Step parenting Snafus
Q: My daughter is divorced with two school-aged kids. She has joint custody so the kids switch houses every week. Her husband has remarried and she is engaged. The problem is my daughter's boyfriend has a fit every time my daughter needs to make contact with her ex, which is often since they have the kids. He doesn't want any contact at all. I honestly can't see their marriage working and being happy with this level of mistrust in their relationship. What are your thoughts? -- Lynn, 65
Dr. Susan: There isn't a lot you can do to help your daughter without antagonizing her. Try pulling her aside and pointing out that her boyfriend doesn't seem to understand the dynamics of how divorced parents care for their kids. Your daughter should keep all contacts with the ex out in the open, and limit face-to-face contact except when necessary. However, I'd advise your daughter to avoid marrying this fellow until he shows a more adult attitude. I don't know if she would be open to getting her guy a book about step parenting. He needs to be educated for this relationship to work. As for the mistrust, you're totally right. He should be accepting her explanations for child-related contacts with her ex without arguing.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.