NEW PARENT, NO NEW RULES
"You're not my real parent. You can't tell me what to do."
Stepparents who move in with new rules and routines may find their authority rejected.
Sometimes a stepparent may think, "This family has been without any-one in charge too long; I'll get this place in order."
These individuals are heading for trouble. All the observations may be true. There may be behavior problems, but the harder the stepparent comes on with new rules, the more deeply he or she will drive a wedge into family relationships.
Over time the stepparent can expect to have more influence.
But communication with the spouse is essential. With teen-agers, stepparents may never reach the level of authority held by natural parents.
Stepparents help create family unity when they
Family Life Specialist
Iowa State University Extension
Ames, IA 50011