John's Articles

Fixing Our 'Parent-View'

Posted on 9/28/2021

Most of the problems today’s parents are experiencing in the course of raising children are due to a faulty “parent-view.” Just as one’s worldview consists of attitudes, values, and expectations...

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Putting Child First Can Ruin Marriage

Posted on 8/8/2018

Q: I am stepfather to my wife’s only child, age 8, from her first marriage. My wife always and in every way puts her son before our marriage. We went through counseling several years ago and...

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Stepfamily or Just "Family"?

Posted on 11/7/2017

A journalist called me the other day wanting me to make some pithy, erudite comments on the subject of the so-called "stepfamily." I am eminently qualified, I propose, to remark on the subject...

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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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Stepfamily or Just "Family"

Posted on 6/20/2011

A journalist called me the other day wanting me to make some pithy, erudite comments on the subject of the so-called "stepfamily." I am eminently qualified, I propose, to remark on the subject...

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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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4-Year-Old is Indulged and Coddled

Posted on 11/26/2002

Q: I don't have children of my own yet, but I'm expecting soon. My lack of parenting experience is central to a discussion between my husband and me concerning what his 4-year-old son from his...

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8- and 10-Year-Old are Disrespectful to Dad and Step-Mom

Posted on 8/27/2002

VISITATIONS SHOULD END AT ONCE IF SONS DISOBEY Q: I am black and my husband is white. We have weekend visits with his sons, 10 and 8. The weekends are tortuous because in our home the children...

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Most Effective Discipline Comes From a Functional Marriage

Posted on 8/21/2001

It takes 2 to discipline Q. My second husband reads me your column every week. It's infuriating! He says I don't discipline my two children, which isn't true, and that I won't let him...

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Single Mom of 4- and 7-Year-Old Considering Moving Away from Ex-Husband

Posted on 4/29/1997

IT MAY BE OK TO LET PARENT'S BEST INTEREST SWAY DECISION Q. I am a single mother with two children, ages 7 and 4. At present, we live in the same community as my ex-husband. The problem is,...

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Hurdles of a Step-Family

Posted on 4/15/1997

STEP FAMILY SHOULD FOCUS ON MARRIAGE, AUTHORITY 1. I am a single mother with a 9-year-old son. Robbie's father sees him on a regular basis, and they have a good relationship. I've recently...

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Stepparents Should Assume Full Authority Over Stepchildren

Posted on 12/5/1996

GIVE STEPPARENT AUTHORITY WITH KIDS Q. I have two children, ages 8 and 4, from my first marriage and am about to remarry. I recently read an article in which a psychologist who's written a book...

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Irresponsible for Unmarried Adults to Live Together When Children are Involved

Posted on 9/19/1996

HAVE KIDS? LIVING WITH BOYFRIEND IS NOT A GOOD IDEA Q. My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other steadily for two years and plan to marry as soon as our financial situation improves....

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9-Year-Old Does Not Obey Step-Mom

Posted on 1/29/1993

MAN'S STEPDAUGHTER OBEYS HER MOM BETTER: WHY? Q. My 9-year-old stepdaughter, who lives primarily with us, does not obey me as well as she does her mother. How would you suggest I deal with...

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Ex Criticizes Spouse to 8- and 10-Year-Old Children

Posted on 11/27/1992

THERE'S A WAY TO DEAL WITH EX-HUSBAND (CALMLY) ABOUT TALES HE TELLS THE KIDS Q. My ex-husband sees our two children, ages 10 and 8, every other weekend. Ever since our bitter divorce, he has...

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Different Expectations at Homes of Divorced Couple

Posted on 11/20/1992

CHILDREN WHO LIVE IN MORE THAN ONE HOUSEHOLD CAN ADAPT JUST FINE Q. My husband's two young children live with us every other weekend, during certain holidays and for a month in the summer....

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Mom of 7- and 9-Year-Old is Angry Toward Ex

Posted on 9/6/1991

EX-WIFE TRIES TO MANIPULATE KIDS, DAD SAYS Q. I am a divorced father of two boys, ages 9 and 7. They look forward to our every-other-weekend visits. Their mother has remarried, and their new...

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Rebellious 13-Year-Old Wants to Go Live with Dad

Posted on 12/7/1986

DIVORCE INFLUENCES TWEEN' YEARS Q. I have two children by my previous marriage - an almost 13-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl. I am remarried, but have no children, nor plans for any,...

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2 Important Considerations with Step-Families

Posted on 4/6/1986

THE MARRIAGE MUST BE PRIMARY IN STEPFAMILY SITUATION Q. I am a single mother with a 9-year-old son. My ex-husband and I divorced when Robbie was 3. Robbie's father sees him on a regular...

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