore a behavior or just talk to I said that the step parent (weight situation) shouldn't have waited for the parent to get home they should have at least talked to the child.  I would never have not diciplined my step children, (I have 2 step children from my husbands first wife and we have 4 chidlren together) if they needed dicipline they got it but you can dicipline without hitting or hitting with a belt.  I'm not judging I'm saying that I wouldn't ever EVER hit my step children it's a line that I don't think we should cross.  If the child is continuously covering an infants mouth to stop the crying well then WAKE UP.  Don't ever leave that child in a position where they are alone with the baby.  Being an adult doen't give a person the right to run wild with a belt.  Dicipline does NOT equal spanking.  If you can't figure that out from my first post and you cannot keep your step children away from your child then you should remove yourself from the situation.  It's not that hard I have children and if in that position I would be more careful.  My children are close together and guess what I never allowed them in the room alone with their younger sibling when the child couldn't defend itself not because they ever tried to do anything but simply for safety precaution at 2 my child didn't understand what could hurt the baby.  Use your head when dealing with a child.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Oh and yeah a 5 and 7 year old child they don't have the capability to really think things through ie they don't understand taking ones life in there hands etc.  They cannot grasp the concept.  I do think that they would need dicipline for this I am not against a step parent diciplining their step child I do and have if I disagreed then that would be hipocritical however I have never hit my step children.  EVER.  period.  I don't think that it's right.  
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Oh please stop your babbling.  You read bits and pieces and you judge.  WAKE UP YOURSELF!  Go ahead and be happy go lucky OK.. maybe that works for your household... not for mine.  I love my fiance's kids, but they have the freedom to run wild and that is what they do.. I can't run after them 24/7 - get real!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
And I applaud you for your humbleness with raising your stepkids and pray the day does not come to you that you may need to use the terrible "hand".
Blank
145992_tn?1341348674
I believe a 5 year old and a 7 year old are completely capable of understanding when they are doing something wrong.  Especially when they have been spoken to before about not putting their hands over a baby's mouth.  Obviously she didn't leave the baby alone or else she wouldn't have caught them putting their hands over the baby so to think that she left her baby alone in the room with a 5 and 7 year old is ridiculous.  She also never said she would hit her step children.  But if I saw my step daughter holding a weight over my son's head I think I would slap her into tomorrow.  I definitely don't have time to sit there and tell her "no, don't do that it's wrong" and then watch her drop the weight on my son's head.  I would react first and then speak later.  Sorry but that's the truth.  I really don't give a damn if my fiance didn't like it, that's my son.  Not that I don't love my step daughter but that is MY child.  If I saw my flesh and blood son doing something like that to his younger sister (don't have another child yet but if I did), I would whip his a s s as well.  Time out doesn't always work either.  Especially in a life or death situation.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Look I never said that a whoopin' isn't for all children I said that my older 2 could care less about getting spanked.  I said I didn't agree with a belt (especially from a step parent) and I didn't agree with a step parent hitting  a child.  MY STEP KIDS ARE ALMOST RAISED and NO I never hit them.  My step son is 20 and my step daughter is 16 I never raised a hand to them.  I also never said to just talk to them there are things called punishments that you can give a child for doing wrong.  Take away things from a child etc.  I don't think that it is right to hit a step child MY OPINION and guess what I'm entitled.  And just so you know if my husband and I split up and some other women smacked my child and I don't care what the reason is I'd whip her a s s my children are diciplined in an appropriate manor.  NOT hit or abused by someone who isn't their parent and guess what whipping a child with a belt is child abuse like it or not that is the fact.
Blank
547117_tn?1264768667
I think that most kids require a smack at some point. Especially when there are safety concerns. But, anything other then an open hand I believe should be considered a weapon and is too excessive. A step parent should first have the 'ok' to spank by asking the biological parents. Thats just my thoughts on the subject.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
