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MELINDABARRERA
MELINDABARR... asks:
Q:

What can I do if my stepdaughter misbehaves at school and starts to bring her grades down just because her mother is telling her to act this way?

On the weekends her goes to her mother's house for visitation and comes back with an attitude. She refuses to understand that she needs to listen in school and not talk back to the teacher. She has been coming home with lower grades since she started.
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Discipline and behavior challenges, Divorce Issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

ShirleyCressDudley
May 3, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

It's tough for adults to have kids move back in forth from mom to dad's house. Amazingly enough- kids adapt very easily.  They can easily learn (from a very young age up to teenagers) that the rules are different in each home, and what the expectations are from each parent.

You can't effect what happens in her mom's house, but you can set an example in your own home of high expectations, rules along with positive and negative consequences.  Your step daughter is already experiencing some natural consequences from the school (and this is actually good.)

Hold firm with your high expectations. Your job as parents is to prepare children to become independent and successful adults- and this includes speaking respectfully to people in authority.

In your home, create positive and negative consequences for her behavior. Ignore that her mom will not be consistent or uphold your consequences- just stick to what you know is right and maintain these rules and guidelines in your own home.

At some point, kids realize that the strict parent is the one who is the most loving and cares the most for the child. You'd be surprised how smart kids are.  They figure out that one parent is just letting them do whatever they want to win their favor- and kids will try to manipulate this experience to their advantage, but they are never happy or satisfied with this approach.

Have positive experiences at school, due to the guidance at your house will create more lasting impactful experiences for your step daughter.

I also recommend reading the book, Blended Family Advice. There is a large section on parenting that will sound very familiar to you, and I believe- very helpful information.

Kindest Regards,
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Executive Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Best selling author of the book, Blended Family Advice
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