"Good parents take very, very good care of their marriage, lest their marriage become a mirage. "

Step-Families

John's Most Recent Articles

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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Recent Questions

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....

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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...

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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,...

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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,...

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Angry daughter needs dose of reality.

Posted on 1/8/2018

Good day, we have tried lots of different things,this is the way she is now, alway angry, I dont know what to do except her bio dad to be with her now. What would be your recommendation for me, in...

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Objecting to a step-family.

Posted on 12/3/2017

I have been divorced almost 6 years and the only man I have ever dated has asked me to marry him. We have been dating 3.5 years and each have two children, ages 9 and 12. My 12 yo is really...

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13 yo daughter needs to leave 'The Garden"!

Posted on 11/9/2017

Should there be consequences if my 13 year old step-daughter refuses to do her chores (clean up her room and door her laundry), leaves notes on her door telling me/us to STFO, refuses to eat when...

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More two home problems

Posted on 10/19/2017

I have 8 & 10 year old stepsons and a 3 month old. When the baby was first born, the kids stayed with their mother for about a month before slowly resuming split custody. Before they returned to...

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Thriving at four - between two families.

Posted on 8/21/2017

Our soon to be 4 grandson now has a parenting contract between our son and the child's mother. They were never married. The contract was made by the biological mother and my son's new wife, who...

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Ahhh the joys of step-parenting.

Posted on 4/27/2017

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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