that was sort of my opinion to begin with and it had nothing to do with holding a weight over a child's head it was about a step parent whipping a childs butt with his belt.  I have 4 children and 2 step and I don't feel that hitting a child with a belt is an acceptable punishment (and never with a step child).  As a step parent there are legal ramifications to hitting the step child more so than spanking your own child.  You have no right to hit a child that isn't yours as far as I and most laws are concerned.  I would snap if someone other than a parent spanked my child.  My point with the older two of my boys is that spanking doesn't work for them.  Much better to take away their roller blades, footballs, x-box playstation, or their nintendo ds.  When they do stupid things (they have never endangered an infant) they lose all of their electronics or something like that.  Kids learn and you have to teach them appropriate behavior.  
Blank
282524_tn?1348492612
i have 3 children of my own and 2 stepchildren and i would never hit any of them with a belt. theres so many other things that can be done instead of hitting a child with a belt. time out is a good start, taking things away that they like and not letting them goes somewhere that they want. i think that it is abusive. dont get me wrong when i was a child i had my fair share of the belt but the only thing i learned from it was fear of the person hitting me and thinking it is ok to hit other people when u dont like what the other person did. it had nothing to do with what i did wrong. i think the one person that should be punishing is the mom and if she needs help with something then the stepdad can step in and help. i wish the kids the best. i really think that the kids need to say away from that man he doesnt deserve to be call a dad or stepdad, it is a honor to be a stepparent and it makes me sick to know what he and his mother is doing to those children. she is the only one right now that can make it stop!!!!!
Blank
535822_tn?1389452880
Well my opinion is that some good feedback will come from these Posts,it shows everyone cares what happens,this proves places to come to like this work so well done everyone. I believe it has been proved over and over that actually spanking does not cure the Problem one has to look beyond the Anger you feel and the immediate lashing out.For a start it could be considered abuse especially as a belt is used but you need to ask a law person about that,eveeryone in this Family could do with some councilling,and Yes I would address the step father and ask him not to spank her.,I cannot quite make out the relationships but I would say you had the right to.speak to him. Did you ask what the girl had done to warrent such strong behavior,how old is she ??  Didnt the Mother  stop him or is she spanking also.Its hardly the way to get a good relationship going sounds like He's doing a control thing.This Family needs some guidance.
Blank
535822_tn?1389452880
I agree with you that this should not be Happening to your Family, or ex, But it needs firmer addressing than a Swat or a spank, The 7 and the 5year old should not be allowed to be alone with any small child unless under supervision, so where was everyone when this is Happening.It isnt a "Normal ' child thing at all, One of them possibly the older girl is egging the younger on there could be a jealousy thing happening here where she sees the Baby as getting a lot of attention. Best punishment is to ban them both from being with the Baby and when they are let it be supervised, ask the 5 year old ,seperatly why she was doing it was she copying the older one.Also yes if this is the case stop the TV or Games or a favorite thing she does, and if you are worried get them to seek an expert in child behavior.
Blank
145992_tn?1341348674
I completely agree, hitting your step child is something I would never do.  However, when it comes to my child being in danger I really don't give a damn if my fiance's ex comes at me.  Her child has some issues if they go that far as to endanger the life of a baby.  But, this is not my situation, I never ever raise my hand to my step children.  I've never had to, they are great.  I'm lucky for that, some kids have behavioral issues that need to be addressed.  In BabyHardiman's situation, her fiance spends more time with those two kids than with his newborn so it can't be about the attention.  But he needs to really set them aside and find out what's going on.  He needs to make that his #1 priority.
Blank
484465_tn?1347117312
my husband is my son's stepfather.  i married this man knowing that he is a loving, caring, and Godly man.  when he discipline's my son, i know that he is doing it the same way i do and for the same reasons.  i have no reservations about him disciplining my son at all.  assuming that the stepparent shouldn't be disciplining a child that shares a home and is being raised under this person b/c it just sounds odd to say the word "stepparent" is wrong.  perhaps this mother of this child married the same type of man and you and your fiance' need to stay out of their household.  mind your own household.  discipline the child according to your own standards while the child is w/ you

