"A father's contribution to his children is primarily a measure of how much he adores their mother. "

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More
View All Articles

Recent Questions

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

Posted 3 weeks ago

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

Husband and 19 yr old step son have no relationship

Posted on 6/4/2018

My husband and 19 year old son seem to have absolutely no relationship. (My husband adopted my kids) I’ve been urging them for years to go do stuff together, whatever. 2 weeks ago, our counselor...

Read More

The Better Half

Posted on 4/19/2018

I have 2 step-daughters, ages 11 and 8, who spend half of their time with us and half with their mom. We don’t allow them to use any form of social media and have explained to them the dangers....

Read More

Introducing Half Siblings

Posted on 4/13/2018

How do I introduce a half sister to a three year old child? He does not understand that Jj (father of both children) is even his Dad. Jj is not present in his life nor the sister's life. The...

Read More

Adjusting to new family system

Posted on 3/21/2018

My son Carter is 13 and in 7th grade, he is suffering from anxiety and depression. I have recently gotten married, one year ago this month, and my husband has 3 other children (16 boy, 12 boy,...

Read More

Reconciling Lost Relationship with Teen

Posted on 3/1/2018

My husbands 15 yo daughter has cut off all communication with him. She was living with us but moved to her moms full time for the past year and a half, he has been blocked from texting, messaging,...

Read More
View All Questions