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Parenting Stepchildren/Step Daughter Seeking Advice from Step Mom


I have a step daughter who is 20 years old.  She and I have a pretty close relationship even though her Mom is a very active part of her life.   I have been married to my husband for almost 9 years now.   My step daughter has come to me recently asking for relationship advice.  She has had a boyfriend for 3 years now.  He is two years younger than her.   They have made it through her starting college and him still being in high school and several challenges like that.  However, recently, she met a boy who is the nephew of one of my husbands co-workers.  They met while we were on a family vacation.   After meeting, they began communicating via text and have developed the beginning of a relationship.  Just a few days ago, my step daughter asked my advice on how she need to handle things.  She has recently met the new guy and they talked face to face and it resulted in a kiss.  Now she is questioning her currently relationship.  She told me that she has been having some doubts in her current relationship prior to meeting the new guy but now she is very confused.  She states she feels everyone has her life and future planned with the current boyfriend but she is not so sure that is what she wants.   We are a Christian family and I want to help her do the "right thing" but I ultimately want her to make herself happy in the process.  My only fear is giving the wrong advice to her and resulting in hindering our relationship.  Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Hi Anita - I propose that you, her father, and her birth mother all advise this young woman to make no romantic commitment for another 5 to 8 years, while she learns who she is. I suggest you also evaluate whether her birth parents inherited psychological wounds and passed them on to their daughter, See and I respectfully wonder why you don't trust your judgment in this matter, as a mature woman - ?

- Pete

Parenting Stepchildren

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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about remarriage preparation, stepparenting, stepchild discipline, child visitation, grieving, stepfamily norms and myths, mission statements, stepparent job (role)descriptions, communication skills, loyalty and values conflicts, stepfamily identity problems, common pitfalls, ex mate and relative problems, stepfamily merger and adjustment tasks, name confusions, choosing an effective counselor, resolving money disputes, co-parenting support groups, and the family effects of court (legal) battles. I can`t answer questions about medicine, family law, legal stepchild adoption, or financial planning.


I have studied and worked with stepfamilies clinically since 1979, and I have been a "step everything" personally. I was invited to be on the board of the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA) by it's founders, Drs. John and Emily Visher; and later was re-invited by president Margory Engle, PhD. For more detail, see this.

Former Board member, Stepfamily Association of America (SAA)
National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC)Experts Council

Hundreds of Web articles on ; I've uploaded over 150 self-improvement videos on YouTube; and have self-published 6 books. My ad-free Web site offers a unique, practical 7-lesson self-improvement course.

Stanford University BSME (1958) George Williams College MSW (1981) Hundreds of post-graduate seminars on a wide variety of "mental health" subjects

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of appreciative emails and comments on my Web site and videos from people all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked clinically with over 1,000 midwestern divorced and remarried family members, and have had over 800 stepfamily students in various seminars and courses since 1981

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