How to handle an intimidating spouse
Empower the kids to express themselves in appropriate ways. Children should be allowed the emotions that come naturally to them.
But, I know that when you're facing a bully, acting rationally isn't always what happens. Unfortunately, all both do is escalate or enable the situation.
While it is not expected that a child will fall immediately in love with their stepparent, they must know that they are not allowed to be disrespectful. It’s important to acknowledge the reason (or reasons) for the disrespectful behaviors.
You must not allow insulting or rude behaviors to become entrenched. Children may still be grieving the loss of the biological family.
When couples marry, there is an added permanence not implied in dating or living together.
Once the temporal nature of the relationship is left behind and the stepparent is a fixture in their lives, children are faced with the realization that they will continue to share their mom or dad.