reader questions - how do i discipline my fiance's child

Katie G. from Chicago, IL writes: 

Dear Wedding Therapist,
My fiance's son is driving me insane! He doesn't listen to anything I tell him to do and his father doesn't make him behave.  He feels bad disciplining him since we only have his son every other weekend.  I believe in spanking, my fiance doesn't.  I really think the ONLY thing that can help is a swift swat on his behind.  It is starting to get in the middle of my relationship with my fiance. Please help!


First, this is a very common issue amongst engaged couples so you aren't alone.  This is one of those things that you two have to agree upon.  If you believe in spanking and your fiance doesn't, then you can't spank your soon-to-be stepson.  Bottom line.  Clearly, you need to have a conversation with your fiance because this is going to be a point of contention when you decide to have children together. 

I suggest that you come up with a timeout  area.  Kind of like a "naughty corner" that he has to sit in.   Whenever he isn't listening to you, you send him to timeout. Every.Single.Time.  Then you two have to get on the same page about what is a comfortable amount of discipline for both of you.  Bad, undisciplined children are never fun to be around...for ANYONE!  If spanking isn't an option and the naughty corner is too much for your fiance to handle, you might have a bigger issue on your hands than his unruly son. 

how to deal with jealousy during the wedding

I previously wrote a post about "How to Deal With a Jealous Sister During the Planning Process" but there is so much jealousy from all sorts of people in your life during the planning process, I decided to give a bit more advice!  Enjoy!

how to make two homes one

Alright, you've got the wedding planning in full swing:  venue picked out with the deposit put down; caterer chosen and the tastings are out of the way; final dress fitting, done!  It seems like things are going just as planned until you remember that you now have to figure out how to combine your two houses into one.  

As women, most of us like our space to be organized and neat.   It kind of seems like most men are still living with the college dorm mentality.  Shot glasses from his roadtrips with the boys.  Baseball cards that he's been collecting since he was 15 but hasn't looked at since he was...well, 15.  These things seem so meaningless. You begin counting down the days until you can start throwing them away.  You're thinking, "I mean, who really needs 23 shot glasses?!   Our house will look so much better without all of those stupid tchotchkes!"  Right? Well, not really.

Let's look at this a different way.  If someone walked into our house and started throwing our things away, we'd be ready to kill!  Now, I'm not saying keep all of his knickknacks.  I think it is important to first have a talk with him about throwing his stuff out.  Then I'd have him pick out maybe 5 of his favorites.  He'll probably be more flexible with letting go of some of his things because he's a guy and probably just doesn't care as much as we do.   

When you get engaged, you have to remember that you're combining your lives together.  That means bank accounts (if you decide to go that route), debt (we'll talk about that later) and your houses.  He'll appreciate that you consulted with him rather than just tossing his things in the garbage when he isn't looking. 


how to deal with divorced parents at the wedding

I received numerous emails from brides who needed a little bit of advice on how to deal with their divorced parents at the wedding.  This is such a common issue with many couples who are getting married.  Some divorced parents hate each other and some are civil.  Today we're talking about the not-so-civil divorced parents.