spanking is a very effective tool of discipline when used correctly as is any other form of punishment.  the key any method of discipline is using it consistently and every time it is necessary.  

to nyychic:
it's not okay to hit a child w/ your hands.  that's abuse and leaves bruises and can cause joint pain and other injuries.  if someone must spank a belt or switch (small, skiny tree limb) is the best to use b/c they only sting the skin
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
WOW, am I happy that you will never be around my children.  That is an absolute outrage.  A switch????  Are you kidding me?  A belt?  You are insane lady.  I'd come after the women who dared raise a hand a belt a switch or anything else to my child.  That is crazy as is your reasoning to allow a parent to ignore their child's being abused.  

As far as the whole situation with the weight over a child's head I'd have that child to a shrink but it's not my child.  I'm not saying that I'm a perfect parent but if you think I'd allow anyone to hit my child at all I'd whoop their a$$  but then again my children know better than to hold their hands over a baby's mouth or a weight over their head.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
So that is the real issue here, right?  You just would not want another woman hitting your child?  

For the record.  I have NEVER hit ANY child.  You can read back through my posts and see how I feel about spanking in general.  I have even said that if any spanks my own daughter it will only be her daddy because I do not have the heart, but I also know how utterly ridiculous that sounds.  How could I ask her daddy to spank her for something he did not witness?  Spanking will always be a last resort for me, unless my child puts their life, or someone elses life in danger.  My fiance's 5 year old daughter pushed the glass out of the upstairs bathroom window she had been told time and time again to NOT push on the glass, and to NOT NOT NOT EVER open windows in the house.. it is DANGEROUS, yet she did not listen and the glass was pushed out and shattered all over the concrete patio where the rest of the family were relaxing while we grilled chicken legs.  Not even 5 minutes before I moved the baby's swing to the shade, but it had been sitting in the spot that the glass fell on.  The good Lord was looking out for my baby that day.  That is a situation where I thought that she should have been disciplined, but as usual nothing happened, not even a talk.  She cried and he let her sit out on the patio while he sweeped up the mess, then he took a walk to calm down.  When he came back, we talked about it and he told me he felt she learned her lesson.  My nerves where shot the rest of the day, and the following day.  She could have very easily fell out of the window with the glass.  I feel whole heartedly that children should not be allowed to open windows in the home, or in the car, it is entirely too dangerous.  The opening windows in the home is not only dangerous because they can push the glass out, but they also leave them open... wet carpet, wet hardwoods, break-ins, snakes, you name it it can happen if windows are left open.   :)  My influences sometimes just do not matter in our home.  He is so inthralled with trying to be the better parent that he leaves out very valuable life lessons with these kids.  His daughters are beautiful inside and out.  I love them very much, and I am enjoying watching them grow.  Creating a "Me-ism" life for them is going to backfire on my fiance'.  Right now he is the parent that doesn't spank, and his ex spanks just about on a daily basis.  It is hard to find a balance I guess.  I am still new to all this step-parenting business.  :)  I don't think there are any masters of step-parenting out there.

My mother sent us outside to pick our own switch.  And it is true that spanking with a hand can cause joint pains.  In my childhood I was spanked with all kinds of methods including a flip-flop at one point.  :)  Yet I still believe that spanking is not the answer to every problem.

Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I just wasn't raised like that.  I was raised that you don't put your hands on another person's children.  My step mother wasn't ever allowed to raise a hand to I and I never raised a hand to my step children.  I am NO master.  I don't claim to be one.  I do know that you can pick 100 switches a day and guess what, if my son wants to do it he's gonna do it.  The thing is-- is the "it" that unreasonable?  As a parent we must take every situation into consideration.  I don't believe that your husband is doing any justice by his children by not diciplining them.  It's an unacceptable way to parent.  I don't agree that step parents should spank it's my opinion and it won't change.  I don't believe that you (meaning any step parent) will ever have the right to spank a child.  It's just how I feel.  That being said I wouldn't snap out in front of my children if (we are still married and together but if that ever changed) their hypothetical step mother hit them but I'd tear her to shreds in private.  i don't have an issue with "any other women" spanking my children.  My mother cares for my children for me and I have no issue with her spanking them when it's needed.  In fact, I know that if she spanks them I probly would have sooner.  But it's my opinion.  Your issue doesn't really seem to be that you should have the right to spank your step children it seems like you are angrier (angry may be slightly too strong a word but for lack of a better adjective I'll go with it I'm running on 2 hours sleep and really very sore I scrubbed my floors for the better part of 11 hours yesterday) with your husband for not diciplining your step children.  All the more reason not to spank them. Realize that you are partially angry with him (fiance sorry) and that spanking the children will not help because when you are angry or upset it's the worst time to spank a child.  Work on empowering your husband as a diciplinarian in your home and explain to him that the children need consistency.  It's tough I'd guess that he doesnt' have custody because that tends to be the worst.  My hubby didn't want to dicipline for a long time I had to put my foot down and say look I love your children to pieces.  you are mistreating them by not diciplining them.  You are not teaching them to be appropriate members of society etc. and he finally came around.  It's hard for the "weekend" dads to dicipline their children.  I wish you luck with your family.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Well he is more than just a "weekend" dad, and I think any dad would take offense to being called that.  He sees his children at every opportunity, and every given chance he can take to see them.  He calls them every morning, and every night, even on the days that he drops them off, he calls them EVERY night before they go to bed to let them know that he will see them in their dreams.  

I still feel that you as a parent would spank if it were your FLESH AND BLOOD child being put in danger, or if he or she were hurt seriously by one of your step children.  If you didn't have that urge, then you do not have the strong maternal instincts that most of us do towards our flesh and blood children.

Nice try on trying to analyze my situation, but ti's a little more complicated than what you are reading.  

I believe that Mami1323 said it best, she always does.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I have read through some of your posts on other forums, and I have read some of the things that you have gone through in your life.  I am not here to prove anything to you.  I simply wanted to voice my opinion on the matter.  I too was raised with a stepparent.  My bio father died when I was two years old.  My mother remarried a man that was an alcoholic, without saying it you already know what I lived with, and lived through.  Discipline for him was hitting until he lost his strength to hit anymore.  I grew up saying that I would never hit a child, and to this day I have not.  But I am a realist, and I'll never say "never" again.  

