In honor of Father’s Day and to all the men who take on the role of Stepdad, this guest post is dedicated to you! Our guest blogger is Eddie D. Shackelford, a father of two who’s been in the stepdad role. Thank you Eddie – this is a great article!
Families are much different than they used to be, and many families are now learning how to embrace a step-father into the home. This can be a difficult task, especially if the biological father has been highly involved in the life of the children. Some children will see the new dad as a nuisance and someone they have to endure, but it does not have to be like that. There are plenty of things that can be done to make the transition into a new blended family work without all of the drama.
The first thing that really needs to happen is a conversation. All of the people must have an open conversation about the rules and expectations with the new living arrangement. It is hopeful that the new dad has things in common with the children. You need to make certain that the children understand how things are going to work, and they need to show their step-father the same respect that they show their biological dad. Conversation and open lines of communication are the keys to making the whole process work.
Much of the conversation that takes place will depend upon the age and maturity of the children. If the children are older, the process to adopt a new dad could be much more difficult. Depending upon how much the children know, you will have to approach the conversations with tact and understanding. Your children may be very hurt by everything that has happened, so it is important to make sure that everyone involved understands how everyone feels.
You should also plan some time to do things together. It does not have to be a huge event all of the time, but there are some things that can be done to help promote the unity for a blended family. Plan a special day to go to a theme park, baseball game or take a hike to build some appreciation for each other. The step-father must be careful not to overstep his boundaries and simply provide a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.
The children must see how the parents are working together to make the situation the best that it can be. Most children will be protective of their mothers, so they need to see that the step-father is a positive person in the mom’s life. Once the children understand that this new dad is a good person and supportive of the family, he will likely be embraced a lot quicker without considerable amounts of frustration.
Another easy way to bond is by using technology. Step dads can take the chance to send some nice messages to the children throughout the day, or the whole family could join together to watch some television or movies on cable TV.
When making a transition like this, remember that everyone has feelings and that children may simply need some time to adapt into a blended family. Communication and effort is key!
Author: Eddie D. Shackleford is a father of 2 and has experienced the step-father role. He thinks it is important to talk about this topic to create more efficient blended families. Eddie is also a writer for Direct4tv and can be followed @Eddie20Ford