Friday, August 17, 2012

Strict? Me? You must be joking.

Do your stepkids tell everyone else, ever, that you're strict? Or that you and your husband are "so strict" that they don't want to live with you?

New idea: If they want to keep telling everybody you're so strict, why not show them what strict is?!? Brilliant, right? Like you, I've realized my stepkiddos don't even know what strict is. I mean, if they already think you're strict, then help them define it further!

Ways to Accomplish this:

  1. Give them a list of everything you do, and turn it into their new to do list!
  2. Show them what your parents were like. Stop being nicer than they were or telling them about what you were required to do and how they should be happy to not have to do as much. Just make them do it, too!  
  3. Make them earn every penny (snack, thing, treat, game, etc.) they ask for.
  4. Ask them for a list of what their friends' parents make their kids do that they consider "strict", and then implement the same at your house. Because if that's what's considered strict, you might as well follow suit. 
  5. Time cards, anyone? Anyone want to draft a stepkid "work" time card? Don't you need proof that you're strict?
  6. Watch World's Strictest Parents and marvel at how MTV and that Country station define taking away cigarettes and telling the kids to stop being little pricks is considered "strict." It's really much more a show about decent parenting of a kid-gone-wrong (usually just a terrible attitude and mouth, though) for a total of only 4 days. According to this simple show, it takes all of 3 days to turn a kid back around with chores and make them normal humans. I consider this show  documentation of how much kids just need a basic amount of parenting to be able to contribute to society and head back the right way. We've been watching it with the kids for years now, because we realized it was showing them how this supposed "strict" works. Oh, and also sometimes there's a benefit of the host family taking the kids to a prison or something scary to show them where they'll end up one day if they never own up to their responsibilities or cut out the entitlement attitude. 
  7. Service activities. Sign them up for a year. Preferably cleaning gross stuff. (Also a tactic employed on World's Strictest Parents, as the host families usually have horse stables.)
  8. No fun until work is done! 
  9. I'm a fan of essays. Maybe your stepkids will be, too! And there's only one way to find out...
  10. What are your ideas for being more strict? Please share! 


  1. LOVE THIS!!!!!!!! Especially given I'm hearing through the family mill that I'm scary and mean because I'm strict.

  2. Erin, that cracks me up on 2 levels. My family mill thinks the same, despite "the ex" or "the mom" being a crazy angry person that they saw get crazy angry at her kids, when they were little kiddos nonetheless, in front of everyone. In comparison, I'm the chick from Sound of Music (also, a stepmom). I can get angry, sometimes, but I hold my tongue 85% of the time, walk away whenever possible, and let my husband handle as much as possible. But, sometimes, I'm the one that's there and has to say "hey, pick up your trash" or point out other things the kids are very aware they're not supposed to do.

    I would say that it's only "real" moms that are allowed to be strict apparently, but we know that's also not true. Teachers, coaches, and even babysitters younger than us are allowed to be "strict" and teach our kids rules or say "no". I would like to be afforded the same consideration, especially given how much I do for them, because of them, with them, and in spite of it all.