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What Do We Do Now? When Stepsiblings Have Sex



Ron L. Deal


            I’ve been talking and writing about this for years. And every time it comes up parents and stepparents look at me as if I’m crazy—until it happens to them.

            Craig talked to me at a conference: “I can’t believe my daughter and her stepbrother, Josh, are telling us they have romantic feelings for one another. Even though Josh doesn't live with us they have grown up knowing one another; my daughter was two and Josh was three when Carri and I married. How can this be? I guess they have already kissed at this point. What do we do?”


            Brad and Gwen had been seriously dating for about a year when they discovered that her son and his daughter had a crush on each other. A friend told Gwen that the talk at school was that if Brad and Gwen got married, their children would be living in the same house—and they already liked each other.



Robert wrote to our ministry with a very heavy heart. “We are going through a storm and need some guidance. Marsha and I have been married for four years with four children and feel we have a healthy family situation. That’s why we cannot understand why this has happened. My son, Ian (age 17) and Marsha’s daughter, Monica (age 15) had sex last Sunday night. They have been like brother and sister throughout our marriage and now they have lost their virginity to one another. I’m just glad guilt took over and they confessed within a day. We have asked for help from our youth pastor and have talked with the kids about their decision, but we know this has changed our family forever. How could this have happened? We were proactive in teaching our children about healthy sexuality and God’s values. What do we do now?


Understanding the Vulnerability

            First, let me say very clearly that internal stepfamily sexuality—between stepsiblings—is very rare. And yet, it does happen. Why?

            In The Smart Stepfamily I devoted an entire section to discussing the dynamics surrounding intra-family sexuality in stepfamilies. Let me summarize those key points here:

·         No Natural Taboo. Biological siblings have a natural taboo against sexuality. It seems that “shared DNA” is a powerful deterrent to sexual attraction which is one significant reason incest is rare. Ask someone if they think of their biological siblings in sexual ways and they’ll say, “That’s gross!” Stepsiblings don’t have shared DNA and therefore, don’t have the natural taboo. This doesn’t necessarily open the door to sexuality, but it does unlock it.

·         The Command for Closeness. When two families come together there is an assumption that people will do just that—“bond together." This creates an unspoken expectation that stepsiblings will move toward one another. Displays of affection, warmth, and hugs of endearment are non-sexual ways of communicating this coming together. However, non-sexual touches can take on sexual implications, especially for teens whose psychological boundaries are not strong.

·         A Sexually Charged Environment. This occurs for a number of reasons. First, before the wedding children watch as their parent goes through a period of dating and developing romance. Children may coach their parent on how to act, talk, or what perfume to wear on a date. In addition, a child is often witness to the increasing physical affections and touches that couples share as romance deepens. One father shared how this impacted his children. "While dating I kissed my future bride in front of the house before saying good night. My youngest son poked his head around the corner and yelled, `Goooooo Daddy!'" Children can't help but witness these romantic affections.

But romance doesn't stop there. A second reason for a sexually charged environment is what happens after the wedding. The first year of marriage is frequently speckled with romantic gestures and snuggling on the couch before bedtime. All of which communicates the message that "sexuality is alive and well in this household."

·         Developing Teenage Sexuality. Our society is obsessed with sex. It pervades the movies, music, and conversation of the average adolescent. Sex is everywhere—outside and “inside”. Changes in hormones and physical appearance inside a child’s body lead to many confusing thoughts and feelings for teenagers. It is imperative that parents present a godly view of sexuality—it’s purpose and promise—throughout adolescence. If parents begin early to discuss God's design for our bodies and sexuality, important conversations with confused adolescents will be easier. But whether easy or difficult, such conversations must take place.

            These are just some of the dynamics that may contribute to romantic or sexual boundaries being crossed in a stepfamily. Therefore, it’s best for parents to be proactive in preventing such behavior; stepfamilies need to set behavioral boundaries that discourage intentional and unconscious sexual attractions.


Boundaries that Honor.

