Nine tips on being a great step father

by Mary Ann on June 22, 2011

 

dad and daughters picture

Elizabeth, Kash, Ashley, Aubrey, and Parker

“My kids are great!  They are energetic, imaginative, loving, and occasionally ornery.  I have three girls and one boy, whose ages range from three to eleven, and they have been my kids for exactly four months.

Being a “step-dad” is not something I expected a year ago, but it was not an idea that scared me either.  I have five siblings that have 13 kids between them and I have always enjoyed spending time with their children.  Now that I have four kids to call my own, I have a different perspective on the relationships that I have with my nieces and nephews. The responsibility one has as a parent is enormous. An uncle can feed his nephews a bunch of sugar and then send them back to their parents; a step-father does not have that luxury.

The important thing for a step-parent to remember is that you are an adult, and the kids are…kids.  They have lost a parent, whether through divorce or otherwise.  Someone who has been there consistently for most of their lives is now only there occasionally.  It is not your job to replace that parent. It is however, your job to be a new parent.  One that is patient, and loving, and willing to teach the same qualities to your new kids.

dad and daughter images

Kash and Parker

Like all parents, a step-parent’s patience is tested on a daily basis.  My philosophy, when faced with a new problem, is “Yield to the expert”.  My wife knows her children better than anyone.  So, I ask her opinion on almost everything.  She is very patient and very willing to teach me how to be a good dad ( Preparing to become a father).  I am very blessed to have the family that I do, and love them very much.”

I did some research and Kash is well on his way to being a great step-father. Here is a list of tips from a long time step dad and Dr. Phil.

How to be a good step father:

1.Don’t Plan to be the disciplinarian. There are boundaries to your authority. Be reasonable, and as much as possible show them that what you have to say is sensible. The stepparent, although not actively initiating direct discipline, should certainly work to maintain the normal boundaries that exist between an adult and a child. Support the decisions that are made by your wife.  A stepfather is not simply one’s mother’s husband. He is in fact an adult and an authority figure in the home.

2. Don’t ask them to call you “Dad”. Don’t be selfish and demand it.

3. Don’t ever bad mouth their dad, no matter what kind of person he is. Usually they’ll side with dad, but even if they don’t, you have no right to interfere in that relationship.

4. Act responsibly, be there for the kids when they need you, share their joys and sorrows with them, build them up as much as you can, help them with their homework, offer advice, explain how things work, organize their day, and so on — all the things you’d do if you were their actual father,  remembering that relationships take time to build.

5. Listen to the children.

6. Take cues from mom. Deal with major disagreements out of earshot of the kids; in everything else, follow mom’s lead.

7. Don’t try to win them over with gifts, trips to the amusement park, or whatever.

8. Share. Be open about your life, career, likes and dislikes, and interests — and make an effort to learn about theirs. Take part in their activities and involve them in yours. Not only will you find some common ground to connect on, but you’ll be able to take part in their development as people, which is what this is all about.

9. Forgive. Forgive them for being difficult, forgive mom for not always lending you a hand when you’re lost, forgive their friends for not understanding your new place in your kids’ home, and most of all, forgive yourself. You are going to make a lot of mistakes

These are just  nine tips for being a great step father. I am sure there are more.

“The key is to remember that the children are passengers on this train. They didn’t get an opportunity to choose whether they wanted a new family member, so great care and patience should be taken to help them adapt to the situation.” Dr. Phil

Kash  is a native to Colorado  and currently lives in Grand Junctionwith his wife and four children (Aubrey 11, Ashley 9, Lizzy 7, and Parker 3) They are  expecting their first child together to be born in Janurary. Kash grew up in a family of 6 children. He is the fourth child just like his wife Marie. He was raised by his mother with the help of his grandfather and two of his grandmothers. Kash teaches the men class in church and enjoys it very much. One of his hobbies is reading. He loves to read all kind of books.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly June 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Lovely article! In our home, we use the terms “bonus kids” and “bonus Dad” :)

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Mary Ann June 24, 2011 at 1:26 am

That is perfect! I am passing that along to Kash. : ) It was fun and enlightening to do a bit of research and I loved Kash’s comments.

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