Being a stepdad is tough. Really tough. For starters, the child isn’t yours, and his or her mum will already have a much closer relationship with them than you. At first, it’ll seem like you have a ridiculous amount of lost ground to cover but take it slow. You can’t expect your new partner’s child to be calling you “dad” by the end of the first week (or ever), being a stepdad can be incredibly rewarding, even at the beginning. Just because their mum thinks you are great doesn’t mean they will and too much pressure or trying too hard can actually just end up having the opposite effect. So chill out and take it slow.
Stepfathers Advice – The challenges
Being a Stepdad comes with a lot of challenges and joys. Everyone’s experience is different depending on:
- How old the child is, and if there is more than one
- Whether the child is a boy or girl
- The relationship to their dad, if their dad is still around.
As a stepfather, there are perhaps more boundaries for you as a parent. Respect those boundaries, and be sure to follow the same parenting as your new partner.
Whilst you might think it’s unlikely that a child who isn’t yours will love you as much as their biological father, you’d be surprised at just how much and how quickly they can grow to love you. Remember that all children look for role-models and father-figures, so you’re slotting into a natural place. Above all, be open, friendly, and give the child time to come round to you, rather than forcing the issue.
Being a stepdad is one of the more difficult relationships to get right – the best stepfathers advice is to give yourself some pats on the back when you do a good job and don’t worry if you get it wrong sometimes – because you probably will. You are going to be able to make a real difference in a child’s life, and you’ve already taken the first step by taking on that responsibility.
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