My Spouse or My Kids?

My Kids or My Spouse?

You married for love. You married forever. But you never expected your marriage would involve having to choose between your new spouse an...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Your Opinion, Please

I'd honestly like to hear your opinion on this question which recently came up in a discussion group for stepparents of difficult children ... 
Which is worse (or, conversely, which is better) - 
1) no physical discipline, but plenty of verbal; or 
2) calm, physical discipline?
This question came up after a rather passionate discussion of how parents and stepparents handled hard-to-control children. Some were vehemently opposed to any sort of "physical violence" such as spanking, slapping, or bodily lifting and placing a child in a chair. Their reasoning was that violence begets violence. If you teach a child that hitting is acceptable, that child will fall back on hitting when he or she is excited.

The negative side of this group was that they admitted to far-too-often succumbing to the temptation to scream at their children to get their attention. Instead of grabbing Junior up from the TV and making him get moving, the tended to steadily increase from telling, to yelling, to screaming at him to move. They confessed they "lost it" at least once a week.

The "spare the rod, spoil the child" group first categorically insisted they had specific guidelines regarding corporeal punishment: when, how, and why to spank or slap, and usually had a follow-up strategy. Their method is generally to avoid emotional outbursts and to administer fair amounts of physical discipline, from bottom swats, to hand slaps, to lifting and removing the child.

Both sides were solid in their belief that theirs was the best way, and both had many examples of how well their own program worked for their children. 

But this was a fairly small group - only 6 couples. So I decided to expand this question. I'd like to know how most families deal with discipline/guidance for their unruly children. Please answer using the anonymous option on the comment page so there is no question of anyone getting in trouble. 

Other stepparents and biological parents are facing the same issues you are. I know they'd like to hear your opinions and your reasoning for your side.


STEPcoach, Bob Collins

25 Ideas that might make Life Easier...

A chum sent this along in an email. Don't know where it came from originally (sorry I can't give credit where credit is due), but I thought you'd appreciate some of these brilliant tips. Merry Christmas, y'all!

Why didn't I think of that?!
We guarantee you'll be uttering those words more than once at these ingenious little tips, tricks and ideas that solve everyday problems … some you never knew you had!

(Above: hull strawberries easily using a straw).
Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.
Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40 (also works on walls).
Stop cut apples browning in your child's lunch box by securing with a rubber band.
Overhaul your linen cupboard – store bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.
Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone / iPod in a bowl – the concave shape amplifies the music.
Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.
Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily – who knew?!
Attach a Velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.
Look up! Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor.
Gotcha! Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose.
Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.
For those who can't stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.
Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins (and tweezers and clippers) behind a vanity door
A tip for holiday packing. Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel!
A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.
Bread tags make the perfect-sized cord labels.
Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones – so much more fun and easier for kids to eat. Definitely doing this!
Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.
Brilliant space-saver: install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles. Genius!
Win friends at breakfast with this heart-shaped egg tutorial. Aww shucks!
Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila – you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream.
Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.
Gutter garden: Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.
Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Buying Guide for Your (STEP) Daughter

Does the following conversation sound familiar?
"What should we get Debbie for Christmas this year?" 
"I don't think we should get her a phone yet. Other parents have bought their girls phones at her age, but it just seems too early." 
"Yeah, I agree …" 
(Usually followed by dead silence.)
If you have a teenage daughter or stepdaughter in your home, you've probably had a similar discussion. Or you will before too long. As your daughter is growing up, you don't want to give her too much too soon. 

Maybe this is a good time to start thinking: what does our daughter need? It's easy to buy what our daughters want … they usually tell us! But what do they need?

Working with stepfamilies who have teens has taught me a principle: Giving your teen too much may equal giving her too little. Some of the most disturbed girls I have known have been the most spoiled. We spoil our daughters when we give them things they just want instead of things they really need. 

Girls who don't get what they need from their fathers demonstrate a hunger in their heart. This hunger is often revealed in at least four ways: boredom, self-involvement, becoming boy crazy, or becoming demanding.

What can a father do to feed the hunger in a daughter's heart? What can we do to keep her from becoming a demanding, self-involved, boy-crazy girl?  Answer: feed the genuine hunger of her heart. Give her what she really needs.

