Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


My partner and I have been together for four years. Our relationship is great, except when it comes to how she gets along with my 12 year old son -- they've never liked each other, and lately it seems to be getting worse. Help!


Step-parenting problems are extremely common in all sorts of relationships: lesbian, gay and heterosexual. Disagreements about how to parent, resentment about having to share the original parent, and negative feelings about having a parent in a same sex relationship are some of the reasons for these problems. Also, these problems may become worse when a child enters puberty and becomes more concerned about his or her own sexuality and about what peers will say.

I suggest you and your partner look for helpful resources. These might include books about stepparenting (check out the Parenting Department), support groups for same sex couples with children, and groups for children of lesbian, gay and bisexual parents. If more help is needed, then look for a family therapist who has skills in working with blended families, ideally one who also has expertise with same sex couples. Facing difficult parenting issues is never easy, but it's usually helpful to acknowledge the problems and work on improving the situation.


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.


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