Friday, May 11, 2007

Step Parenting Blues


I just read your response to the lady regarding her partners five year old son. And, after reading the article by Mike Brock on Relational Parenting, his words confirmed for me what I have been feeling for a long time... we are not being good models of behavior with the constant, and sometimes intense, arguing. I noticed that you had recommended your e-book Positive Discipline for your Step Family, but before purchasing it, I wanted to ask if there is another book or article you might suggest for my family...step yes, but made up of three high schoolers, mine and his. I just hate wasting time on information that is most applicable to young children. The different approaches to discipline between my husband and I are taking a huge toll on our relationship and I don't want the kids to have to live with this any longer.

Any suggestions?

Fraught and heartbroken


Dear Fraught and Heartbroken,

My heart breaks for you and for your kids. AND, you are in a very good place because of your awareness and desire to change. It is difficult to tell you which book might be best, so let me tell you a little about two of them and you decide. The Positive Discipline for Stepfamilies eBook is good because if provides lots of tools, and also addresses the challenges of step-parenting.

Positive Discipline for Teenagers is excellent for families with teens. (Yours.) It focuses only on the challenges of parenting teens. The focus is on understanding their individuation process instead of taking everything personally, and focusing on solutions instead of engaging in power struggles. Some parents like to the get the Empowering Teens CDs (or MP3 download) to go along with PD for Teens, because listening to the one hour lecture "brings it alive."

The 25th year anniversary edition of Positive Discipline is excellent, but it does cover younger children too. However, many of the tools suggested for use with younger children are very appropriate with teens. One of the big concepts I included in this new edition is for parents and teachers to take responsibility (not blame or shame) for how they help create many of the behavior challenges they face. Every Positive Discipline book includes many tools. In this book I created a summary of every tool that was covered in each chapter.

I will say that the Step Family book is extremely cost effective. What would you have to lose if found even one idea that is helpful? And, I know you will find many. I know it is a pain in the butt to have to read something on a screen (although some people like it).

Many people purchase more than one book because they all have some different information (and some repeats), and most of us parents need as much reprogramming as we can get.

And, if you need more help, go to and consider counseling. Lynn is the co-author of Positive Discipline for Teenagers and has several clients she works with via phone.

I hope you have signed up for my monthly newsletter at You might find these articles and Q & As very helpful.

I wish you the best.

Jane Nelsen

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