I am so glad I found this website.  Please let me introduce myself.  I am the step-mother to a teenage boy.  I take Christianity and the teachings of Jesus very seriously.  I recently married my long time partner, Jim (the boy's father), and am now officially his step-mother.  A few days ago I walked into my son's room to tell him that his lunch was ready, and was shocked to find him masturbating!  He tried to cover himself up as soon as I walked in but I saw exactly what he was doing.  I was horrified, so I grabbed him by the arm and spanked him hard.  He immediately lept up and told me that I had no right to punish him because I wasn't his real mother.  Furious, I spanked him even harder.  He just kept laughing at me and telling me I couldn't hurt him.  I was nearly in tears and, without thinking, I squeezed his testicles hard, desperate to hurt him in some way.  He yelped and immediately jumped up, running out of the room.  I am now feel terrible about the situation and don't think I handled it appropriately.  What should I have done?    Should I tell my husband?  How should I go about disciplining my step-son when he won't respect me?

I don't know about your son, but what you have said about yourself leaves little for me to respect.

1) This question is worded very closely to others that I have seen. I strongly suspect that it is a fake because of the way the incident is told and the emphasis which was placed on erotic details that appeared in the original note and removed from the copy shown above. The only reason I am answering is because even a falsified story can raise issues that need to be addressed.

2) You claim to take Christianity seriously and then immediately show that you don't. You have been living with a man outside the bonds of marriage. In other words, you were committing fornication with this boy's father, acting as an unpaid prostitute. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). You were expecting respect when you were trashing the name of the very one you claim as your God? [The writer responded to say that she did not have sex with the man before marriage. Perhaps it was an unfortunate word choice on her part, but she did refer to him as a long time partner -- generally a euphanism for a live-in arrangement, which was also hinted at when she said she was now officially his step-mother.]

3) Even though you and the boy's father have been committing sexual sins for a while, you claim to be shocked that a teenage boy was showing signs of becoming sexual. Quite two-faced of you. I can show you numerous passages showing the corruptness of your lifestyle before your marriage, but you are furious with a boy over a matter that you cannot find one passage condemning! For more information, see "How do you punish a boy caught masturbating?" and "Is masturbation unacceptable?".

4) In regards to step-children it is better to allow the natural parent to handle punishment, especially early on in such a marriage. Punishment brings temporary resentment anyway (Hebrews 12:11) and there is no evidence from the child's point of view that a step-parent truly has his best interest in mind.

5) When a child reaches puberty, my advice has always been that the parent of the same gender should handle the corporal punishment when necessary. If one is not available because of a single parent situation, a trusted individual of the same gender should be found.

6) The purpose of punishment is an improvement in behavior; it is not about power over another individual. "For they [ fathers ] indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness" (Hebrews 12:10). However, this is actually what you turned it into and when it failed to produce the response that you wanted you actually attempted to cause harm, just so you could have the upper-hand. Punishment is executed when rules are broken and in accordance to the decision as to an appropriate type and amount. You described a beating that took place because you were shocked, humiliated, and angered. Clearly you don't have the boy's best interest at heart.

Finally, yes, you should tell your husband what happened. He needs to seriously consider moving out with his son -- at least until his son is old enough to live on his own.

What should have been done? When you realized what he was doing, you should have said that it was inappropriate behavior in a place where people could accidentally walk in as you had done. You should have then told his father about it that evening and asked him to discuss "the birds and the bees" with the boy before matters get out of hand. Instead you threw away an opportunity to teach in a vain attempt to "prove" you were in more important than a boy.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Spanking
Questions and Answers regarding Child Rearing
Questions and Answers regarding Sexual Relations