Step-Fathering Mistakes You Should Watch Out For
Sadly, many stepfathers are compared to villains in movies; every now and then, in Media, you would heart about a villain stepfather who raped his stepdaughter, or try to murder her; the reason for this is; one criminal behavior of just 1% helps to foster further the unsavory reputation of stepfathers, But Thankfully this is not the case with your new blended family.
Stepfathers have to be extreme careful the way you deal with your stepchildren in general, especially your stepdaughters from the very beginning. I understand the fear of rejection you may be going through but don`t use that as an excuse to try so hard, this may be interpreted in a negative way. As adults we are expected to take lead in everything; the good behavior, the care etc. So, there are common mistakes you may not be aware of; most stepfathers are not aware of therefore you should watch out:
Doing things forcefully
Based on your parenting experience, there is a natural tendency for you to have behavioral expectations and what you feel is “right thing to do”; and you may want to make your point by letting them know that you are the man of the house. But before you do that put yourself in to your stepchildren`s shoe and in order to see thing according to their perspective; ask yourself “how easy can you adjust to this new stepfather who just came in with bunch of rules?”, and also consider that these children were raised by a sign mom; who`s way of raising children is based on intimacy. with this in mind you have to take things slowly.
It might be challenging for them to easily adjust to your rules; simply because they don`t know you very well, and have not grown up with you. So, to develop a bond with your stepchildren, you have to use different ways. One of those ways is; trying to genuinely know their interest and activities even if they are unresponsive. It is better to try and get involve with them rather than forcing your relationship.
Create safe environment right from the start
Ideally; you should make sure you and your wife (children`s mother) lay the groundwork for these children; address their concerns they may have with the new family before even marriage, they need to be involved as much as possible in the creations of the new family.
Your goal is have one blended beautiful family; so therefore you should work towards this right from the start; you and your wife should engage on several sessions of family counseling and therapies, before the marriage, on your free times; try to involve with her children, even babysitting them if you have to; this will create the opportunity for them to know you more.
You must do your best to work with your wife together to create a safe and trustful environment for the children where they can confidently express their feelings; when it comes to dealing with children you have to be a listener to diffuse any situation. This important to do because sometimes children do not voice their concern at initial stage; because they may fear the retaliation from their parent; but it will all add up into different situations with either parents or with their new siblings; it is important all the children know they concerns are heard and addressed.
Don`t only focus on your rules
This a common mistake among many stepfathers, they are too focus on how they will introduce themselves and incorporate their new rules without teaming up with children`s mother. You need to be patient and not jumping in to things by your own. At times in the blended families; not all children cause chaos and troubles, so when you first meet your spouse, during laying the ground work for children, you need to observe and learn how their family works, then work with your wife to make sure you are both at the same page when it comes to parenting these children.
You need ask yourself about these questions before making your new rules:
- Are you an authoritarian or permissive parent?
- how can you make it work for children with consistency and unity?
- How will you discipline them when they cross boundaries?.
- How do they communicate?.
You will see that the answer to these questions, should begin right before the marriage, before planning of setting up boundaries, you should put your focus to answer these questions, It means you and your wife (stepchildren`s mother) should be a team, and make sure you both have a clear plan and understanding of how you would address areas of conflict. Make sure you and your wife involve your stepchildren in making up the new house rules; and setting boundaries; and also the consequence when those rules are broken.
Avoid negative feeling on your spouse`s Ex
Sometimes in certain circumstance there might come a time when your wife`s ex would be mentioned and the past relationship, you must learn to keep the past as it is and don`t get uncomfortable. Because your stepchildren could feel your anger and resentment whenever their father is mentioned. And never emphasize their father`s wrong doings or comparing how he does things In front of the children. Even if they are the ones who start talking trash about him don`t side with them on this, their biological father is their father; so, let that be and don`t try to take that away.
Mostly every blended families have their own problems in a different way; in that case you should not look at your counterpart’s problems as a disaster but rather look at them as an opportunity to sit down as one big family and discuss the way forward. However, what does usually work is to find possible ways that suits everyone, if that fails at least everyone will see themselves are regarded and respected to have their feelings addressed, this is very important.
The bonding takes time and it is a working progress; so glitches that happens within weeks and months are very normal; working together is what is important to get rid of those glitches; the time you achieved that, then know that everything is going smoothly. That achievement deserves a family celebration, it is a big milestone of building your new family.