I believe there are three things a daughter needs from her dad; 

1. Connection

A daughter needs to feel special. she needs to know we consider her valuable. She needs to know we like her—that we want to spend time with just her. One-on-one time is an effective way to show your daughter she is very special to you.

Another way to connect with our daughters is with meaningful touch. They need it the most when it's the most difficult to give. When our little girls become teens, we're tempted to back off with our physical affection. "I wouldn't want to do anything inappropriate," we dads or stepdads reason. And that's good, but our daughters still need  dad's affection. Just because she's beginning to look like a woman doesn't mean she doesn't still need your meaningful touch. Sure, it will be different from when she was younger. Instead of wrestling on the living room floor, now it's a quick hug.

Time and place are important, too. I have noticed that my teenage stepdaughter is open to more affection when our family is all together in the privacy of our home. When watching TV for example, we often snuggle close with popcorn, laughs, and affection to share.

Some dads have found it helpful to have a daddy-daughter date every so often. Whether it's once a week or once a month, the consistency of a focused time together strengthens the relationship and shows you care enough to take time out just for her.

2. Communication

Have you noticed your daughter is different in some ways from her mother? Every woman is unique. Become a student of your stepdaughter. Ask yourself: What is her favorite kind of music? What makes her happy? What makes her angry? What's she hoping for? Who are her friends? Part of becoming a student of your daughter is determining her language of love. Does she seem to appreciate it more when you do things for her … or with her … or when you present her with a gift?

Regardless of the dialect, try to figure out what speaks love to your daughter. Then practice communicating love the way she "gets it." Develop a strategy to communicate love….

One strategy is letters. She probably doesn't want to listen to a lecture, so why not try writing her a letter. List the topics you want to share with her and begin. You may start with one letter a week. You could write about how proud you are of her dedication to band practice, or your concern over her sad mood lately, or the sweet way she sings along with the radio while doing her homework. Find something positive to lift her up and let her know you are paying attention. Even though communication and writing letters (not emails!) may be difficult for you, it's worth doing.

But if you think verbal communication is sort of overrated, try non-verbal communication. I try to come up with creative ways to communicate with my stepdaughter. I might place small notes on her mirror, in her textbook, or hide them under her pillow during the day. You might buy yours her favorite ice cream flavor, put it in the freezer, and leave her a few written clues to find it.

Or try talking with built-in distractions. Teens often don't communicate the way adults do. the aren't as confident as we are. If they have a built-in distraction, they may feel more secure. For example, you might have noticed that some of the best conversations occur in the car. That's because at any given moment, if the discussion gets uncomfortable, your daughter can say, "Hey, look at that!" and easily change the subject. It's safe.

One dad likes to go to restaurants that have crayons and coloring sheets and grab one for everybody. He's found that his stepdaughter really opens up when she is coloring, sipping on a shake, and chatting with someone who listens ... even if it's just him. Dads, make sure you take the time to communicate how you're feeling. Let her see that you have emotions. For many females, the only emotion they see in a male is anger.

Prepare your daughter for a healthy marriage and a healthy relationship with you by letting her know how you feel. If you are feeling stress from work, admit it. If you are worried about her, tell her. Open your heart to the little girl still inside your teen.

3. Commitment 

Some dads have the zeal and the information, but if they're lacking the commitment, it won't happen. 

How does a father demonstrate commitment to his daughter? By loving her when she is the most unlovable. Unconditional love reflects commitment … "I will always love you; no matter what." Those teen years provide ample opportunities to test your unconditional love. Maybe that's why God designed it that way. When our daughters need it the most, they make love the hardest to give. If you're like me, sometimes I just don't feel the unconditional love I need to show. I have to first go to my heavenly Father. That is part of His design.

Show your commitment by affirming your daughter. or stepdaughter. Affirm her distinctiveness. Accept and affirm that she is different from you. Accept and value her perspective. A practical way to affirm your daughter might be to give her a gift that says, "You are special." You could give a book or Bible with your note of affirmation written inside; something like: "May God's Word guide you as it has me. It is my prayer that you will continue to grow as a woman of God. Your mother and I are proud of you."