            Set boundaries (rules governing behavior) that teach family members to honor one another. Respecting privacy and valuing the specialness of each family member is an important message for everyone to learn.

·         Set rules that honor privacy. It may feel totally unnecessary, but consider having a dress code. Teenagers, in particular, can overlook how their dress invites others to see them in sexual ways, or consider them a symbol of sexuality. Girls, for example, who sleep in their underwear and a long T-shirt may be comfortable walking around the house dressed for bed. Little do some girls realize how that arouses a natural curiosity within boys about their body shape. Boys can easily entertain thoughts that cross from non-sexual curiosities to sexual ones. To counter this possibility, set a dress code and explain why it is necessary.

·         Other rules you might implement include knocking before entering bedrooms and how persons will share the bathroom. Help your children work out a respectful system for shower schedules and sharing bathrooms.

·         Boundaries are particularly important when a stepsibling from another home moves into your home. Children and teens that have known each other for years, but never have lived together full time, need clear rules of conduct.

·         Be sure not to turn a blind eye to any signs that someone is uncomfortable. If you perceive a child withdrawing or showing signs of stress, calmly approach the child to investigate the situation. Error on the side of caution.

·         Have frank discussions with teens and pre-teens (separately) about sexual boundaries and healthy sexual attitudes. Setting rules that honor sexuality and privacy is sure to create opportunities for adults to speak with children and teens about sexuality. Take advantage of such opportunities to teach God's purpose for sexuality and the protection his statues provide. The message parents give children in stepfamilies is the same fundamental message any parent would give—it just applies to people both inside and outside the home. The message is this: your sexuality and the sexuality of others is a gift from God that is to be honored and protected. Healthy sexuality between two married people helps build their relationship to each other and God. Sexuality outside God's boundaries erodes relationships and creates a sin barrier between God and us.

Unfortunately some parents rely on scare tactics to encourage sexual purity before marriage. In an effort to keep their children from having sexual thoughts or urges, they scare them with the consequences of premarital sex. I believe we should be honest with children and teens about the potential emotional and physical consequences of premarital sex. However, the scare method doesn't present sex as a gift from God to be honored. It turns it into a curse to be avoided. When children grow to be married adults, switching the messages in their brain to see sex as something to be embraced and pursued is often difficult. It is much better for parents to teach sex as a gift to be protected and honored. God's law that sex is kept until marriage is meant to protect us from harm and provide for our sexual pleasure in marriage. We can teach our children to protect one another's honor and their own so that the gift of sexuality can be enjoyed later in its proper marital context.

·         Talk about sexual attractions in a matter-of-fact manner. Having healthy and honest conversations about the sexual truths of life normalizes them for children. For example, explaining menstruation to a pre-adolescent girl or wet dreams to a boy before they occur prepares the child for the onset of such experiences. Preparing and normalizing such experiences is important because, in addition to teaching children proper hygiene, it gives the child a God-perspective on the event ("You're becoming a woman!").

In the same way, acknowledging that sexual attractions between stepsiblings can occur normalizes them for the child. This is not to give permission to them, but to teach a proper perspective. The alternative is to say nothing and leave the child to determine the meaning of such an attraction (not a good idea), or to give negative messages that needlessly shame children ("How could you think something like that about her? That's disgusting.").

Instead, a parent might say something like this to his son: "You know son, as we talk about sharing the bathroom with your stepsisters it occurs to me that some kids in a stepfamily like ours sometimes have passing sexual thoughts about their stepsiblings. If that ever happens to you, it doesn't mean you are bad or a disappointment to God. There will be lots of times in life that you have sexual thoughts or feelings toward other people, but it would be inappropriate for you to act on them or keep thinking about the person in that way. So if it happens, ask God to help you to stop thinking about your stepsibling in that way. And make sure you don't dishonor the other person by acting on the attraction or thoughts. If the thoughts keep happening and you get concerned about it, feel free to talk to me. I won't be angry. We'll find a way to handle it. Any questions?"


But What Do We Do Now?

            The last section dealt with prevention. What do you do if stepsiblings have already been romantically or sexually involved with one another? Here are some suggestions to consider.


