What not to do as a step dad?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

As a stepdad, it’s important to approach your role with sensitivity and understanding. Building a positive relationship with your stepchildren can be challenging, but it’s crucial to avoid certain actions and behaviors that could potentially harm the bond you’re trying to build. Here are some things you should avoid doing as a stepdad:

1. Don’t plan to take on the role of disciplinarian: Discipline is typically the responsibility of the biological parent. While it’s important to support your partner in establishing rules and boundaries, it’s best to let the biological parent handle the primary disciplinary role. Trying to act as the disciplinarian may create tension and resistance from your stepchildren.

2. Don’t take your stepchildren acting out personally: It’s common for children, especially in blended families, to act out as they adjust to new dynamics. Try not to take their behavior personally or see it as a reflection of your relationship with them. Instead, approach their actions with empathy and understanding, and work with your partner to address any behavioral issues together.

3. Don’t be the bad guy, even if asked by your wife: Sometimes, biological parents may feel overwhelmed or seek support in disciplining their children. While it’s essential to be supportive, avoid positioning yourself as the “bad guy” in the family dynamic. Instead, focus on building a positive and nurturing relationship with your stepchildren, being a role model, and fostering open communication.

4. Don’t expect appreciation or approval: It’s important to remember that building a bond with your stepchildren takes time and effort. It’s possible that they may not show immediate appreciation or approval for your presence in their lives. Avoid expecting instant gratitude and focus on being consistent, understanding, and patient. Over time, a strong connection can develop.

5. Don’t plan to take over the ‘dad’ role: It’s crucial to respect the existing relationship between your stepchildren and their biological father. While you can provide love, support, and guidance, avoid trying to replace or overshadow their biological father. Instead, focus on building a unique and positive relationship as a stepdad, understanding and acknowledging their existing family dynamics.

6. Don’t make your stepkids feel rejected: It’s important to ensure that your stepchildren feel included and valued in the family. Avoid actions or behaviors that may make them feel rejected or excluded, such as favoring your biological children over them or excluding them from family activities. Strive to create a loving and inclusive environment where all children feel equally important.

Remember, every blended family is unique, and the dynamics may vary. It’s essential to communicate openly with your partner and adapt to the specific needs and circumstances of your family. Building a strong and loving relationship with your stepchildren takes time, patience, and understanding.