Q. My father has married again. His new wife is not the wicked stepmother we read about in works of fiction. But does the Fifth Commandment (“Honour your father and mother”) apply to her?
A. It is often hard for everyone to fit into the new situation, but both adults and children have to try to make it work. The children – of all ages – are religiously and morally obligated to give the step-parent the respect required by the Ten Commandments: the Shulchan Aruch makes this clear (Yoreh De’ah 240:21). All that one does for a biological parent is required towards a step-parent; indeed honouring a stepmother is part of honouring her husband, your father.