For a man, winning the heart of a woman requires a certain sense of style, chivalry and charm. To win the hearts of her children, it arguably takes an entirely different set of skills, including kindness, resourcefulness and patience.
Blended families are becoming more common as parents find love after divorce and opt to join their respective families. While it may seem simple, joining families is not so easy, especially for stepdads. They may be caught in a netherworld between being an authority figure and just their parent’s love interest. When this happens, men can feel out of place or run the risk of upsetting the previous family dynamic.
In the course of nurturing a blended family, there are three key factors that contribute to a harmonious household.
First, a potential stepfather must agree with mom on how to parent the kids. There must be a basic agreement on how much influence (and authority) a stepfather may have, and when he must defer to mom or the child’s biological father. This is important because kids are likely to be confused about who they must listen to, and who has the final say in a dispute. After all, kids are certainly adept at playing parents against each other in order to get their way
Second, moms should encourage their kids to talk about any frustrations they have with their potential or new stepdad. This is also important in ensuring that simple issues do not fester and grow into significant problems. While disagreements are destined to occur, clear communication can actually prevent problems.
If you are a stepparent and have questions about your legal rights with regard to custody and parenting time, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.