            Each parent should take primary responsibility for their child. You will need to have many discussions with your children about what happened, how it happened, what they are feeling toward one another, and how you will manage the relationship in the future. Spend lots of time talking as a couple to make sure you have the same expectations for the children, then communicate them to your child. You can stand together as a team while doing so (I hope you can), but it’s usually best in high stress situations to let each biological parent be the point person to their child. This will not be a one-time conversation. Sexual sin has many emotional, psychological, spiritual, and familial consequences. You will be processing these consequences and life lessons for a long time.

            What About Everyone Else? You will have to decide as a couple how to manage the rest of your family. Are there other siblings who are aware of the situation? I believe they should know at some point, but when? What developmental matters of the other children (e.g., age) should you consider? Will you tell extended family members? Why or why not? There is no universal answer to these question; each will have to be based on your circumstances.

            Decide together what consequences to impose. Helping children learn from their decisions sometimes involves punishment. Decide together how you will respond to what has happened and follow-through. Be sure, however, to balance your discipline with reinforcing statements of love and assurance. Overreacting in anger and shaming a child without messages of acceptance can drive them further into sin.

            Make sure physical boundaries are clear. If you haven’t been proactive in establishing a dress code or rules to manage physical boundaries (e.g., “knock before entering someone’s bedroom”) you must do so immediately. The emotional chaos and anxiety that will result from sexual lines being crossed will necessitate structure and clear boundaries for everyone. Try to avoid going into complete “control mode” as parents, but provide insulation where you can. This may mean that the children can’t be at home by themselves after school as before or other common sense boundaries. Try to remove temptations. Remember, sex doesn’t have a “reverse” gear, only “forward”. In other words, once kids have had sex, doing so again becomes a lot easier.

            The most awkward boundary to discuss is future physical affections. As family members stepsiblings share hugs, hold hands during family prayers, and say “I love you.” Once celebrated in the home, these common family affections will now be considered suspect. Can the children go back to a time of innocence? They cannot. They need to be able to express appropriate affection, yet doing so may be confusing. In addition, how will you know when your fears are exaggerating the circumstances? All of these issues will need to be discussed and sorted-out over time.

            And what about affections between other family members? In one family after two teens engaged in sexual touch it affected the couple’s marriage. Not wanting to encourage repeated behavior by the children, the wife became fearful of showing her husband affection both publically and privately. A temporary response such as this is understandable, but over time this has the potential for real harm in a marriage. Guard yourselves from becoming victims of your anxiety.

            Have “What if” Conversations. These are aimed at changing behavior in the future.

·         “What if you two find yourself at home alone. How will you handle it?”

·         “What if you feel attracted to them again. What will you do?”

·         “What if someone brings this up and you feel embarrassed. How will you act?”

·         “What if you feel pressured by your stepbrother/sister?”

The possible conversations are endless. In effect, this type of question helps a child take responsibility for themselves and develops an action plan for the future. Some parents are tempted to tell a child what to do and how they will feel. In highly emotionally charged situations like this, doing so—especially with teenagers—usually backfires. Help them think it through with you and come up with their own strategies. Your job is to coach their thinking process toward maturity.

            Engage in “What Have You Learned About Yourself?” Conversations. Again, these conversations are aimed at helping the child grow through this experience. You wish it didn’t happen, but it did. Help them learn something about themselves.

·         “What made you vulnerable to this situation?”

·         “What were you thinking when you began undressing?”

·         “In what ways did you rationalize or justify your behavior?”

·         “You know that being stepsiblings makes this very complicated for our family. How did you dismiss that when you pursued the relationship?”

·         “How will you manage your vulnerabilities in the future?”


Still Family

            Without question, sex between stepsiblings is a family tragedy, but you’re still family. Applying firm but loving consequences and boundaries, and much needed grace and forgiveness to your circumstances will begin a healing process for your family. Things will not ever be the same—there will be much heartache, but in time there may also be something to be grateful for. But not if you give up, shut down, or cut yourself off from each other. Seek the Lord’s help, get outside support from a trusted counselor or pastor, and press on.




