A step-parent refers to someone who has married someone’s parent after any type of circumstances that have made them separate. The spouse of that parent then becomes the step-parent to their partners child. The child is biologically not theirs. In some situations, with “dead beats” the step-parent actually steps up and really claims the child as theirs. In some cases, I have seen a child change their last name to their step-parents name because their biological parent has done nothing for them. Co-parenting is when two parents work together to raise a child. Regardless of the circumstances the divorce or separated couple still shares a child. An example of co-parenting is when a divorced mother and father share legal and physical custody of their child.

The most disadvantaged type of biological parent is still more advantaged than the step-parent. Dave does not like the idea of his wife and her ex-husband Clayton escorting their child to her first day of kindergarten, but it’s not his concern. It more than the ex-husband and wife being together for the moment.

They are coming together for their child. It has absolutely nothing to do with their relationship. To me it looks like they co-parent well and although they are not together, they can still come together to support their child. The only advice that I would give to Dave is to think about if he was in Claytons shoes. You cannot take the title of being Mya’s father away from him. For as long as he is with Denise, he will in some way shape or form have to deal with Clayton. He needs to respect the boundaries he may have when it comes to his step-child. Maybe they could speak with Mya and ask if she would be okay with her step-dad coming to escort her as well. But that may be a little confusing to Mya if she already does not understand the relationship her parents have. Dave should be concerned about his step-child’s happiness and how her first day of school should be. He should not be concerned about how she’s being escorted to school.



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Houdt, K. V., Kalmijn, M., & Ivanova, K. (2018). Family Complexity and Adult

Children’s Obligations: The Role of Divorce and Co-Residential History in Norms to Support Parents and Step-Parents. European Sociological Review34(2), 169–183. doi: 10.1093/esr/jcy007

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