Being a Stepdad is not easy work. In fact, it’s an often overlooked family role. Yet there are fewer resources for the current or prospective Stepfather than you might think. 1.2 million Americans remarry after divorce and create blended families so it’s become more important than ever for Stepparents to get things right. Seventy percent of blended family remarriages end in divorce after all, and there’s no need to become just another statistic.
Remember, you are both a father to them and yet not one. Balancing the line between stepdad and overstepping your boundaries will create strife in your new family as well as your partner’s ex-husband’s family too. There’s not really room for a learning curve once the marriage vows are in place. Trying to take control of the change between being Mom’s boyfriend and turning into the children’s new Stepdad has a lot of pitfalls. Praying you’re doing the right thing won’t always work so it will only benefit you if you take advantage of all the resources the Internet has to offer.
Support for Stepdads (website: http://www.supportforstepdads.com/) is an amazing resource for new and current Stepfathers who need help assuming their new role. Aside from their wonderful guide “Guide to be a Great Stepfather,” the site provides inspiration, humor, and guidance about all the challenges you might face. They have advice on the best ways to combine blended families, which include keeping the birth order and encouraging kids to not feel like they’ve lost control of their lives. Their website gives some of the following tips:
- Accept that Love takes Work: Loving your new step kids might not be instantaneous on either side of the equation. Trying to bond and actively working towards liking each other is the important first step to a loving new blended family.
- Present a United Front: Discipline is one of the biggest pitfalls that a blended family can face. Kids may have rules in one house that are vastly different to the new blended household. Working with all the parental units to present a measure of uniformity will make the transition much easier.
- Have Family Meetings That Double as Bonding Sessions: New families may struggle with having affection for each other. Kids from each side of the marriage may resent the new family members or be confused about the new rules. Having a regular family meeting when the household is together can help alleviate confusion while also being fun. Try to combine the meeting with pizza and a movie or a game night to foster that important feeling of belonging in every family member.
Being a Stepfather can be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make but it is hard work. Finding a website like Support for Stepdads is a godsend in this day and age. Don’t let your new family be just another divorce statistic. Read the advice and inspiration on Support for Stepdads and have a guide going forward to make sure you’re the best Stepdad can be.