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Parenting & Stepparenting

 
When Your Child's Other Home is Leading Them Away From Christ

Children need access to both parents. But what can you do when the other parent's lifestyle is teaching non-Christian values?
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How to Build a Healthy Relationship With Your Stepchild

A stepparent's job is tough!  Stepparents often ask, "What is the best way to bond with my stepchildren?  What's my role in discipline?  How can my spouse and I best work together?"  This article with get you started in the right direction.
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When Your Spouse is Deployed

        Deployment of a spouse often means that the spouse who stays home has to assume a number of new tasks and responsibilities. For stepfamilies, this can be even more challenging because of the ambiguous legal relationship between stepparents and stepchildren.
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Smart Stepparenting

Written for and hosted by Focus on the Family, this article by Ron L. Deal is a web-based learning module for stepparents (and biological parents).  Click here to open the module on Focus on the Family's web site.
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Parenting Alienated Children

Parental Alienation Syndrome occurs when one parent intentionally alienates a child or children from the other parent...Whether perpetrated by father or mother, the effect on the child(ren) is devastating..
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Accepting My New Spouse as a Parent to My Children

...When these situations occurred, my children and I would give each other a "look," conspirators against his "not understanding us." As long as I continued to do this, the boys continued to resent and disrespect their stepfather and his authority in our home.
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Winning Your Stepchild

"How do I get my stepchild to like me?"  ...Finally, I decided the time had come to really find out. So I commenced a survey of 50 stepkids—ages six to fifty-six, to see if I could find out why they did or why they did not, love their stepparent.
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The Wicked Stepmother--and Other Ridiculous Stepmother Myths

...Probing deeper into her beliefs about what a stepmother is and what one is not, we unearthed some powerful stepparenting perceptions that had been dominating her thinking...and dooming her to failure. She had swallowed hook, line, and sinker three of the most damaging myths of becoming a stepmother.
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The Sane Step: Pitfalls to Avoid

Most every stepparent will eventually realize what an insane proposition it was to enter stepfamily life. All to soon we get caught in the snares of the fine print we neglected to read: “I Stepparent Doe, willingly volunteer to take on the hurtful issues of three families—the two families of origin and my new stepfamily.” How crazy is that?

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Choose Simplicity

Choosing simplicity begins and ends in your mind, with believing that you can improve your life one step at a time. Ultimately, it’s all about recognizing what you can control—and what you can’t control. It’s about saying yes to the choices that will bring you fulfillment and peace and saying no to the choices that won’t. That’s a pretty amazing power.
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Parenting: Keeping the End in Mind

Wisdom is a long-term goal of parenting, but sometimes we get caught up in a short-term parenting perspective. 
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Discpline Strategies: Catch Them Doing Something Right!

The number one strategy for training children is to catch them doing something right!  Your approval is incredibly important to your child.  Unfortunately, we often get caught in a cycle of catching misbehavior, rather than looking for proper behavior. 
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Parenting: Managing Yourself

The first challenge of leadership is managing ourselves.  Parents and stepparents who know both themselves and the needs of their children will likely adapt well to the challenges of raising healthy kids.  But, parents who do not know themselves—their own motives, values, emotional vulnerabilities and scars, personality, and strengths—will likely find parenting very frustrating.
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Stepfathering Adolescents: It Takes Patience, Flexibility, & Humor

Links to the National Center for Fathering: Pre-teen and teenage kids can pose a tremendous challenge for stepfathers. As they develop their identity and self-esteem, they are very sensitive to dramatic changes in their family structure and living situations. 
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Discipline Strategies That Work: Talk Less, Act More

I constantly have to remind myself that my children are not interested in hearing Lecture No. 39 again, nor will words alone likely lead to a change in their behavior.  I must do something because actions truly do speak louder than words.
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Stepparent Tool Box

Where do I start?  What can I do to nurture a relationship with my stepchildren? 
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Stepparent Inspiration: Two Little Words

Are you a stepparent who needs a little inspiration?  Read on...
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A Work in Progress

Building a relationship with a stepchild(ren) is a journey.  Read the letter one stepfather sent his daughter as he tried to step into your world with compassion and patience...
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Seeing God's Answer

...His tense body seethed with defiance as he yelled, “I don’t have to.  I can do whatever I want.”  That familiar phrase pounded my head as I wished this nightmare would end...
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Open Hands, Open Heart

The LOVE I have for my stepchildren has expanded my heart more than I could ever imagine.  The HOPE I hold is that there are places within me where they find safety and celebration for their amazing lives.  The GRACE I pray for is fresh with each new morning.
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The Worst Father's Day, The Best Father's Day

