Being a step parent
can't be easy so they deserve our respect
The advantage of this order is that the step parent
will share all those rights, duties and obligations that the biological parent had in the first place.
A formal agreement between natural parent and step parent could also be useful in making the child feel more secure, especially in the case of rebellious teenagers who may try to play each of the adults off against each other, claims Aileen.
And in the eyes of school, doctors and other people in authority, the step parent is not a second-class parent.
She said: "Step parents are the one who has to supervise the homework, decide whether or not to push or let the child plod along at their own pace.
They decide to form a club to understand and share their experiences, from custody battles to step parents
and half siblings, and discover shared strengths in the process in this fine young adult story.
You have got to think about what you want to do with the rest of your life and forget about keeping your parents and step parents
Gemma committed suicide when she was just 15 and left a note which explained to her distraught parents and step parents
exactly what had happened.
My advice is step parents
must never forget their partner's children were there first.
Almost half - 48 per cent - of 16 to 24-year-olds with children are single parents or step parents.
Twenty three per cent of single parents or step parents say the children cause frequent arguments at home, compared to 17 per cent in other families.
The paper also proposes measures to give new rights to unmarried fathers and step parents.
Step parents would be given new powers of parental responsibility, where they can come to an agreement with natural parents.
McLeish said: "Step parents do not automatically have any parental responsibilities or rights in law for the children.