Adrienne Bailon raised a few eyebrows last week when she got on the subject of disciplining her fiance Israel Houghton’s kids. Although she expressed comfort in hanging out with the kids, Bailon did not relay such confidence when the subject of rearing arose.
“Israel is a phenomenal father,” she said. “I get to be there, supportive. [I get to] be there for them emotionally, physically, whatever they need [from] me, in any capacity they need me.” Still, “I think that their dad should be the disciplinarian,” Adrienne admitted. “I would feel more comfortable if he disciplined.”
Bailon’s discomfort with giving her fiance’s kids directives raises the age-old debate of stepparents’ rights. While some believe that stepmoms and stepdads have equal authority because of marriage, others hold to the idea of a bonus parent’s rights being limited when it comes to discipline.
“With one in four families being a blended family involving step-parents, it is a heated topic that frequently comes up in therapy sessions,” says Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D. “I have seen marriages break up on the shoals of this tricky issue, when one parent gets frustrated about the other parent wanting to be the “fun” parent all the time and not being consistent about setting firm limits.”
Dr. Wedge assures Psychology Today readers that “both parents need to be firmly in charge in blended families.” Authoritative parenting, according to her, is the best approach.
BCK Asks: What do you think? Should a stepparent have barriers when it comes to disciplining her spouse’s children? Is the dynamic different for men and women? How should a stepmom, or stepdad, enforce their parental rules? Do you think that the biological parents’ relationship affects how children respond to a stepparent’s reprimand? In what way? Share your thoughts below!
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