"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Step-Families

John's Most Recent Articles

Stepparents Should Have Authority over Teens, Too

Posted on 8/24/2016

Q: In a recent column, you advise that stepparents have complete disciplinary authority over all children who live in or visit the home, but do you feel the same policy should apply when the...

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Stepfathers Must Have Complete Disciplinary Discretion

Posted on 8/2/2016

Q: The woman I’ve been dating—a single mom with two young boys—and I have decided to get married. My only reservation, and I’ve told her this, concerns the stepfather thing. I’m not clear and...

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Don't Let Ex's Parenting Shortfalls Influence Your Parenting

Posted on 4/19/2016

Q: We are a struggling blended family. My husband has three children (ages 7, 12, 17) from a previous marriage. Their mother's home is focused on the easiest way of parenting. She allows...

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Step-Family Issues: Parent From the Marriage

Posted on 11/15/2011

How to 'parent from the marriage' Q: Several years ago, I married a widower who never disciplined his children. They are now 9, 14 and 16 and he still has a very difficult time denying them...

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Step-Family Recommendations

Posted on 6/7/2011

A stepfamily by any other name is a family A journalist called me the other day wanting me to comment on the subject of the "stepfamily." I was raised in one, although it was not called a...

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Son From a Previous Marriage

Posted on 10/26/2010

Who should tell son of half-brother? Q: My ex-husband and I aren't friendly. Ours was his second marriage. His first marriage produced a child, but when he and his first wife divorced, he...

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10-Year-Old Girl in Step-Family with Very Lenient Mom

Posted on 10/19/2010

Ultra-lenient mom Q: Our 10-year-old daughter goes back and forth between our house and her mom's. Our homes are run very differently. Bio-Mom gives her everything she wants (TV and DVD in her...

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Ex-Wife Giving Lavish Gifts to 7-Year-Old Daughter

Posted on 1/12/2010

Stop lavish gifts from ex Q. Both my husband and I have 7-year-olds from previous marriages. My husband's ex-wife routinely sends her daughter home from visits with new presents. The last few...

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A Family is a Family

Posted on 3/20/2007

FORGET ADJECTIVES; ANY CHILD IS A CHILD, ANY FAMILY IS A FAMILY Parents frequently ask if I have written books on adjective-children (e.g. adopted children) or adjective-families (e.g. blended...

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Teen Wants to Live with Dad

Posted on 10/10/2006

TEENAGER WANTS TO GO LIVE WITH DAD Q: I have joint custody of my son who has threatened that when he turns 14 he is going to go live with his father, who's been encouraging this. My husband and...

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Recent Questions

Ahhh the joys of step-parenting.

Posted yesterday

I have 3 step daughters ages 10, 13, and 15. I never have had a sister but my nieces are close in age and the best of friends. My daughters won't share and are so mean to each other. Attitudes,...

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The 14 year old rules.

Posted 3 days ago

This is in reference to my last question regarding my 14 year old stepson. I couldn't agree more about the parents being on the same page. Plus I have read Johns" book Teen proofing. I have...

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Safety first.

Posted 5 days ago

On 4/19/17 I asked a question about my 18 year old step son saying he would hit me. I also said that my husband stated he would divorce me if I called the police on the boy if he does hit me. I...

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Step-family parenting challenges.

Posted 1 week ago

My husband and I have been married for nine years. We both had three children. My question is how to handle discipline when only half if the children have to follow the family rules. I love my...

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Troubled Young Teen?

Posted on 2/5/2017

This question is in reference to the October 2016 question regarding my 13 year old's act of vandalism. Fast forward 8 months later. He has completed his punishment, but not without having to...

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Two home problems.

Posted on 12/16/2016

I recently married my husband and became the stepmom of 7 & 9 year old boys. My husband was full time military and deployed/stationed in another state most of their lives and returned to 50%...

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Should I get remarried...

Posted on 12/9/2016

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost 2 years. His kids have been really accepting of me but they also have issues with their mother being a "good mother". My son hasn't been so...

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Parenting the Terminally Ill

Posted on 12/8/2016

Do parenting rules change when parenting a young adult (19) with a chronic/terminal illness. My husband's son (and 16 yr old daughter) have cystic fibrosis. While their health is generally good...

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Problems with live-in adult stepdaughter

Posted on 11/26/2016

My stepdaughter, Mary, and her 7 1/2 year old granddaughter, Ann, moved in with us in NY since her husband is an alcoholic and in rehab in CA. She finally landed a good job here in her...

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13 yo Doesn't Like Divorced Mom Dating

Posted on 11/14/2016

Divorced about 3 years. Dating my boyfriend for 1 1/2years. I haven't push the relationship Ive given my 13 year old boy space. He doesn't like my boyfriends daughters. My moms bd was last...

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