Are you a step-parent who is fighting for respect? Is the relationship with this child putting strain on your relationship with your spouse? Do you have a child who loves to scream when they don’t get their way? On today’s episode Dr. Leman explains how to handle both situations.


Question #1:

My fiancé has a 7 year old son. The child mother is not in the picture at all and me and my spouse have only been together a little over a year. The son doesn’t listen to me or his father when we ask him to do something or stop doing something. He waits for us to walk away then starts doing whatever it was again.

With me being the stepmother I really don’t know the best way to go about discipline with him, though my fiancé is very accepting to my actions and really allows me to be the mother. I feel like the son isn’t quite ready for me to be his mother and it’s putting a strain on our relationship. Is there any advice you can give me to help build a relationship with my son instead of push him away?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

This answer will shock you.

Don’t marry him…
Not until he does some hard work with his son.

I’d recommend having him read Have a New Kid By Friday or Plant Middle School.

You should not be the front-runner in the discipline of your fiancé’s child. Nothing is going to magically change when you get married, and as a matter of fact, you will become the punching-bag for the boy’s anger.

Have the hard conversation with your fiancé now. He can turn his son around quickly with some intentional work.

Question #2:

I have a child who is a year and is having a screaming fit. I’ll be at church and the screaming fits are off and on, the screams will stop and then start again. I don’t have any place to take him and shut the door and let the screaming stop. Are there any good tips for screaming when you are in a stationary place that you don’t plan on leaving for a while?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

Kids scream because they become enamored by their own voice, or, we pay it off.

Here is what I would do:
Pick him up.
Walk outside.
Don’t overreact emotionally.
Consider what you can use to help him stay quiet. It may be a pacifier, a book, crayons, etc.

Be patient. This will take some time.