Jo Donna & Bob Collins

About STEP-Carefully!

Bob and Jo Donna Collins formed a stepfamily when they married in 1994 – his second and her third marriage. The couple needed but could not find counseling for their then-peculiar situation, so after encouragement from a local minister, they began a self-exploration / teaching program which they named STEP-Carefully! For Stepparents.

In the ensuing 20+ years, the couple has taught and counseled with over 1,500 couples locally, nationally, and internationally. Bob Collins is a Certified Family Mediator and a licensed Minister who meets privately with couples in person and long-distance across the US and throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. He also speaks to groups on various related topics to divorce and re-marriage.

2 thoughts on “About STEP-Carefully!”

  1. I have been with my now wife for three years at first she showered my children now 14, 16 both boys with love and gifts. Slowly she started to feel disrespected and now wants nothing to do with them . I try to play referee but it’s not working . She blocked him from her phone and social media and states he is not welcome in this house . Yes his actions were wrong and yes I was wrong when I didn’t stand behind her instead took the action of defending him… at a loss


    1. Sounds pretty normal. Your wife came into a home with two pre-teens who were happy to have a generous, loving new adult in their lives. Then, just like many children, they unexpectedly turned into >gasp< teenagers!!

      My stepdaughter was 13 when I married her mom, so I got to experience the “joy” of teenagerhood from the first with her. It was pretty horrible. Mine (some would say because she was a girl) took the dramatics further – to the points of getting banned from school a few times, forbidden to ride the school bus, numerous visits with her principals, and even a bogus suicide attempt (she admitted later), threatening to kill her mom, and accusing us both of abuse. Just typical stepfamily adventures according to my experiences.

      The only things that kept us together – coming up on 27 years now – was desperately clinging to God, and my wife standing by me without waver.

      My dear wife, while being lied to and screamed at by her own daughter, told all who would hear that she had made a Vow to love me “til death do us part.” She stayed firm to that vow and eventually her daughter got the idea that Mom was not going to give in or give up on me.

      Teach your sons about marriage. SHOW them that “forever” means just that. Part of a parent’s job is to raise the next generation. And part of that job is teaching young men how to be strong husbands who don’t waver from their commitments.

      And don’t just show them (that’s the most important part), but explain what you are doing and why you are doing it – and that you expect them to do the same when they are husbands and fathers. Sit down with them over pizza or burgers and tell them that you have a responsibility to your wife. Tell them to watch you carefully (they will anyway) and see what you expect from them.

      Sorry, but most of the weight of responsibility falls on you, the biological parent. Your wife deserves the loyalty and devotion you promised her when you convinced her to marry you. Your sons deserve the implied promise of their father to teach them the tough truths about life before they have to deal with it themselves.

      But there is hope. Once these facts of life have been established (*and reinforced regularly), you get the joy of having a stable home with a wife and sons who respect and love you.

      It’s almost impossible to do this on your own. So, if you are already a Christian, get as close to God as you can and cling to Him. If you are not yet His child, run – don’t walk – to the nearest Christian and find out how to get in the family!

      *John, if you will send me your email address (to me at I will send you an electronic version of my stepfamily workbook, “The Rule Book.” This has helped thousands of stepfamilies establish their own household rules – which is a necessary beginning to building a strong family.

      Keep in touch and let me know how your family does.


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Help and Hope for Breaking and Broken and reBuilding Families

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