So you have recently married a woman with kids, and now it is time to become a proper stepfather to the child or children. Becoming a stepfather to your new children can be one of the hardest things in a new marriage. Most men want nothing to do with the children and most children don’t want a stepfather either, especially if they still have their real father around. However, if you want to be in your new stepchild’s or step-children’s lives and have a loving relationship with them, make sure think about the following:
The first tip to dealing with a stepchild is to be realistic with both your expectations towards them, and their expectations towards you. As mentioned before, most children don’t want a stepfather, and may be angry that their mother did not keep their original father around. Do your best to not take this personally; this just comes with the territory and goes away with time. Give your stepchild or stepchildren time to get used to you and eventually start loving you. There is never a need to rush these types of things.
The second tip is to move slowly into a role of authority in your stepchild’s life. Too many stepfathers are too quick to start acting like the police to their new stepchild when the stepchild has not had the time to learn to trust and respect them. Generally, you want the mother to take the head of disciplinary action towards their child in the beginning. Also, it really helps to sit down with your stepchild and have chats with them every now and then. If you are having trouble understanding what your stepchild is feeling, just talk with them.
Focus on your Marriage
The third tip is to focus on your marriage. It may be tough with your new stepchildren, but what should be most important to you is caring and nurturing the woman you married. Seek comfort in your mate if you are having trouble adjusting to her kids, and try to take it easy.
Take Care of Yourself
This leads into the fourth tip, which is to make sure that you continue to take care of your self, both physically and mentally. The pressures of being a stepfather can be very daunting, so you want to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time for rest and to play around with your hobbies.
Fairness for All
The fifth tip is to make sure that your stepchild is always treated fairly, especially if you are bringing your own children into the mix. You really want to avoid a “he treats his own child better than me” scenario. Although you are always going to feel a stronger connection with your biological child, you have to ensure that you are treating all of the children the same. When you are put in a parenting role, it does not matter whether you have a biological child or a stepchild; they are all your kids and need to be treated on an equal basis.
Being a stepfather is a very challenging task. However, with the proper care, you can ensure that you and your new stepchild will love and respect each other as a true father and child pair.
Nigel Lane is a father of 3 beautiful children, a youth worker, and a parent coach. He is willing to share my experience in order to save you from hardships that you don’t have to go through. For more Parenting information and tips, visit Advice for Dads.
Photo credit yarranz