Please contact Evil Stepmom at with your questions or ideas about stepfamily living with 17-30 year olds.


Links & Resources
Young Adult Psychology
This is a good summary of some of the big issues young adults struggle with, and how they might work with a therapist to get, and keep, a healthy perspective during their march toward independence.

The Way They Were: Dealing With Your Parents Divorce After A Lifetime of Marriage
By Brooke Lea Foster

This book is promoted as "the only guide for adult children," and indeed, it is one of the two or three books that speak to the experience of young adults whose parents divorce after the kids are 18. As someone whose parents divorced at the tail end of my teens then both remarried in my early twenties, I was eager to read a book about my experience. Though I wanted to love it, I thought the book was light on insight into the impact of parental divorce, and heavy on blame and whining.

I also disagree with a good bit of her advice, which is primarily other-focussed. My bias is always to ask people to work on themselves and their role in their important relationships. While a young person certainly has a right to talk with her parents about her anger and/or fears, emotional hostage-taking is never a good thing for a family.

That said, I would still recommend the book to stepparents of young adults because she nails the feelings of fear, anger, and sadness that young adults experience when their parents divorce or when a parent dies. It's a must-read for stepparents who want a window into their young adult stepchildren's heads and hearts.

Go: Buy From Amazon
Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking About Human Interactions
By Roberta Gilbert, MD

I've used this book in business, family and college courses for years. Dr. Gilbert explains the basic principles of Family Systems Theory, and shows how working on our selves will begin to change our relationships with others. I revisit Extraordinary Relationships regularly for a quick refresher.

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Beyond Reason: Using Your Emotions as You Negotiate
Roger Fisher (of Getting to Yes fame) and Daniel Shapiro have put together a terrific resource for people who have to negotiate under emotional pressure--sound familiar, stepparents? They don't make you feel bad for having feelings, and they help you figure out how to put them to good use. I particularly like their discussion of roles: the fact that we have the flexibility to choose our roles, and the power to shape them in our new families.

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Research Update: Young Adults of Divorce
An Examination of Young Adult College Students in Intact Families and Stepfamilies 

Research by K.M. Love and T.B. Murdock University of Missouri - Kansas City

From the Journal of Family Psychology 2004, Vol. 18, No.4, pp. 600-608

Additional References and Links

De Waal, F. (2005). Our Inner Ape. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.

Ekman, P. (2003). Emotions Revealed. New York, NY: Owl Books.

Goleman, D. (2006). Social Intelligence. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

McEwen, B. (2002). The End of Stress as We Know It. Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press.

Palmer, P. (2000). Let Your Life Speak. San Francisco, CA.: Jossey-Bass.

Papero, D. (1990). Bowen Family Systems Theory. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.