Ask Emma: My step kids are a nightmare. Help!

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A stressed mum struggling to cope with her kids
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WomanWe've teamed up with our sister magazine Woman's Own and their counselor Emma Marlin to solve your relationship problems. This week she helps a woman who struggles to discipline her step kids.

Q I'm 41 and step mum to 10 and 12 year old girls. I do my best to be a good 'parent' but my partner never backs me up. He always gives into them and overrules me. Last week, I tried to stop them hitting each other and all I got was a 'you're not my Mum' rant.

Tina, Surrey

Emma MarlinEmma's advice

Please get yourself a copy of Successful Step-parenting written by fellow agony aunt Suzie Hayman, (£9.99 amazon Read it and encourage your partner to do so too. It goes into huge detail about how to cope with the thankless job of step parenting - from managing differences in discipline to dealing with your stepchildren's other family. It will also help you understand why these girls may be acting up around you. For instance, Suzie says that when a stepchild says, ‘You're not my Mum' try to remember it's usually a cry of pain rather than a verbal attack. As such your best bet is to say something like, ‘You're right. I'm not. It must be sad seeing your family break up.' There's even more practical advice on what to say and do in the book. Trust me, being a step parent can be incredibly rewarding. Suzie's book will show you how.


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