Ron L. Deal is President of Smart Stepfamilies, Director of FamilyLife Blended (www.familylife.com), a popular conference speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Smart Stepfamily, The Smart Stepfamily DVD, The Smart Stepmom (with Laura Petherbridge), The Smart Stepdad, Dating and the Single Parent, and The Smart Stepfamily Marriage (with David H. Olson). Find resources at www.SmartStepfamilies.com.


Comments ( 26 )
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#26: by Ron Deal on 03.14.2017 @ 08:10am CDT


Chaotic families often produce in children a desire to escape; romantic feelings for you in childhood could just represent the immature need to escape the conflict, anger, etc. and find safety. It certainly doesn't represent a mature love. So, even now those feelings that are deeply embedded in his soul, continue on, but they need to be reprocessed in light of adulthood. You don't need to feel guilty for anything he felt/feels; he shouldn't act on them (you both have commitments to honor); and the "weirdness" of this discovery can be overcome by continuing to love each other as brother and sister. With compassion for how messed up the past was, you treat each other with honor now. The mistake people make is feeling like they have to distance themselves to avoid the awkwardness of the situation; just remain brother and sister. In effect, your adult selves guided by God's love can re-parent the confused little child in him that has held on to the idea of you as "savior". You both have a different Savior now.
#25: by E.U. on 03.12.2017 @ 08:27am CDT

"Unfortunately some parents rely on scare tactics to encourage sexual purity before marriage...It turns it into a curse to be avoided. When children grow to be married adults, switching the messages in their brain to see sex as something to be embraced and pursued is often difficult."

That Sir is the most truthful Understatement of the last two millennia.

Add in frequent ritual beatings - food and sleep deprivation - plus liberal application Military Intelligence trained psychological warfare and torture techniques ... all backed by constant quoting of twisted scriptural interpretations ... and the SWITCH is not difficult but impossible. BTW, this works when no step family is involved.

PS: Murder has no reverse gear.

Atheistic, religion hating, never married, childless, survivor of fanatical fundamentalist "christian" cult.

Solitary Confinement,
Taylor Harding Institute for the Criminally Insane,
Tuscaloosa Al

#24: by Stephanie on 02.28.2017 @ 06:45pm CST

I appreciate your words here, but, my brother, who became my brother when he was 4, which was 33 years ago, just told me he's loved me as long as he can remember. We are both married, with children. We came from an extremely abusive and manipulative family, that lacked praise and support. We've spent most of our adult lives estranged, and recently reconnected. Obviously he carried this emotional burden alone. It was quite a bombshell for me to hear. Can you offer any advice?
#23: by Ron Deal on 07.11.2016 @ 01:40pm CDT


No, it is not categorically wrong for them to date, but it sure makes things weird...and messy! And you're right, if they date and "break up" Christmas gets really strange. This one needs to be bathed in prayer. Only you can discern the dynamics at play. I suggest having multiple conversations with them (individually and together) about this including fast-forwarding life and asking lots of "what if..." questions to see how they play out. "What if you break up?" "What if you get married?" "How would you feel introducing yourself and us to others?" Etc., etc. Try to get to reality very quickly.

Like I said, lots of prayer!
#22: by Allen on 07.09.2016 @ 10:15am CDT

I have been dating a lady for a year now and we are engaged to be married. We just learned that my daughter and her son, one is 22 the other 18 have romantic feelings for each other. They have only known each other for maybe 7 months. Have not ever lived together and never new each other till we introduced them. But when we get married they will be step siblings. We have talked to them and they, of course feel it is unfair to tell them they can not have feelings for one another. I have 2 other children all above the age of 16 and her youngest is 13. We have explained to them that if it doesn't work out they will still be around each other because of us getting married. Do you have any suggestions? What should we do? Is it wrong? Is it okay? Just needing a little guidance. Thank You
#21: by aLien on 05.11.2016 @ 05:48pm CDT


this is tough situation. I pray for your family. Yet this is exactly the situation I've written a year ago. More you push, worse be the response. It is like with cornered animal. Even small mouse could do serious bitting when cornered.

