Jul 31, 2018
Brian Mayer talks through becoming a stepdad and what best to
concentrate on in the initial stages. Becoming a new stepdad
is difficult because we must balance building a relationship with
our new stepchildren while also figuring out the parenting
piece. There are lots of ways to go about this and today we
will discuss several things to keep in mind as you build this
relationship. We hope you enjoy today’s episode. For
more information and additional resources please visit our website
- Becoming a new stepparent is probably one of the most difficult
new roles that we will ever assume. Today we are going
to focus on becoming a stepfather and the most important items for
you to be aware of as you enter into this new situation that can
certainly be filled with landmines.
- Did you know that over 1,000 stepfamilies are created every
single day in the U.S. and in fact over 50% of families are
remarried or recoupled. Of course with that, it means over
1,000 stepdads enter the picture everyday as well. So lots of
us need help out there.
- For me my interesting story is that I was a stepdad in my first
marriage but not in my second. True that is generally
somewhat atypical and in fact was more difficult for me because I
became a stepfather at the age of 22. I did not know how to
approach this and so I made lots of mistakes for sure. I wish
at that time there were resources like this podcast to help me
- Today we will talk about some tips that I wish I had back then
to help ne navigate being a new stepdad and ones that I think will
- Eyes Wide Open: What I mean by this is
that you must enter into this new situation understand there is a
reality and that the picture of what you are hoping for may not be
there especially to start. You should assume that your new
stepchildren will look at your addition as a subtraction.
They will look at you as pulling their biological parent away from
them and not as if they have another parent to look up to.
- Relationship before Parenting: This one
is so critical and many of us get this one wrong. Much
research shows that you need to take this process slow. Get
to know the child on a friend level. I know this sounds
counterintuitive but there will be much resistance if you do not
approach the relationship in this manner. This is more
difficult for men as we often can have a more distant authoritarian
style to begin with. Check out www.theremarriedlife.com/session12
for the episode about parenting styles.
- Unity with Mom: Your desire may be to
provide direction and discipline to the child but initially you
must provide this indirectly through mom. This will involve
lots of conversations and being watchful of blame, criticism, harsh
tones because should you begin to go down that path, mom’s ears
will begin to close and even worse escalation of the difficulties
- Observe for 90 Days: This can also be a
timeframe of your choosing, but this logic comes from those that
often talk about how best to assume a new leadership role in a
company. Most experts in the field of the study of corporate
world will tell you to simply enter the picture and assess what you
are seeing rather than immediately intervening. There is no
reason to come in immediately and rock the boat. The children
have had enough upheaval as it is.
- Be Patient: Often it can take 6 months
to 2 years for the initial feeling out period to take place where a
child may feel more comfortable. It is quite possible that it
never happens. That can be a difficult reality but one that
you should be prepared for. Just remember keep doing what you
are doing and don’t tie your thoughts about what you are doing to
the results you are seeing.
- Manage Your Own Anger: There is no doubt
that you will be angry and get stressed over the situations that
arise. When a child won’t do what you say, won’t reciprocate
your love and affection, or won’t proactively come to you for
advice or their needs. This is such a difficult time for
everyone including you. Try your best not to get caught up in
personifying what is happening. In others words, realize that
it may not matter who were to step in to your position the initial
stages probably would not go well no matter what you do or who you
- Being a stepdad is not easy. Keep working at it and
remember a lot of what we talked about. There are of course
lots of opinions and lots of research on what works and what does
not so continue to seek that out. One resource to mention is
a book called The Smart Stepdad by Ron Deal which is loaded with
lots of great information to help you in your journey.
Thanks For Listening!
- With so many things that take time in our lives, I more
grateful than you know that you took time to listen to this podcast
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As always remember that marriage is nothing something you have,
it is something you do. Talk to you next week unless you are
binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in
about a minute! Take care.