But again, I am not here to prove anything to you, and I am not trying to change your position on spanking.    
Blank
136689_tn?1333573136
Why smack a child??? it does nothing, take away a privlidge, that's what i do, i have 4 step kids, ranging from 8 to 17 and i'm the one that does all the displine cause they don't have any respect for their parents, but as for the orignial post i would say something cause in australia it's illegal to hit a child with anything exept a open palm.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
First of all I wasn't analyzing your situation I was commenting on the obvious,  You said that their mother hits them on a daily basis--thus leading me to the conclusion that your fiance has the childred on the weekends.  The term "weekend father"  or "weekend parent" is NOT said to be offensive it is a term that is commonly used for the parent who isn't in the home with the children everynight anymore and usually is the father.  I would never offend a parent like that, My husband is considered a "weeken parent" even tho he gets his children every weekend all summer all breaks and several days I've driven my step daughter to her school 1/2 hour away so that she could stay here.  I meant no offense  but you are obviously being a little more defensive than needed I simply don't think that hitting a child is helpful.  I have spanked my children in dangerous situations.  However, I typically wouldn't spank my child.  I never hit my step children.  That is a fact.  My step daughter is now 16 I doubt that she will need spanking.  I also believe that there are many ways to dicipline.  If you so choose to spank that is your choice.  But I think that it's abusive to spank with a belt and if you read the original post you would see that it says a step parent is beating their step daughter with a belt.  You are totally mis-reading the tone of my posts.  I don't know what else to say.  Your responses are obviously defending your feelings.  Which is fine but the bottom line is this, if a parent decides to spank than that is what they will do.  I can't change their minds nor do I try but I choose not to spank a step child.  I didn't do anything to bring that child into the world I have not right to strike that child.  The thing here is though I obviously see my step children differently because even though they are my step children I love them and defend them as if they were my flesh and blood.  I don't see them as NOT my flesh and blood from the time I met them to this day.  Maybe that's the difference with me.  I would defend each of my children (6 total) and I would yell at each when needed.  I will never beat them with a belt, or allow anyone else to.  My husband didn't spank his children from his first wife the entire time that we've been together and has only spanked 2 of our children when they needed a swat on the bottom for their behavior.  That's our home.  I don't know that you understand that we dicipline our children.  Dicipline doesn't = spanking and it doesn't = beating with a belt either.  That's our household and how we deal with it.  Time outs, No television, NO slip n' slide, NO pool, No friends over, NO playstation No nintendo DS, No gameboy there are plenty of ways to dicipline and you said that your fiance did nothing but take a walk and sweep up the glass?  That isn't dicipline.  That's where I got my information NOT from analyzing what you said but from READING what you wrote.  I'm not trying to prove a point I've said it over and over it's my OPINION that step parents shouldn't hit their step children.  I've had a step mother and a step father.  I don't disagree with a step parent diciplining just that they shouldn't hit a step child.  If you had a child with a step parent I doubt that you'd be happy with them spanking your child no matter what the reason is.  It's just the way it is.  I don't like their dad spanking the kids and he's not a step it's just how I feel about spanking.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Actually, there is a lot I find wrong with what some of you have said. I have read the law about spanking for every single state. Look it up for yourself if you don't believe me. It states in nearly every state that spanking a child, for disciplining purposes, is legal so long as the child is not physically injured. Some states even go into detail about what is considered physical injury. Also, most states say that the person who can discipline (either by spanking or by some other form) is a parent/guardian/foster parent/ or anyone over the age of 18 that is responsible for the care of the child. That would mean a step parent has the right to discipline (including spanking) a step child as well. The only time it would be considered illegal is if either they caused physical injury or if the biological parent that the step parent is married to says they cannot spank them. If they are given permission by the bio parent and they are not causing physical harm, then they are legally allowed to spank them. Like I said, look it up for every state if you don't believe me.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
GOOD JOB!!! I know subject is uncommented on for a year now, but soo true what you said, LOOK IT UP!!! & ANYBODY THINKING ABOUT ENTERING INTO A MARRIAGE W/STEPCHILDREN INVOLVED, PLANS OF HAVING YOUR OWN CHILDREN, BLENDING..... JC ALMIGHTY PEOPLE, DISCUSS THIS CRAP BEFOREHAND, IF kids are already present, I PROMISE YOU, THIS WILL TURN INTO A BIG ISSUE EVENTUALLY, GET IT OUT ON THE DANG TABLE FROM THE BEGINNING!!!!! CUZ IF YOU DONT AGREE WITH EACH OTHER BEFORE ANYTHING HAPPENS, IT WILL NEVER WORK IN A SITUATION WHERE IT ACTUALLY DOES HAPPEN!!!!!! & IT WILL BE AN ISSUE THAT IS NOT EASY TO DEAL WITH, WILL CAUSE ARGUMENTS, KIDS SEE THIS CRAP & THRIVE ON IT!  Then usually start playing 1 against the other, its not worth all the heartache!!! If there are stepchildren involved, then you people should have enough common sense to realize this should be a major discussion beforehand, just like if both people are goina be employed or not!!!!
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Step Parenting Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
20 hrs ago by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank