New Rules for Stepfamilies

Finding the missing peace

TOP 5 MOST COMMON COMPLAINTS OF THE BIOLOGICAL PARENT (about his or her spouse)

Blended families create many, many opportunities for divided loyalties and conflicts. My last post was about the TOP 5 MOST COMMON COMPLAINTS OF THE STEPMOTHER  so today I'm writing about things from the biological parent's perspective. Read More

A stepmoms reply

1) Why can't you see that sometimes children can be very manipulative and if you give them the power they will destroy the marriage.

2) Because you are divorced. No ones forcing you to even talk to her (use e-mail?) You have rights to clear, reasonable boundaries - establish them.

3) No one else will love them like you - remove your rose colored glasses and deal with it. Teachers, neighbours, and other humans do not tolerate bad behavior, neither should you. Your children will respect you more and they will be better, happier adults.

4) Teamwork is essential. Attend parenting courses together.

5) No, your protective behavior is going to make it HARDER for them to like or at least respect her, and they will see her as the enemy - the evil stepmonster! If you would deal with them properly first she wouldn't have to scold them in frustration. Isn't this your wife to whom you're committed to love & honor?

Your List is Accurate

Hi Dr. Coleman,

I love your list. We have a blended family with 4 kids (I had 2 kids from a past relationship.) I don't quite know how to word this...but before my husband and I had kids together, it was hard for me to see him discipline the kids. I thought that he was too hard on them, and I did not know if he was being that way because they were not his kids. But now that we have 2 more kids together. I see that he is just way more strict than I am on certain things.. we just have different styles of disciplining. But now that I see that he is consistent with the way that he deals with All of the kids ...it takes that one worry out of my mind. I still have a different way of disciplining the kids. And the way we deal with this is to talk about our differences when the kids are not around. We don't always agree..but we always respect each other.

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Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., is a psychologist in San Francisco and Oakland. He is also a senior fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families. His newest book is When Parents Hurt.

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