Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What Makes your Stepchild Tick?

A. Want to get your stepchildren to like you today? Well the first step is to find out what makes your stepchild tick. You can easily adapt your approach once you understand where your stepchild is coming from. Children’s incredible spirit much like yours and mine, is much more than what meets the naked eye. A slue of components go into forming every person’s character. Parents, teachers, coaches, past experiences, television, customs, interests, and friends, just to mention a few, all help to form a complicated pattern that makes every person a unique individual. This unique set of circumstances along with lifestyle interpretations, molds a person’s personality and forms his character. People act, are motivated, and behave based upon these components that make up their inner core known as their belief system and values. In order to outwit, outsmart, and outmaneuver the most finicky stepchild you need to understand him. You need to know what makes your stepchild tick.

Effective merchants study their customers. They know their customers’ likes and dislikes, which give them the insight and added edge they need to clinch a sale. Stepparents need to do the same thing. They need to know what makes their stepchild tick in order to get the upper hand. Luckily, for stepparents, the information they need is all around.

Good thing! Can you imagine the response you would get if you dared to ask your stepchild what makes him happy? (It is probably best not to go there. Who needs to know their deep, dark, desires anyway)? But if we dared to ask, I am sure that any child (step or not) would rattle off a list of all sorts of expensive gadgets that’s sure to bring him instant gratification.

Granted kids do have interests in all sorts of gadgets. And the inexperienced might think that these gadgets that produce instant gratification, are the keys to what makes their stepchild tick. Your kids may have an interest in expensive gadgets but that is not what really makes them tick. Heck, before you know it, zap. They lose interest in the gadget of the day, and want a bigger and better one. (You know, one that costs more).

Do you really think that you could buy enough stuff to keep the little rascals of yours happy? Don’t waste time thinking you are doing right thing by buying stuff. We have enough “sugar daddies” running around in this world who are trying to buy their kids’ love with toys instead of spending time with them. Forget about the stuff and the fluff and find out what would really satisfy your stepchild and have a lasting effect. Need a helping hand to figure it out?

Young children have their wants and needs written all over their cute little faces. Attention is what makes these rascals tick and they know just how to get it in all sorts of unusual (and sometimes annoying) ways. Clever adults can easily outwit finicky children by continually praising their positive behavior. Catch them doing something right and then lavish them with compliments and praise. Heck, all these kids want is attention. Why not give it to them when they do things right?

Finding out what makes older children tick takes a little more finesse.

Teenagers, best known for their notorious mood swings, can sure test the skills of any parent, step or not. Finding out what makes teenagers tick isn’t that difficult according to Dr. Ron Taffel, author of The Second Family . Taffel writes that the best way to get information from teenagers is from their friends. Taffel calls teenagers’ friends, the second family of today’s teenagers. Friends have a huge influence on today’s youth, more so, than we would like to admit, says Taffel. And friends share lot of information when they are in a group Taffel notes.

Planet Seventeen
Tell me who your friends are
and I’ll tell you what you are .
-Ellen O’Neill

I picked up on this same phenomenon quite by accident when driving a bunch of my daughter’s soccer buddies to the regional finals in Buffalo , NY . This tournament was another six-hour drive, something I was getting quite accustomed to, having made similar trips over the past six or so years. And this trip, just like the one the week before, was a bit longer since someone was caught speeding (we won’t mention any names). The cop stop certainly brought out the girls’ personalities. It amazed me how knowledgeable these girls were from planet seventeen.

You could say that I was enlightened that day. This planet has a language all its own, (but we all knew that). But what I didn’t know and what really amazed me, was their frank open discussions about sex, drugs, and alcohol. By the way that these kids carried on, I really thought that they were oblivious to my presence (or that I even existed). However, when I asked them pointed questions they answered me just as if they were talking to their friends, frank and open.

I gained a wealth of information that day. (Besides learning the correct way to avoid a ticket), I picked up on information that helped me to see into my kid’s world. And that is what you need to do. You need to see into your stepchild’s world to find out what makes your stepchild really tick.

If you aren’t a soccer mom or queen bee (or king) of the neighborhood carpool then arrange for your stepchild’s friends come to your house. Get involved in your stepchild’s life so you can understand what is meaningful to him. And always be prepared to listen. Clever stepparents also watch while they listen. Body language, actions, and movements give clues. Listening attentively and watching actively are the key elements to finding out what makes your stepchild tick.

• Character, personality and belief systems are formed by the people’s interpretation of their life experiences.

• Every person has a unique set of circumstances that makes him a unique individual.

• People act, are motivated, and behave based upon their belief system and values.

• Attention is what makes young children tick.

• Praise positive behavior whenever possible.

• Try catching your stepchildren doing something right and then compliment and praise them.

• Friends have an enormous influence on teenagers.

• A wealth of information can be gained by listening, watching, and talking to your stepchildren’s friends.

• Friends are more apt to share information when they are in groups.