As Ron wrote keep the relationship and biblical values.

I would advice also to put them before serious choice. Either nothing or everything. Meaning either no romance at all or proper marriage. Obviously with no sex before getting married. This choice gives you back control. It will be them to fulfill the steps toward married life.

Even through your step son has bad habits and is unsaved, this might give him a chance to start thinkink about Jesus. Husband of my friend got through this push when she stood before decission either together in Christ or no relationship. It was bumpy start, yet he made it. Jesus is the Lord and no heart is out of reach for Him.

The general message should be: You want my daughter? So be it. Not as a thief in the night, but as a honest loving husband who knows Jesus Christ. The work is hard and the gate is narrow.

If you could persuade you daughter about this approach it might give lever on the stepson. And clearly defined steps should be taken and honesly checked. If you have Christian counselor I woud suggest to get his help. It is quite similar to regular premarriage preparation. And the difference is even smaller as the stepson is out of house now. It could help your husband as well as significant part of the effort will be Gods Word plus it's practical usage.

Just a word of warning, any deception in this part could cause damage for years or even decades. It doesn't mean you turn blind eye to bad thing. It means you give them honest chance. With honest approach (even though strict) you get their thankfulness (invisible at the beggining) and even if they give up in the process they will not have ill feeling toward you.
#20: by Amber on 04.29.2016 @ 10:56am CDT


Thank you so much for your prayers and advice...we are working on finding a qualified local Christian counselor. I'm thankful that what satan means for harm, God can use for good. In the meantime, we will do our best to trust him with our children.

We learned so many things through your book and our small group study. Thank you for allowing God to use you to minister to blended families.

#19: by Ron Deal on 04.29.2016 @ 10:11am CDT


We are praying along with you. My strongest suggestion is that you find a (or continue with a) Christian marriage and family therapist who can asses the situation and walk through this ordeal with you. There are too many details and dynamics at play to know what to suggest from the outside in a forum like this.

In the meantime, you are holding the boundaries high--good for you, don't lower them. Lovingly, but persistently keep your expectations for purity as they are. This may keep a heavy strain on your relationships with each, so balance it with staying emotionally connected to your stepson and affirm your love for him (and your daughter) so they know this hasn't severed your relationship.

My guess is their obsession with each other at this point is in part about not letting you parents tell them what to do. Perhaps in time they won't need to prove you wrong.

It may not feel like it, but it sounds like you're on the right path. Stay on it.

And, it may not feel like you're doing very much, but remaining loving toward them as individuals and resolved not to lower your boundaries is worth the effort.

Would each person reading this please offer a quick prayer for this family.
#18: by Amber on 04.29.2016 @ 09:40am CDT

I've never reached out online for advice before, but my husband and I just hosted a small group through our church and completed "The Smart Stepfamily" study. I have full trust in Ron Deal's advice and guidance, and I honor his unparalleled wisdom with blended family issues.

My husband and I got married last July, so we've been married for a short but eventful 9 months. Within a month of getting married, we discovered through text messages on my daughter's phone that our step children -ages 14 and 15 at the time- were pursuing a romantic relationship with each other. After months of trying to stop this, including an alarm system to keep them apart at night while we slept, we were unsuccessful. My step son finally moved to his mother's house 4 hours from us, which devastated my husband, as she is an atheist and he will not be raised in a Christian environment. We now can't allow them to be in the same home together overnight. We can't even go on family vacations or share holidays together for fear that they will have sex. Nothing seems to stop them, and trust me - we have tried it all. They still communicate constantly, all day long, through social media, and it's so heartbreaking. My daughter says they love each other, and she's considering pursuing a serious relationship with him forever. He is not a Christian and he's making horrible choices like stealing, drinking, etc. He also threatens suicide if she mentions stopping the relationship. He has made it clear that nothing we could do will ever keep them apart. He is adamant about refusing counseling and says he will NOT cooperate with a counselor, and our insurance does not Include mental health benefits.

