Step-Parenting is Challenging, But This Can Help

Do you ever feel torn between wanting your step-children to like you and knowing that you still need to have rules and discipline? Have you found that letting the biological parent handle all the discipline doesn’t work really well all the time.

Blended families are becoming more and more common in today’s world. Consequently, more kids are being raised partially by step-parents. If you don’t have a good idea of the role of a step-parent, you will probably go through difficult times full of power struggles and disrespect.

Love and Logic teaches parents how to be consultant parents. Consultant parents give kids plenty of opportunities to succeed and to fail and then, in a loving way, they allow the consequences of their step-children’s (and their own children’s) actions to teach life’s lessons.

For instance, consultant parents are great at applying consequences with empathy and avoid using sarcasm, anger, and frustration. By doing so, their step-children tend to see their own mistakes as the cause of their discomfort rather than the parent or step-parent.

Consultant parents take good care of themselves by understanding that their step-children are grieving the loss of the family structure that existed when mom and dad were together. Therefore they don’t take personally the disrespectful comments that their step-children make towards them. Instead they model how to treat people with respect by treating their step-children with respect. They may also say something like, “Huh” and then walk away knowing that the more words they use when the child is upset the worse the interaction will be for all involved. Then, when emotions have been calmed, step-parents can use Love and Logic techniques to teach the importance of respect much more effectively.

Another thing that consultant parents do is use enforceable statements. Rather than telling their step-children what to do, they tell their step-children what they will do. This doesn’t mean that they use threats such as, “if you don’t get this place cleaned up, then your going to stay here until you do!” Instead, consultant parents may say something like, “I’ll be happy to take you to your friends house tonight as soon as this area is clean.”

To find out more about what you can do as a step-parent to strengthen your relationship with your step-kids, visit

Have a nice day and good luck.

Shiloh Lundahl, LMSW

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