Author and stepparent expert Ron L. Deal, states, By my estimation, this is the most common and one of the most destructive mistakes stepparents make. I’ve established that parental authority develops gradually over time and increases through bonding and the development of a trusting relationship. (If you want to test my assertion, just go to a neighbor’s house and try to punish his children. Just because you live next door doesn’t mean you have any say over those children. You can claim authority, but the level of authority the neighbor or his kids grant you will be much less than what you claim). Susan Gammache calls this “parental status”, that is, the degree that step-family members consider the step-parent a parent to stepchildren. Parents might expect step-children to readily accept discipline from their step-parent, and step-parents might claim to have as much authority as a biological parent, but what really counts is how much authority children will accept from the step-parent. I’ve heard stepdads fall back on scripture and claim that since “I am the man of the house I should have the power of the father” please remember, the children have a father (even if he is deceased); you’re an added authority in their life. If you want to exasperate your stepchildren quickly (see Eph. 6:4), push yourself onto your stepchildren, claiming authority you don’t yet have. Rather, the ability to lead and influence children comes the old-fashioned way – you earn it. Trust, respect, and honor grow out of relational history, and there’s no quick way to establish that. Stepparents must be dedicated to building a relationship over time.
Ron L. Deal, The Smart Stepfamily, (Bloomington, MI: (Bethany House Publishers, 2002)
Divorced parents often forget or are not aware of how traumatic moving between two homes can be for a child. Remember, it is your child who has to transition between two homes. Now, there are estranged parents, different households, rules, expectations, and having to adjust and re-adjust on a regular basis. Remember, you are responsible Continue reading Power Step Parenting: Help Your Child Move Between Two Homes→
I am a huge fan of Love & Logic parenting techniques. It alleviates power struggles, raises responsible children, and gives them healthy self-esteem. Here is an article on How to Offer Teens Choices. (This is effective for all ages. I used a version of this when my children were toddlers to teens). I would inundate Continue reading Power Parenting: How to Offer Teens Choices→
Does it seem your pre-teen or teenagers’ friends are more important than eating? The desire to belong is a God-given desire. As a parent, learn ways to help your child develop healthy positive friendships.
6 Reminders for Stepmoms: Pray for yourself, your marriage, your biological kids, your stepchildren, and their mother. With God’s power and love involved, you can build a stepfamily that defies the statistical norms. Don’t assume you know what your stepkid’s mother thinks of you, or what she is telling her children about you. Kids aren’t always accurate Continue reading Power Step Parenting: 6 Reminders for Stepmoms→
Preparing your adolescent teen for adulthood doesn’t happen when they turn 18. Wise parents start preparing them as soon as they enter the teen years. Listen to Focus on the Family: Dr. Kenneth Wilgus, Jessica Pfeiffer, and Ashley Parrish, who together host a podcast about parenting teens, offer practical guidance for preparing teen children for Continue reading Power Parenting: Guiding Your Teen Into Adulthood (Part 1 of 2)→
Divorced parents often create a loyalty conflict for their children. They are put in the middle and asked to love or choose one parent over the other. This creates great distress and emotional turmoil for the child. Children should be able to love and respect the other parent or a stepparent.
As a counselor, parent, grandparent, and former foster parent trainer, I am a HUGE fan of the Love & Logic approach to parenting. Here is a great video regarding power struggles! When it comes to strong-willed and defiant kids, it can be easy to get pulled into power struggles over things we cannot control. In Continue reading Power Parenting: Staying Focused on What We Can Control→
Neither parent shall deny the child reasonable use of the telephone to place and receive calls with the other parent and relatives. Neither parent shall speak or write derogatory remarks about the other parent to the child or engage in abusive, coarse, or foul language, which can be overheard by the child whether or not Continue reading Power Step Parenting: The Children’s Bill of Right→