"Parents cannot effectively communicate their love to a child unless they are also a source of effective authority. "

Step-Families

John's Most Recent Articles

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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Recent Questions

Consult with your spouse first.

Posted on 9/5/2019

Hi, I am having trouble dealing with my step daughter that is 15. My husband and I have 5 children together. He has two and I have three. My husbands daughter has severe anger and behavioral...

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Jesus Loves the Little Children Through Grandparents

Posted on 4/14/2019

I am a step grandparent. We have a three year old grandson who is being raised in a progressive, liberal, agnostic environment. The household is run by the toddler and to say it is matriarch ruled...

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Life After College is Too Comfortable- Time to Adult

Posted on 3/11/2019

Hello, My stepson in 23 and a recent college graduate with a communication degree. His father and I have been married 2 years ago. His parents are concerned about his seemingly lack of...

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Blended family blues.

Posted on 1/21/2019

Just wondering if you feel that all children in a step family should be treated the same, as far as, rules, quality time etc? My husband feels that since his children only have visitation with us...

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Step IN TIME!

Posted on 12/22/2018

I am apart of a step family. I am having trouble with my step children not accepting me. I feel like this is highly due to how their mother feels about me even though she wanted the divorce she...

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What to do when households have different rules for teen stepson?

Posted on 10/19/2018

My husband and I follow your columns (my mother quoted you regularly growing up, sometimes to our dismay) but now as a stepmother and father to a teenage boy, we find ourselves in a tough spot. We...

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Strive

Posted on 9/26/2018

My step-daughter 14 has been telling her mom and dad on and off for years that she does not feel part of our household and wants to stay at her mom's house. This conversation usually starts up...

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Entitled, Self-Centered 14 YO Boy

Posted on 9/17/2018

I have a question re. how to handle my son's awful behavior. He is 14 years old. His Father and I switched custody 6 months ago through mediation, following a lawsuit that my son requested because...

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phone use for 23 yo

Posted on 9/10/2018

HI, My husband and I have been married 2 years. I have 2 boys, 15 and 17, who live with us half the time. He has 2 boys, 23 and 20, who are rarely at our house because they are in college. All 4...

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Grandma custody of 4yro

Posted on 8/3/2018

My 4 year old Grandson who has always lived with me seems to be having some new concerns regarding his Mom. His Mom, has not seen him since Christmas Day, and has not contacted me to do so. Yes,...

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