Helping a Step Mom Adapt to Her New Role

I’m the divorced father of two kids. I’ve been going out with a wonderful woman for a few months now and we’re heading in the direction of getting married. The problem is that she’s not quite sure how to behave around my kids. What can I do to help her—and my kids—feel more like a family? How do I help my kids accept her as part of our family?

You are the single most important factor in determining how the new woman in your life will deal with her roles as your girlfriend and possible step-mother to your children. You’re the one who has to welcome her into your family and you’re the one who has to make sure the children understand her role. Like just about anyone stepping into a pre-existing family unit, your girlfriend is probably going to feel a little insecure. Doing some of the following will go a long way toward helping her feel more confident:
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Whose Kids are These Anyway? Or How to Discipline Your Stepchildren

Dear Mr. Dad: This is my second marriage, and I’m totally committed to my new wife. But even thought I hate to admit it, her two kids from her previous marriage are driving me crazy. They play one of us against the other, and my wife—being their mom—usually takes their side in any disagreement. How can we keep our marriage stable and still come to some agreement on disciplining the kids?

A: For some couples, second marriages are a breeze. But most experience all sorts of problems in merging two different households with different traditions and ways of life. When kids are involved, the potential problems multiply exponentially. In fact, it may be even harder on kids than on the adults. At least adults have some control over the situation. Kids have almost none.
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