Dear Dr. Jann: I can’t stand my wife’s fiancée. My children 8, 10, and 12 are not in danger when they spend time with him and their mother, but I worry about the values that they’re teaching my kids during the 50 percent of the time that my kids are there. Please help.

Dr. Jann says: I know this is a tough one, but if the other parent has 50 percent parenting time, the kids are probably safe in the other home, and not “having the same values” is not a reason to remove the children or decrease the other parent’s parenting time. You have to trust that their other parent loves them just as much as you do and will make decisions in their best interest. If you have proof that the kids are in danger, there are agencies to help. This would include, but not limited to physical discipline that leaves bruises, or no electricity or food in the home, a history of tardiest or excessive absences to school, but “values” are relative. The best thing you can do is compare notes, do your best to stay on the same page with your child’s other parent, and have a forum for conflict resolution in place so that you both have a way to solve problems should you be faced with a disagreement.

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Editor’s Note: For a more in-depth look into problem solving with your ex, click here one of Dr. Jann’s articles on the subject.


About Jann Blackstone

Dr. Jann Blackstone specializes in divorce, child custody, co-parenting, and stepfamily mediation and is often called the “Relationship Expert for Today’s Relationships” because of her “real life, down-to-earth” approach to relationship problem solving. She is the author of six books on divorce and parenting, the most popular, the Ex-etiquette series featuring Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation. She is also the author of the Ex-etiquette syndicated column and a frequent guest or consultant on television and radio talk shows, including Good Morning America (ABC), The Today Show (NBC), Keeping Kids Healthy (PBS), the Early Show (CBS), and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She has been the featured expert in many magazines, including, Child, Parents, Parenting, Newsweek, Family Circle, More, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, BRIDES, Woman’s Day, and Working Mother Magazine.

In 1999, Dr. Jann founded and became the first Director of Bonus Families®, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization working to change the way society views stepfamilies by supplying up-to-date co-parenting information via its Web site, counseling, mediation, and a worldwide support group network. They prefer to use the word “bonus” to the word step. Step implies negative things; however, a “bonus” is a reward for a job well done. “Bonus…a step in the right direction.”