Parenting Stepchildren/Advice?


First, thanks for your time.  I'm an expert on this website for occupational therapy/hand rehabilitation and I realize this takes time.  So thank you.

The background:  I have a 23 y/o step-son, my wife and I married 3 years ago.  She had him when she was 18.  He isn't the sharpest pencil in the box.  His Dad was minimally involved and a disappointment to say the least.  His Mom remarried another man (for 11 years) who gave him little attention as well.  He began smoking pot in high school and continued throughout his early 20's.  His father died when he was 19.  He has come a long way but remains challenged.

His current status is this:  Attends AA meetings 2-3 times per week.  Lives with us and works part-time.  Although he completed a few college courses his lack of motivation and overall low IQ (he tested in the low average range using a number of batteries that a psychologist administered) don't jive well with college.  He has been in and out of counseling for a number of years with a dx of depression and possible bipolar disorder however he is non-compliant with his medication regimen.  We are beyond frustrated but he shows glimpses of hope.  He has a low threshold for stress and chooses to work part-time rather than full-time.

At this point our options are this:  1.  Have him join the military.  It's the only thing that will teach him discipline and a trade.  Questionable whether this is the right answer psychologically and he will have a hard time getting in anyway due to his medical hx.  But he is willing.  We also question whether psychologically it is the right thing but he is non-compliant with his medications anyway and inconsistent med use may be worse than none at all.  2.  Send him to a program called JobCorp.  It's federally-funded and teaches trade skills.  He is also willing although we have reservations as to its effectiveness.

SO...he knows he needs to leave the home at this point because he is not willing to work full-time and our marriage can't take much more of this.  Any advice would be sincerely appreciated as we are not equipped with the skills to make ideal decisions with this kid.  Thanks for your time!!!


I can understand some of what you are going through.  Our oldest daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  We went through some very difficult times as as a family in trying to deal with it.  She also did not want to use the meds she was given.

Look at the positive side...He is going to AA, he is working part time, he recognizes that he must change but from what you have said does not know what to do.  

Now what CAN  you do?

Many illness like bipolar disorder are the result of poor nutrition, or the brain not being able to absorb nutrients easily.  People like your step son are severely affected by poor nutrition.  Sugar and most flours create many of the symptoms you describe.  My guess is that he does not eat well, prefers junk food to regular meals and drinks sugary drinks.  This may not be easy for him, because someone with an addictive orientation will find it hard to kick that sugar habit...and sugar is very addictive.  Encourage him to eat healthier meals.

I want to apologize to you if the following sound like a commercial for micro-nutrients. From what you told me, the two options you suggested are likely to fail, he has gone to counselling with little success and he does not like the medications he has been prescribed. This is the only other option that I can recommend.

Medications only treat the symptoms they do not work on the cause.  Our daughter is now functioning extremely well without any medications.  Even her husband of 10 years, shows no signs... he was extremely violent and aggressive as a young teen and was heading towards being institutionalized.  They take micro-nutrients.  The micro-nutrients have given us our daughter back, and our son-in-law's father says the same thing.  There are a number of companies that provide micro-nutrients but the one they use is from Q-sciences.  If you are willing to give this a try, something that is completely natural, then go to this site online, and order a couple of bottles.  Each bottle last a month and two months gives a chance for the nutrients to be absorbed properly.  When there please go to the videos and listen to the Tony Stephan interview. It will explain a lot. We know the Stephan family and the struggle they have had with bipolar. You do not need to join... you can just purchase what you need. For approximately $100 what can you lose?

As I said it has given us our daughter back.  And it just may make the difference your step son needs to be able to fully function again.

I want to be fully transparent... my wife may make a small commission if you order from the site above.

As a coach I do not promote products, but I have made an exception here, because I truly believe that this may help your step son and may save your marriage.


Parenting Stepchildren

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Rick Olson


As a stepparent of 4 children and a family coach, I can answer questions about the issues that arise in step-parenting including discipline,blended families, boundaries and guidelines.


I have 18 years as a stepfather, and over three years as a family coach focusing on unifying, strengthening and empowering families.

My wife and I have written 2 books on Family FUSE Your Family - Family: Unify Strengthen Empower! and Raising Families

BA(Recreation Administration) Grad Studies in Urban and Regional Planning and Design Certified as a LifeSuccess Consultant/Coach

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