What can we do? We would appreciate any guidance you can offer! We are already praying relentlessly. Thank you!
#17: by Ron Deal on 01.25.2016 @ 12:55pm CST


Oh, I am so sorry. This must be so hard for your entire family. Given all the dynamics and decisions that must be answered in the weeks and years ahead, it is imperative that you find a trusted counselor or pastor to walk with you over time. I prayed for you, the children, and the baby today. May God grant you and the kids wisdom as you move forward.

#16: by Chanel on 01.23.2016 @ 09:47pm CST

My husband and I just found out a couple of days ago my step daughter is 7 months pregnant from my son. The pregnancy was a hard blow and the father was an ever harder blow. They are both 16 and live with us and our 3 children we have together. The kids decided on open adoption, but now my step daughters mom wants to keep the baby, even though she knows this will tear my family apart. What should I do, I love my husband but if the mother decides to make my step daughter keep the baby, we won't be able to stay married. PLEASE HELP US!
#15: by Ron Deal on 12.28.2015 @ 05:56pm CST


As "adults" the children can certainly decide if they want to have a relationship. They need your guidance as they consider the pros and cons of having a dual relationship (that is, "siblings" and "partners"), how to proceed, and how it will effect others in the family. This is not a simple decision, for sure.

Finally, having sex is another issue they need help with. I and many relationship experts don't recommend that any dating couple have sex as it steps outside of God's design and will have numerous negative spiritual and relational consequences. For example, I have written elsewhere about how sex outside of marriage blinds couples to the depth and maturity of their relationship and leads many to marry when they probably wouldn't if they were more objective. Having children in your household who are having sex creates even more family consequences. That, too, should be discussed openly.
#14: by Jane on 12.28.2015 @ 01:34pm CST

In our case the step siblings are 17 and 20 years old....and recently became sexually active with each other. At what age are they no longer "children" but. "Adults" as they claim. How much control do my spouse and I have? I am freaked out and don't know what to do.
#13: by aLien on 10.01.2015 @ 03:59am CDT

The article is quite OK, but missing one point. Possibility of marriage. If stepfamily is created at the point of teen age, then ruling it just out is not wise option. Possibility of marriage gives teenagers true responsible choice. Either you keep off or you take it all for life. That is giving them their own decision and is much easier to make them cooperate. It is not pushing them just one direction. Marrying step sibling is neither sin nor illegal. Yet it is a uneasy situation for whole family. Obviously it needs to be overseen by parents and agreed steps checked.

Friend of mine went through such situation and they are together for more than 15 years.
#12: by Ron Deal on 09.15.2015 @ 05:10pm CDT


There's not unique "signs"; in other words, anything that tells you (or others) that they are romantically interested in each other. Sounds like your intuition and an outside person already see that.
#11: by Amber on 09.15.2015 @ 07:48am CDT

I have a concern. It doesnt pertain to my kids, but my fiance's older son, and his ex's boyfriend's eldest. They are aged 13 and 14 and both live together with the parents. My fiance and I have both felt that they were closer than they should be given their situation. I just dont know what types of warning signs I should look out for. We were at a football game and a friend sitting with us noticed and asked if that was the son's girlfriend. The other parents seem to be clueless to it, but me and and my fiance just feel something isn't right.
#10: by Ron Deal on 06.08.2015 @ 04:15pm CDT


It seems that time and age-maturing has been clarifying for you. Childhood and adolescence make step-sibling romance "scary and awkward", as you mentioned--and I would add, for both adults and children. Now, as adults you are much better able to weigh the consequences and make choices. May God bless.
#9: by Ssln88 on 06.06.2015 @ 06:22pm CDT

