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On the Family Blog

Young Adults and Addiction: The Benefits of Inpatient Care

For many young people, drug use and experimentation is a rite of passage of sorts. However, experimenting with drugs and alcohol is far from harmless, and can often result in lifelong...

Read More About Young Adults and Addiction: The Benefits of Inpatient Care»

Our Stepparenting Experts

Jeannette Lofas

Jeannette Lofas

Founder of the Stepfamily Foundation

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Sally Bjornsen

Sally Bjornsen

Creator of the Sassy Stepmother web site and author of The...

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Dr. Carl Pickhardt

Dr. Carl Pickhardt

Psychologist and author of Keys to Successful Stepfathering

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Meet all of our Family Experts»


The latest news on this change — carefully culled from the world wide web by our change agents. They do the surfing, so you don't have to!

Rules and Boundaries

Rules and Boundaries

Just hearing the word stepparent can send chills down our spines. We have seen the movies and read the books where the antagonist is a child, angry with having a "replacement" mom and dad. We are here to let you know it doesn't have to be like that, and a stepparent can play an important positive role in a child's life. So, let's collectively take a deep breth, let go of our social conditioning, and re-learn the roles here.

First and foremost, boundaries: you can't jump in and try to be mom or dad! Stepparenting experts know that it takes time for you and the children to establish a comfortable relationship. We all want to go in and be super-step mom or dad but that's not realistic. Instead of trying to put forth new rules you want the family to adopt, try and take some time to get to know the kids and let them get to know you, for who you are as a person—not as a referee or goalie!

It will take some time before the kids see you in a role of authority, and if they're older, that day may not come at all. How are you managing your expectations as a stepparent? Share your advice with us here!


Posted: 7/7/08

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As a stepmother myself, I agree that you shouldn't try to replace your stepchildren's biological mother--but at the same time, you'll be happier if you develop a parental relationship with your stepkids rather than a "friend" or "aunt" relationship. (Link

  • By Meesha
  • on 9/12/08 7:29 PM EST