...my two daughters asked if they could go to the lake on Father's Day with their new stepdad and mother...It really hurt that they wanted to spend Father's Day with their new stepdad...
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The Effective Step Father

Anyone who has been a father and then a stepfather knows that they aren’t the same.  Here are some practical tools for the stepfather tool box.
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His Number One Girl

What do you do if your stepdaughter always wants to be daddy's "number one girl?"
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Unrealistic Expectation #439: My Life is My Own

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Stepparents: Coping with the Weekend

One issue that causes continuing problems for many stepparents is the every-other-weekend visit of stepchildren. Perhaps you know those feelings that start a few days or even a week before the visit? The fear, the dread, the uncertainty, the insecurity -- all very real and upsetting. And as much as you wish you could, you just can't seem to get past them.
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Erma Bombeck on Stepfathers

From our friends at the National Center for Fathering comes this full-life perspective from humorist Erma Bombeck.  A must read!
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The Name Game

Adults and children alike take very seriously the names (or labels) they use to refer to one another.  So just what should parents recommend to children?  What emotional significance is indicated by a particular name? 
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Paralyzed Parenting & Stepfamilies: When You Don’t Follow Through

It’s one of the biggest complaints I hear about biological parents (either from a stepparent or an ex-spouse regarding the other biological parent): “They just don’t follow through.  No matter how much we discuss it, once we make a plan, they just don’t follow through with discipline—and the rest of us are suffering for it.”  There are lots of reasons that biological parents “get wimpy”...

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Learning From a Good Stepmom

Encouragement for stepmoms: One of our readers shared these observations of a good stepmom in our Promised Land Stepfamilies section.  Her comments obviously struck a nerve as many stepmoms have added their comments and questions to the discussion.  The result: encouragement and inspiration. 
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Hope for the Struggling Stepparent

Can God use my pain for His good?  Absolutely.  He has already worked in my personal life to file off the rough edges of pain, insecurity, jealousy, and selfishness.  And I know if He can work such miraculous works in my life, He can do it in yours too!
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The Parental Unity Rules

United you stand, divided you fall.  These rules will help parent and stepparent work together and stay on the same side.
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Instilling the Attitude of Gratitude

How do you teach children to appreciate what they have rather than suffer with the "give-me's"?
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Helping Children Cope with Loss: Practice Emotional Coaching

No one in stepfamilies has suffered more loss than children.  Whether you like it or not—parents and stepparents alike—you are grief counselor.  Here is one significant way you can help.
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Bridge Building Tips for Stepparents

Practically, how can you create connection with stepchildren?  Here are some quick tips.

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Parental Pitfall: Always Playing Defense

If someone were to ask your spouse, “Are you able to approach your partner with concerns and discipline suggestions about his/her children?” how would they respond?   Is your first response to constructive suggestions defensiveness or are you willing to listen objectively?
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Stepparenting Smart: Finding Your Place

We all like to know what is expected of us, especially regarding our family role.  Stepparents often discover that the ambiguous nature of their role makes for great frustration.  Being a smart stepparent starts by knowing your place in the family.
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What Do We Do Now? When Stepsiblings Have Sex

A shock to the family system, what do parents do when stepsiblings become romantically involved or have sex with each other?
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Stepparenting: The Attachment Difference

To become effective leaders of children, stepparents must develop a secure bond with their stepchildren... Biological parents are “born” with strong attachment to their children. Stepparents, however, must grow this deep attachment.
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Changing the Rules

Here are some guidelines to help couples communicate the changes, especially when the stepparent’s opinion has obviously contributed to the change.
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Part-Time Parenting

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When the Going Gets Tough, Click Reboot

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Where's Mom? The Disengaged Biological Parent

One of the great tragedies of divorce is when one biological parent disengages from their child. Watching your child suffer rejection from an uninvolved and uninterested parent is heart breaking. Even worse, I've observed that an inconsistent parent who promises time together and then repeatedly breaks the promise can be even more heart-breaking on children. Their hopes are raised, only to be dashed on the rocks of disappointment again and again. Of course, this leaves the remaining parent to explain their absence.

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Parenting Troubling Emotions

Troubling emotions in our children trouble us as parents. A wise parent or stepparent knows how to parent a child through negative emotions.
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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

What is a parent to do when feeling caught between their child and their spouse?
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Step Father, What Do Your Kids Need?

Two-thirds of stepparents also have biological children of their own. Balancing parental responsibilities, spousal commitments, and stepparent roles can be challenging—and guilt producing. Here are some suggestions you can implement in particular as it relates to your children.
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