I wanted to post from the other point of view here, hoping to give understanding. My mother and stepfather married when I was a very young teenager. My stepbrother was a few years older than me, and within a few years, we absolutely fell in love. We did not want to feel this way and it was such a scary and awkward situation for both of us; it was a painful time in my life but I always felt like we were meant for each other. As time went on, we both tried to avoid the situation and we ran from it, but still had encounters with each other now and then. We both grew up and started families, and we were both miserable. I am now in my early 30's, and we finally, after all these years, are together and planing to marry. Our family took it very well and are ok with it, and for the first time in my adult life I am actually happy. Some people do not know how to take it, but we really could care less. We are very happy and very much in love, and I do not feel it is wrong in any way.
#8: by Ron Deal on 01.27.2015 @ 08:10am CST

Dear "Troubled"--

Ugh. I'm so sorry. This has certainly thrown a wrench in your plans. Try to walk this out a day at a time. In other words, don't worry too far forward such that you can't see the next step. Manage the boundaries; listen; talk; discuss; and repeat often...One day at a time.
#7: by Troubled on 01.25.2015 @ 09:11pm CST

I just found out last night. I've read this. I am still angry and beyond hurt. I feel dumb and blind. We were blending this family so well. I have offered my fiancé (pending all this bs) to pay rent for a room until we get it figured out. The last time I randomly decided to reach out to a website, it really helped. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Thus sucks. I finally found love... And our children go and accumulate this distorted view of reality and jeopardize everything we have worked at.
#6: by Ron Deal on 08.06.2013 @ 03:33pm CDT

Ashley, finding help is vital for you and the kids. May I suggest you contact this ministry http://www.genesiscounseling.org/ and Focus on the Family for resources that may speak to your circumstances. Also, find a local therapist who can guide you and your husband through the myriad of decisions you'll have to make in the next few months.

Praying for you.
#5: by Ashley on 08.05.2013 @ 01:45pm CDT

This article does provide some insight, but my situation is a bit different. We've been married going on 4 years and I have a 13 year old and he has a 17 year old. We gained custody of his son in 2008. The boys seemed like they hated one another and didn't get along at all. Yesterday I discovered from some instant messages between the two of them that they have been engaging in sexual activity. My husband and I feel like our world has been turned upside down, and that's not to mention that we have a child together and I am concerned about his safety. Not in a million years would I have ever thought this would be something we would be dealing with. We really need some help!!
#4: by Ron Deal on 07.08.2013 @ 11:51am CDT


I regret this situation for you; I know your heart is hurting for your daughter. You and your husband MUST agree to take action to manage the situation. Do not minimize this or look the other way; this is not healthy for either of them or your famil. The latter half of the above article obviously has some actions steps for you and your husband to consider together, but you may want to consult a local family therapist who can further. One issue I'm considered about is the age of the children and what other factors contributed to their sexual behavior. For example, is pornography an influence? Physical arrangements and boundaries within the home? When and how did they manage to have sex twice--and are they left alone even now? You should consult a therapist who can assess the relationship and psychological impact of the situation and offer some advice. Repair is not going to be easy; stay committed to the process and work with your husband and a trained helper.
#3: by nicolette on 07.04.2013 @ 07:45am CDT

hi. i'm only married 3 months and my 15yr old stepson who lives with us permanently and my 13yr old daughter had sex twice before my daughter told me. now my stepson hates her for telling me and treats her badly. so much so that she wants to leave the family and go to boarding school. how to i resolve my feelings of anger re this matter and how to i repair my family please. i really nneed help pls. thx
#2: by Lindsay on 01.06.2010 @ 02:23pm CST

What about the step-parents of a newly married couple getting romantically involved? Your article makes it sound as if it is only teenagers who engage in this type of behavior because they lack the emotional maturity to deal with sexual attraction, but my friend Sara got married 5 years ago, and her mother (who is a divorcee) admitted to having an affair with Sara's husband's father (who is also a divorcee).
#1: by Toni on 09.10.2009 @ 01:33pm CDT

We had the clothing conersation early on with our girls... at bio's Mom's they were allowed to run around in underwear in front of step father... we coached them as developing young ladies it was inappropriate around any "male" figures to be inappropriately dressed. My husband did a really good job explaining that men/boys are visual and that woman/girls can send wrong messages based on attire.

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