We need a generation of women who are loved, confident, understood, and valued. As fathers and stepfathers, we can be shapers of the next generation of women. The challenge is to give our daughters what they really need.

STEPcoach, Bob Collins

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Out of Africa — Truth

[This interesting article is respectfully borrowed from]

Akumaa Kicks Against Sex Before Marriage

Ace radio sex educationist and presenter, Akumaa Mama Zimbi, born Joyce Dongotey-Padi, has started what can be described as a campaign against those who find delight and believe in the idea of having sex before marriage.

For several years, the veteran actress has been noted for promoting a good sex lifestyle. But this time, she seems to have shifted her attention to the appropriate time to have good sex; and according to her, that is after marriage.

Mama Zimbi has hence been begging young girls and unmarried individuals to stay away from sex prior to marriage. She implored ladies to close their thighs and be watchful of men who were always s ready to have sex, pleading with men to flee the temptation of women until marriage.

Mama Zimbi, who has been hosting ‘Odo Ahumasuo’, an adult education sex programme on Adom FM, has taken her cause to social network, Facebook. She recently posted, “How many guys have toasted, tested and tasted you and promised that they will marry you? Close those beautiful thighs of yours, and save the rest for the best person who will honour you. No marriage no sex…medaase…”

“Let her know that you are a changed guy now and you refuse to always give in to her temptation. Flee and let her know that no marriage no sex,” she said to the guys. Zimbi’s comments have generated a lot of varying opinions on Facebook. While some supported Akumaa’s call against sex before marriage, others kicked against it.

“Mama Zimbi please don’t pollute the minds of our ladies let them enjoy themselves,” one Adjei Augustine commented. “No tasting no buying. If you won’t allow me to taste then how can I know the palm wine is flesh and taste nice?” another guy, Danny White questioned. A lot of couples say they live together before marriage to see if they are compatible as they don’t want to divorce later.

Unconfirmed statistics however show that those who live together before marriage are more likely to get a divorce than those who do not. Mama Zimbi was last in the news for telling Beatwaves that she witnessed live a couple having sexual intercourse.

Akumaa is also the CEO of a widow’s organization called Widows Alliance Network (WANE) which has over the years focused on sustaining the economic development of widows and educating them as well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Divorce issues

[The following "guest column" by me appeared in "The City Wire" this last Sunday. The story refers to an incident where a divorced dad walked into a county courthouse with three guns, tried unsuccessfully to find and kill the family court judge who has handled his divorce, then shot up the courthouse. He only wounded one person, but was killed when he walked outside and continued firing toward the assembled police force.]

When James Ray Palmer burned his home, loaded up his arms, and marched into the Crawford County courthouse last week, it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. Friends and family say he had been leaving clues for awhile that things were about to boil over.And, in fact, it seems the kettle had been bubbling for 12 years, since his divorce. The feelings percolating in his heart weren’t too alien from those many other divorced parents have felt.

Divorce, it has been said, is one of the greatest tragedies we can go through. It is personal in a way few other injuries can be. It strikes to a person’s heart, their self-image, their very soul. The death of a relationship you had counted on being life-long reshapes your concept of life and the world you live in. If you’ve been divorced, even if you were the one who filed for your divorce, you understand the intimacy of the disturbance.

As a family mediator specializing in divorce and re-marriage, I have seen thousands of instances of divorce, some handled well, and many handle poorly. Far too many of the individuals I meet with tell of being just a few steps away from the tragedy that ended Palmer’s pain. They speak of great, burning anger, dreams of revenge, personal agony that never really goes away.

The disturbing fact is that James Palmer acted out what so many divorced parents have fantasized. Most of us just don’t pick up the guns and charge in shooting.

All indications are that Palmer didn’t intend to harm anyone except the judge he blamed for his broken family. The only person shot was the judge’s assistant, and it’s difficult to imagine someone so poor a shot that more than 70 rounds accidentally didn’t hit anyone in the enclosed halls of the courthouse. He was looking for a way out of his misery, and just maybe willing to take out the man he saw as responsible. Notice that in his final act, he didn’t go after his ex-wife or any other family members, just the one outsider closest to the mess.

