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Joe, age 22, and Mary, age 38, are a newly married couple in conflict around Mary's two children, ages 7 and 15, from a previous marriage. Mary says Joe doesn't understand children and is "too rough with them." Joe says Mary is overly lenient and indulgent, spending their overextended funds on the children unnecessarily. They agree that they should each have a role in parenting the children. What should you recommend to the couple?
a. Joe and Mary should both determine home rules but Mary should determine rules for the children's behavior in the community and they should both announce and enforce the rules
b. Mary should both determine home rules and behavior rules, but both should announce the rules together and both should take an equally active role in enforcing the consequences
c. the two of them should agree on home rules and behavioral rules together, but, initially, Mary should announce the rules and should usually enforce the consequences
d. two of them should agree on home rules and behavioral rules together but, initially, Joe should announce the rules and enforce them to demonstrate his new role in the family


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Treatment
Show correct answer:
c
Show explanation:
The correct answer is C. The fact that this is a new marriage and the proximity in age between Joe and Mary's eldest child should be taken into consideration when answering this question. Experts on step families recommend that both the biological and stepparent should agree on home rules and behavior rules together, but that the biological parent should announce the rules and enforce consequences initially, because the biological parent has established a relationship and authority with the children. This should be done until new roles and relationships have been clarified and developed.