Thursday, 22 August 2013


I recently became a stepfather. I love every second of it. I am learning so much from my 5 year old (going on 500 year old) teacher. Unfortunately I am not learning much from my community about being a stepfather. There are not a lot of resources for how to be a good stepfather.

It is a special position to be in. I am a father but not a father. Over the past year I have learned some very crucial lessons about being a stepfather that I wish to share.

1.     Love them as your own. Give them the time, patients, understanding and love that you would give your own child. There is no way around this. Love them fully, completely, they deserve it.

2.     You are not their father. You are a father figure. Even if their biological father is not around, you are not their father. They can call you Dad, treat you like one, whatever they want is their prerogative. Let go of the feeling that you are their father. Treating them like your own child while not asking them to treat you like a father is the practice required.

3.     Provide safety. Above all else make sure they have a safe home, a safe place to go. More then likely that child has gone through a great change in their life. Healing requires rest, peace and safety.

4.     NEVER speak poorly of their father. No matter how troubled they might be. Always speak kindly of their father. Their father is part of them, insulting/judging their father is the same as insulting them.

5.     Love their mother. Love her freely and honestly. Learn to love their mother and show your love openly. You are teaching that little one how to love and be loved by another.

6.     Find special treats and trips and do them. It is important to build a friendship/trust with this person. Find common interests and make a point of doing them together.

7.     Provide information, feedback and ideas to the parents but you are not the decision maker. You are responsible for the safety of that child. You are responsible for the love of that child. You are responsible not for every decision of that child. Honor the mother and father by honoring their choices.

8.     Step up. Be there. Read about child rearing. Ask other parents about tips. Learn to live on less sleep. The focus is not on you, it is on the family.

9.     Laugh, sing, dance, play, dress in drag, watch cartoons, hide, seek, jump, throw, whatever you can do, be a child with them.

10. Most importantly, take care of yourself. That little child will learn a great deal if you heal your wounds, open your heart and forgive. There is always something that you can work on in yourself. Show them the honest struggle and share the successes.

I would love to hear more tips from other Stepfathers. We have much to teach each other.

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