If that is so, what drove this father and reportedly quiet man over the edge? Why, after more than 10 years fretting over his problems, did he snap now? The answer to that, of course, only James Palmer himself knows for sure, but we know the effects of divorce never really end for a person. As I said before, divorce cuts deeply and re-shapes a person’s attitudes and ideals. The perceived betrayal or abandonment by a person you trusted completely is a life-changing event. 

When a child is involved, it can be even more disturbing.

Through a class I teach for divorcing parents, I have the opportunity to hear and sometimes reach many of these individuals in the middle of their breakup. The mix of feelings — from anger to despair to hopelessness to desperation — leaves them unsure of their position or their future. If they do not properly settle their feelings, the damage can go on the rest of their lives.Some divorcees deal with their loss in socially acceptable ways that are still destructive. 

Drinking, taking drugs, jumping into inappropriate relationships, or throwing out mementoes they will want later are just ways of acting out their pain and confusion. They might use a bottle or someone else’s body instead of a gun, as Palmer did, but the effects are often the same — lives torn up, futures crashed, and, ultimately, their own life lost along the way.

What may someone do to prevent this sort of divorce-related tragedy in their own or a friend’s life? Most important is to deal with the real problem. All the forms of acting out are really ways of avoiding the loss that’s been suffered. Find someone to talk to about how you’re hurting — a close friend, a minister, or a counselor, but someone who can hear your pain, sympathize, understand, and offer encouragement to push on through to more sane times.

Next, get help dealing with the other party in your tragedy, your ex-spouse, if they are at all willing to talk. Mediation always helps, as long as both sides can understand the need to settle the issues. Divorced parents have a relationship that will last the rest of their lives. As long as they have children or grand-children alive, they will have to encounter each other regularly. 

For the sake of their own sanity, as well as their children’s well-being, they must create a new way of being family. Divorce never ends that parental connection, so it is vital they find a way to endure and accept the new relationship. Clearly, Palmer and his son’s mother never successfully re-created their partnership.Using legal avenues didn’t help the Palmers to find peace. They rarely do.

Counseling can help, and Mr. Palmer appears to have needed some intense therapy. But too many people view counseling as a sign of weakness or illness, and the process can be lengthy. 

Mediation is a proven process that goes directly to the point of conflict and guides the two parties to reasonably consider ways to take the pressure off both of them. Children almost always benefit when their parents are willing to sit down and at least try mediating their differences.

Perhaps if the Palmers had been willing to talk through their arguments and let someone guide them to consider methods of working together for their son, the explosion of emotions might have been prevented. No one can say for sure, but there is a great chance.

Mediation may not solve all the problems, but clearing the air and rationally discussing disputes has helped many in the past. It may just be the first step, but it is always better to consider understanding than to just hope things will magically get better on their own.

They rarely do.

STEPcoach, Bob Collins

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What is A "Christian Marriage"?

In an article discussing a televangelist's recent statement that Alzheimer's is sufficient grounds for one spouse to divorce another, the writer, Russell D. Moore, gave one of the best explanations I've heard of what a "Christian marriage" is. Far beyond a simple agreement between two adults to live together and help each other out, a marriage, in a Christian sense, is a reflection of God's promise and relationship to man.

Moore begins by explaining that,
Marriage, the Scripture tells us, is an icon of something deeper, more ancient, more mysterious. The marriage union is a sign, the Apostle Paul announces, of the mystery of Christ and his church (Eph. 5). The husband, then, is to love his wife "as Christ loved the church" (Eph. 5:25). This love is defined not as the hormonal surge of romance but as a self-sacrificial crucifixion of self. The husband pictures Christ when he loves his wife by giving himself up for her.
Marriage is a crucifixion? Is he saying that being married is a slow, agonizing, torturous death sentence? Admittedly, some marriages I've worked on have looked like that on the surface, but that's when both partners aren't looking at the partnership correctly. Moore goes on to elaborate: 

At the arrest of Christ, his Bride, the church, forgot who she was, and denied who he was. He didn't divorce her. He didn't leave.
The Bride of Christ fled his side, and went back to their old ways of life. When Jesus came to them after the resurrection, the church was about the very thing they were doing when Jesus found them in the first place: out on the boats with their nets. Jesus didn't leave. He stood by his words, stood by his Bride, even to the Place of the Skull, and beyond.

