It is so common for parents of biological children to feel that the problem in the relationship between their kids and the stepparent belongs to the person in the step position.
“If they were only nicer, kinder, more understanding, or more forgiving,” they think, “things wouldn’t be such a big deal.”
Stepdads are often ignored in the literature because so much of the focus is on stepmothers. Since June is the time to honor dads, I want to focus this article on stepdads.
Men who marry women with children take on a role that not many could possibly be prepared for. While you most likely come into this with all good intentions to be the man of the household, you might wonder why you feel left out and why your stepchildren and wife are often upset with you or siding against you. This is very hurtful and perplexing for many stepdads.
“I don’t understand how she cannot love Isabel (8). I know she’s acting out a lot of anger about the divorce, but she’s so loving and adorable!”
It is said that nobody can truly love a child like a child’s own parents. We were the ones who saw how precious they were as infants, and who they needed and depended upon growing up. We were the ones feeling pride at each and every milestone, as if our kids were the only children learning to turn over, crawl, and walk. And we fell in love completely the first moment we heard the words “mama” and “dada.”
This love we have for our children is often so powerful that we cannot imagine how a new spouse, who professes to love us so much, does not feel the same way.
Two weeks into my new Stepfamily, my second Stepfamily to be exact. I planned to get up this morning, turn on my computer and, with a cup of coffee, have a luxurious morning to collect my thoughts before my workday begins. But, at 8 a.m., my pretty new stepdaughter flies into the house and announces, “My school day doesn’t start until 9:30 today!” and proceeds to set up her homework on the dining room table. I got into the shower and thought about how I got here, at this time in my life.
For the past five years, I have lived alone, learning about myself, my rituals, my routines. I had the luxury of having my own space, with no kids around, and I fit into it nicely. I enjoy my time with no interruptions, when I can “screen” calls and determine when and how I want to be interrupted.