Stepfamily Questions

Straight Answers
To Tough Stepfamily Questions

More about the audio download and transcription

straight-answersTough Stepfamily Questions

If you’re here on this site, you probably have some tough stepfamily questions of your own that are aching for answers.

Here is the general outline of the hour-long audio teleseminar combined with the questions that prompted the discussion. These are actual questions submitted before time by StepHero newsletter subscribers.
See if your own questions are reflected in the list below.

I. Deepening Commitments & Blending Families
General Advice

  • We are at the point where we are ready to take our relationship to the next level (long-term commitment). But the obstacles facing us seem almost impossible to overcome. Can you give advice on what things we need to focus on or any strategies to assist us in moving forward?
  • How should parents prepare their children for their new reality of living in a blended family? What are some things we can do to prepare our children for becoming part of a blended family?
  • How can our blended family live as harmoniously as possible?
  • How do I help others become step heroes?

Introducing to the Children

  • What are the best ways to introduce a new partner to the children?

Specific, Major Challenges

  • Do you see a blended family surviving Autism?
  • My husband thinks my son is evil because he has some emotional problems.

II. Navigating Parenting Differences

  • How do we, my partner and I, who have very different thoughts on parenting come to an agreement on how to parent the children and if we parent/punish each of our own, how do we make the children okay with the differences in punishments?
  • What ways do you suggest to best negotiate different parenting styles and parenting histories that each single parent family brings forward into the new relationship?
  • We have 5 children between us (my 3, his 2); his two only come 2/3 weekends per month and expect “entertainment” all weekend, which is unfair to my children who live in the house and have chores, etc. as it is their only “home”. How do you make the “visiting” children more a part of the “family unit” when they are there?
  • He has a son, and myself, a daughter. What do you suggest as far as disciplining the children???
  • Different ideas of what to share and how much to share with the children.
  • A different set of rules for his only child… preferential treatment creating resentments with her kids.
  • Older stepchildren are jealous of their younger brother because he is receiving the motherly nurture that they didn’t at his age…
  • Inconsistency around who has to follow the rules (his vs. mine).
  • What can I do to discipline my step daughters so as to make them responsible citizens because their father always finds an excuse to avoid disciplining them?
  • Can that parent also discipline their step child?

III. Children / Stepchildren Issues

  • How can I be sure my daughter will always love me more than her step mom?
  • My girls get along great when it is just them but when she comes all they do is fight. It is to the point that I dread her visit. What can I do to ease the tension for a more peaceful, enjoyable weekend!
  • How do you get over the feelings that you will never do enough to please your stepchildren or make your spouse feel like you are not going to treat them any different.
  • Sometimes my stepson and I get along great, and then there are other times when I feel like he hates me.
  • Dealing with the age gap.
  • There is little interaction between the 2 sets of children despite regular family dinners and outings and trips. Why don’t they get along as friends?
  • What activities would you suggest parents try to arrange to spend more time with college age students who live away from home?
  • How do I encourge my step children to have a relationship with their father – older half brother and sister have taken an interest in younger half siblings. This separates our family.

Fair vs. Equal Issues

  • How do you treat your step-child equally with your biological children?
  • Should decisions be changed [re: giving certain children promised things and not giving the same to stepchildren], is that fair? It makes the two less fortunate feel cheated.
  • I have such a hard time dividing my time among them. It is my human instinct to spend my time with my daughter.
  • How do we treat all our boys equally without any favoritism?

Dealing with Hostile StepChildren

  • How to win over a hostile 20-year old girl,… she stops at nothing to sabotage our relationship and dad is blind to it
  • Step-daughter that refuses to accept me and my children in her father’s life … she’s only here once a month? Of course my husband tends to protect her and deny her intentions, while I secretly don’t want her around anymore because of how rude she is to me and my daughter.
  • My husband’s children do not like me. (11 years now)… all they do is watch TV and do not interact with me or their younger half siblings? I feel like I am confined to my room. How do I protect my children?
  • What do you do when your stepchildren take your personal things like money, cell phones, and then say they didn’t? I feel like mine are stealing from me.

IV. Former Spouses / EXs

  • I really don’t like her and don’t like my boyfriend being around her. I absolute hate the idea of our child together being any where near her.
  • Deal with an incredibly inappropriate ex-wife… It happens again and again and we are very frustrated. Nothing changes no matter what you say to her.
  • Undermine our efforts with the kids including initiating costly legal battles for us and brainwashing the kids
  • False accusations from my husband’s ex-wife. … starting to experience better communication between households. So, how do I trust … a hard time relaxing around my step daughters, because I feel I’m under a microscope whenever they’ re around me.
  • I know it’s out of my control, but I just don’t trust her judgement, or her new ex. Advice on how to “let go” and trust them with our boys?
  • Teen that’s graduating and going off to college refuses to ask his biodad for any traveling expenses to go see him; When will this end?
  • Her mother is filling her mind with reasons not to like me. I feel like I have to walk on egg shells so the child will not go back to her mother with something that could be twisted around.

V. Logistics

  • A major obstacle is that we live about 200 miles from each other. How do the 2 families begin to reach consensus/compromise on location?
  • After years of being together, yet living apart, (because we cannot find a home big enough for us) how can we become a true blended family down the road?

Transitioning When Switching Households

  • I get frustrated with having to remind the kids of the rules at our house (which obviously are different at their mom’s) … Is it inappropriate for me to discuss something like this with their natural mother? Possibly to uphold similair rules at her home as well?
  • When my husband’s girls come over on weekends or holidays, there is a transition/settling in period, as we all adjust to being around each other and all together again. Do you have any suggestions for making these transitions easier & smoother?

VI. Stepparent Issues

  • Seems our issue is he feels left out of decisions. How can I convince him to go to counseling. He doesn’t think it will help.
  • Any creative names for step mom?
  • What are some ways to find an emotional connection with my husband’s grown children?


Recognize any questions above that hit home?

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