Keep in mind here that the "Bride" doesn't refer to the wife in today's marriage, but to Mankind. In the same way that Jesus accepted His responsibility to protect his Bride (The Church) even to the point of taking her punishment on Himself, both parties in a marriage should see themselves as the never-leaving, refusing-to-give-up, to-the-death protector of their spouse.

The bible tells us that a "husband must love his wife as Christ loved the Church." (Ephesians 5:25) Does this mean that a wife is less expected to love her husband sacrificially? I don't think so. Paul was writing to a totally male-directed culture, so he emphasized the then-leader of the household should change his current attitude of ownership to that of sacrificial love. 

Both partners must be willing to lay down their lives for the other in a conventional Christian marriage. We should be willing to love each other "as" Christ loved His Bride. "As" here has multiple meanings. I means "in the same way as," "to the same degree that," "as far as," and "to the death like." 

And, while I see a few marriage relationships that go that far, I see way too many that wouldn't even consider laying down their "life" for their mate. Their "life" here meaning their own selfish demands, their own interests, their own desires, their own comfort, or even their own opinions! If a husband or wife can't gracefully say to their partner, "OK, Honey, whatever you want, I'll go happily along with," how can they expect to stand strong together through all the bitter attacks marriages face these days? And, if each is respecting the other, discussions will settle honest differences of opinion about issues that matter. (Or mediation will, as a last resort to peace.)

You and I, as spouses, must be willing to "take up our cross" for our spouses, putting their needs above our own comfort or even survival. We must be willing to die - literally and figuratively - for our sworn partner-for-life. If my wife cannot trust me in the little things, how can she trust me in the big things like fidelity?

Another thing Jesus said applies to us spouses, too. "You should be Perfect, just like your Father in Heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48). "B-b-but that's impossible! No one is perfect!" you cry. Jesus knew that better than you or I do! But He was giving us a goal to aim for when He said to be perfect. Just as a good coach will say, "Go out there and win this game," knowing that his underdog team has little hope of  winning, so Jesus was telling us husbands, wives, and parents, "Go out there and give it your 100% best try. If you don't beat them, at least let them know they met a team who was giving it their best."

Whether you are a Christian or not, you owe it to your spouse to give your all; to never just half-way love them; to pour yourself out for them. You promised. You swore before God, your family, and your friends that you would do your best to be Perfect, that you would love your spouse, "as Christ loved the Church."

You have it in you to be a "perfect spouse." You have it in you to amaze your friends and family with how strong and true you are. You have it in you to teach your children, through your example, how they should live their own marriages and how they should parent their own children. Dig down and pull that determination up. If you need help, I'm here. But I know you can do it!

God bless your whole family!

STEPcoach Bob Collins
If you have questions about any of the Christian concepts or "code words" in this post, I'll be happy to discuss them, or explain them to you.
[the original article by Russell D. Moore is at]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Do You Punish Your Kids For Being Good?

(This is a guest post from Zen Family Habits [ I really like their stuff!)

It seems a bit counter-intuitive punishing your kids for being good but I suspect we all do it more than we realize. Punishment is easy to see when you’re putting your kids in time out, raising your voice to them or using some other form of discipline. It’s a lot more challenging to see when you’re punishing your kids for being good.

When you have more than one child this is a particularly easy trap to fall into but it’s not so easy to see how it happens. Take a minute and see if you’re punishing your kids for being good, smart, successful etc.

Now, let’s look at a simple example:

Child A can:
  • get dressed
  • help himself to cereal and
  • pack his bag for school
Child B can’t do these things.
As a result more of your time is spent on Child B, and rightfully so as he/she needs more attention to do some of the most basic activities. However, all of this attention spent on their sibling may leave Child A feeling a bit left out.
While this isn’t punishment in the way most of us would describe punishment, it does leave Child A feeling left out, not as important and less worthy (of your time and  attention). Feelings I can say with near certainty that no parent wants to instill in their child.

