Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Steps to Help a Stepfather Succeed in a Blended Family - Guest Post by Eddie Shackleford

HerMamas.com loves featuring daddy guests posts on any and all topics. Some weeks ago a guest blogger shared her story of becoming a step-mother. Today we welcome a father's perspective on this very important topic because becoming a step-parent is not something that necessarily comes easy. Guest blogger Eddie Shackleford reflects on his personal journey to share some helpful tips with our readers. Take it away Eddie... 

Making the most of a blended family unit is not uncommon; there is a high percentage of children in America that have a stepfather living in the household with their biological mother. Learning how to coexist in harmony in a blended family has its challenges and rewards. Use these tips to make the process easier and encourage family harmony on every level.

1). Familiarize everyone early

A stepfather should never integrate into a household without allowing the child or children involved to begin a relationship beforehand. To warm everyone, the stepfather should visit the home regularly, and have conversations with the children before he moves in. A new stepfather should take note of any shared interests in sports, entertainment, education, or hobbies the child likes so that he can make a positive connection.

2). Know the house rules and expectations

A stepfather who is willing to integrate himself into the environment must know the rules of the home and what is expected of him on a daily basis. Many times in blended families, older children and teens have established household routines. In addition, many young male children will often take on the role as the ‘man of the house’ until a stepfather appears.

A loving stepdad must never belittle or embarrass a young man who is used to handling certain responsibilities in his home. Every household is different, so it is important to establish rules and responsibilities to limit arguments.

3). Set reasonable boundaries

Nothing will discourage the entry of a stepfather into the home life more than if boundaries are overstepped. It is crucial to comply with the personal boundaries of each household member. Always share logical reasoning instead of simply arguing for better communication. Respecting the privacy of older children is necessary to avoid family blowouts.

In the beginning, it is best to allow only the biological parent to discipline the child in question, until a deeper parent-child union is formed. Doing so could cause extreme anger and rebellion from the child or teen affected.

4) Spend significant time together

Enjoying time together is chief in a blended family, and it is essential to the growth of the relationships in the home. Children or teens should be encouraged to have an exciting day out with their Mom and stepfather. Watching movies on
cable TV is a great bonding time for the family. The Summer time is great, kids are out of school and there are tons of movies to watch. Sitting down for breakfast and dinner is another simple way to build a foundation of interaction that lasts.

A family vacation could be perfect for incinerating the ice that makes relating difficult. Allow everyone to take part in the trip planning to encourage family collaboration.

5) Allow the bond to grow

It is imperative to never attempt to force the bond. It takes time for a child to adjust to a new guardian, so avoid pressuring any child into a stage of acceptance with a step parent.

Assimilation of a stepfather into the household is never an easy conquered task. Having a positive attitude and the willingness to engage in every aspect of family life is necessary. A stepfather that puts forth a stellar effort to be a part of the family will be most successful in settling in.

Author: Eddie Shackleford is a father of 2 and 1 step-child. He understands the importance of being an effective step parent. Eddie currently writes for Direct4tv and loves to write about parenting, TV, and more. You can follow Eddie @Eddie20Ford.

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