• Listening and watching are the key elements to finding out what makes your stepchild tick.

Q. How to Pacify your Lover & Your Stepchild Without Losing Your Sanity?

A. Here’s an old cliché which works great in step-relationships. Figure out “What’s in it for you” Like any other challenge step-parenting can be broken down into steps. “W*A*R*M*-U*P*S” is an acronym for how stepfamilies should ease into their situation.

Step One:
What do you want in a relationship? Relationship goals are the dreams your heart makes. Life is what you make it, and the goals you choose make your dreams come true. Know your outcome. Figure out exactly what you want out of this relationship. Find out if this relationship is right for you.

Step Two:
Ask your partner questions that reveal his/her values, beliefs, and morals. Know what you have to work with; figure out if your partner is compatible with you, and if you and your spouse have what it takes to make a step-relationship work.

Step Three:
Research your facts; understand the many common challenges that stepfamilies face everyday that cause chaos and crisis.

Step Four:
Make your choice: Decide, weigh the pros and cons. Decisions happen in a split second and can drastically change your life. Find out how to make a definite decision that is right for you.

Step Five:
Understand how to be an effective stepparent. Learn the Ten Secrets of Successful Step-parenting.

Step Six:
Practice makes perfect. Practice the Ten Secrets of Successful Step-parenting. Put into practice what you have learned.

Step Seven-Ten:
Survival tactics and suggestions: This is how and where to begin and other helpful hints to make your step-life a success. Put these steps into practice and you will happily survive step-parenting, guaranteed.

“W*A*R*M*-U*P*S” is meant to help you not only to survive step-parenting but also to learn to enjoy it. Order Step-Parenting 101: The Crash Course for Stepparents. There are exercises to help you understand, plan, and prepare for your step-relationship. It does require you, not your spouse, or your mother, or your stepchild, to act. This book is meant to make you think, decide, and take action. It’s time to take control of your life rather than complaining about your situation controlling you. If you are serious about surviving and enjoying your life, order the survival manual and do the exercises. It is your life. It is your choice. 

Q. How do you survive the teenage years?

A. Don’t let the guilt of divorce prevent you from making the rules and sticking to them. Don’t let the step-relationship be the cop-out for the kids and a crutch for the parents. Every age has its sticky situations. The teenage years are notorious for being the most difficult stage. It is compounded in stepfamilies because of the other dynamics involved. Adolescents that don’t learn the rules at home will learn the hard way hopefully, not behind bars. When disciplining your children: Make your rules understood.

  • Make the consequences understood.
  • Don’t be afraid to set limits.
  • Let the biological parent discipline.
  • Address problems right away.
  • Don’t feel guilty about disciplining.
  • Be fair.
  • Be understanding.
  • Be patient.
  • Be firm.
  • Enforce the consequences.

By feeling guilty you automatically give kids the upper hand. It isn’t necessary to even say anything. Kids can read your body language loud and clear. It is difficult to say “no” when you feel guilty about your divorce, not having enough money, watching the kids pack up their belongings and go back and forth between mom’s house and dad’s house. Lose the guilt and be in control of your kids.

Kids need discipline and rules to be successful in life. You are doing them a favor to set rules. All too often consequences are not enforced at home. People are too busy blaming others. The result is the found in our jails when it is too late. Take time with your kids. Make the rules. Back up each other and form a united front.

Q. How can I Get my Ex to take my Advise?

A. Take charge with a little finesse and the exes will never know that they have been outmaneuvered. You can actually change people’s way of thinking and get them to take your advice without them knowing that you are infringing on their turf. And who else’s turf would you like to tweak, than that of your devious ex.

“No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying of our own accord or acting on our own ideas. We like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, our thoughts.” And the ex you are dealing with is no different.

With a little finesse it is possible for the ex to take your advice. Of course, she doesn’t necessarily have to know it is your advice that she is taking. Who cares if you don’t get bragging rights, as long the solution that is found is yours.

Here’s the secret. Don’t tell or even suggest anything to your ex. Don’t give your rendition or solution to any problems that may arise. Instead “bait” your ex. Give the problem, and lead your ex to the solutions. Exes have a tendency to be dense. So, you may have to hint around at a solution. Just make sure that your ex thinks that she thought of the solution herself.

Here’s how to make this technique work for you.

Start with your outcome in mind. Your outcome is the solution that you want or a wish or desire. Then work backwards. Figure out all the reasons that your ex wouldn’t want to do this.

And when your target (the ex) finally gets it (duh) praise, thank and deliberate how smart he is to have thought of that. Remember, your ex doesn’t need to know he has been outfoxed, outsmarted, and outmaneuvered again! It is only important that you know it! And don’t go spreading it around (especially in front of the children). With a little finesse it is possible to get your ex to take your advise.

She doesn’t necessarily have to know it is your advice that she is taking.

Who cares if you don’t get bragging rights, as long the solution that is, found is yours.


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