How to change this

1. Make a conscious effort to devote more time to your other children. If one or two of your kids are more demanding than the others set aside some time to touch base and reconnect with your other children. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount of time but enough to mend some of their insecurities and reassure them that they matter. A walk to a park, shooting some hoops in the driveway or at the school, whatever your child is into take an interest and initiate some together time.
2.  Be aware of how the “neglected” child might be feeling. Sad, lonely, forgotten etc. All kids are different and so will react very differently from each other. While one may feel sad, another may be angry, hurt or feeling as if you like their brother or sister “better”. We know this isn’t true but to our kids it’s very real.
While life isn’t fair and you certainly won’t be able to please everyone ALL the time you can, with a bit of effort, make everyone know they matter.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Short-Shorts

Saw much more than I wanted to again this morning of a young lady as I was heading into my favorite family restaurant. I wondered if they were switching to Hooters or the Playboy club, but no, it was just a girl going out for breakfast during the Summer. Her tiny shorts were more like a bathing suit bottom than short pants!

And I thought again, "Does her dad have any idea she's flashing his daughter around like that?" He may, or he may not care. The "standards" today are almost non-existent.

And before you start calling me a prude, think how our new standards are affecting life in the US. Rape, physical assault, and attitudes about what's normal have been changed immensely in just the last 20 years. Just one generation ago, prostitutes weren't allowed to wear in public what our precious children now wear to the mall, restaurants, or even church!

When parents stop caring how provocatively their children dress or what their children consider "decent," their children will go as far as they can ... then allow their children to go even further. That's your grandkids I'm talking about now!

"B-b-but," you stammer, "what can I do about it? She's practically a grown woman! I don't have any right to criticize her, do I?"
In Deuteronomy 4:9, we're instructed, "Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren."
In other words, you are to tell your kids what you've learned about the results of being too loose and unconcerned about your body, morals, or reputation. You, yourself will suffer from how your children display themselves in public, because anyone who sees your daughter running around nearly naked is going to place most of the blame on you for the way you brought her up and what you didn't teach her. You will be judged by how you have raised your kids ... you know that. You feel it every time your kids throw a fit in public and everyone's eyes swing from the kids to you.

Then, there's the repercussions on the kids, themselves (and your grandchildren, too). Jeremiah 5:7-10 says: 
"How can I pardon you? For even your children have turned from me. They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all! I fed my people until they were full. But they thanked me by committing adultery and lining up at the brothels.  
8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?
10 “Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy the grapevines, leaving a scattered few alive. Strip the branches from the vines, for these people do not belong to the LORD"
Wow! What a clear picture of our kids today! They've been given everything, but they've turned their backs on everything we know and should have taught them to respect! "Well-fed, lusty stallions" indeed! Doesn't that sound like the boys strutting around demanding respect they've not earned?

And then God almost cries out His frustration over how our kids act (and don't you feel it, too?) "Shouldn't I punish them for acting out so badly?"

Don't you owe it to your kids to warn them what they're doing to you and themselves and to their children? Whose responsibility is it to teach them right from wrong, if not yours? And who will have to deal with the results of their falling away from the standards that helped raise them? 

One last point: The time to teach your adult children right from wrong is Now. Proverbs 22:6 says
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Start with your preschool kids, teaching them modesty. Continue into elementary and middle school, guiding them to wear decent clothes, not the latest fads that try to turn little girls into adults too soon. And keep after them as teens to act in a way they will be proud to look back on as they grow up. 

Whether they're your biological or your stepkids, you are the ones responsible to demonstrate a good example. As a stepdad, I wasn't directly held responsible for how my stepdaughter looked and acted, but I had the opportunity to guide her toward how she should act and what she should expect from boys she dated.

If it's tough - it's just part of parenting and stepparenting. But you'll be proud of them later on when they continue to live the way you've taught them.

God bless y'all!

STEPcoach, Bob Collins

Show your STEPfamily Pride!