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Step by step: how to become a good parent – to someone else’s child

Life and style | The Guardian

Dakota Johnson is reportedly taking $400 lessons on how to be stepmother to Chris Martin’s daughter. Here’s some cheaper, but no less effective, advice

It was news to me that the actor Dakota Johnson was even going out with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, but it’s already at the nth degree: Johnson was spotted on a coffee run with Apple Martin (his daughter with Gwyneth Paltrow, for the uninitiated). To cope with these new developments, Johnson has apparently enlisted the $400-an-hour help of Alison Task, a “stepmom coach”. Fine, fine, in the Keynesian sense. If one person has a lot of money and another person is willing to charge them a fortune for something, at least it keeps cash circulating. But there are ways to learn this without paying $400 an hour, so long as you accept that the learning is lifelong.

My stepdaughter is 11. I’ve known her since she was eight. Shortly before we all moved in together, I read a brilliant book, Helping Children Cope With Divorce by Edward Teyber, that said it is two years before a child will accept a step-parent’s authority. So I very rigorously didn’t assert any authority for two years, by which time everyone was old enough (my son is the same age, my daughter two years younger) to point out that my authority was like a vuvuzela at a football match, ambiently loud and incredibly inconsequential.

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May 14th 2019, 12:49 pm
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