Stepdad 101


“I DONT HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOU! YOU’RE NOT MY DAD!”

I have heard this a few times in my short tenure as a stepfather. It’s the statement that has stuck with me the most since this journey began. It has affected my judgement, my mood, and my decision making abilities in dealing with the children.

I try to be a positive influence in my stepsons life.

I try to guide him with my experience from growing up.

I try to live up to what I think a stepfather should be.

Sometimes I fall short.

But I keep trying.

I don’t have the experience of raising a child from birth. It wasn’t in the cards for me. There is no “Stepfathering for Dummies” manual on what to do and what not to do. So I do what I do best.

A kind of running with scissors approach.

Trial and error and error and error. Figure it out as I go along. Just when I think I know the answers, I forget the questions.

Back to square one.

It’s frustrating.

But every once in a while there is a breakthrough.

A moment in time where my conscience is at ease. Confirmation that my GPS (good parenting system) is functioning correctly.

Today was one of those times.

July is spend the month with the real Dad time.

He texts and calls his Mom on a regular basis during this time and I get a tell stepdad Hi. I’m used to it.

It was strange to me when I got a text from him at work today. Random what are you doing text but still weird. He doesn’t text me.

Then it happened.

The next text was asking advice about a girl he was seeing and why girls need space.

Instead of using my lightning mental reflexes that would have texted back and said ” girls don’t need space, they need to be IN space “, I paused.

All I texted back was ” girls are weird like that ”

He agreed.

At 9:30 this evening, he called me.

He asked what I thought he should do.

I gave him advice.

He said “Thank you for listening to me.”

It’s the little things that make all the hardships worthwhile.

I may not be his Dad.

But I am the one he is coming to for advice on matters of the heart.

And that makes this old heart feel pretty good.

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18 thoughts on “Stepdad 101

  1. My step dad has been dad since I was 5. I think it’s a fairly normal reaction at some point to say ‘You’re not my dad, you can’t tell me what to do!’ I said it once or twice and when I did my mum wouldpipe up and say ‘yes you do all the time he pays the mortgage and puts food in your belly” or “Ok, go and ask your Bio to pay for your clothes”. It just made me mad initially (cos I knew she was right) but I’d go away and think about it. It also meant I didn’t bother saying it again loud enough for anyone to hear me because I knew I’d get a smart arse comment thrown at me that I had no comeback for.
    Clever woman, my mum šŸ™‚
    I went through some hard times with my dad in my teens and he never once said “I don’t need to put up with you, you’re not my kid!” He never once stopped being my dad and because of that I wouldn’t trade him for all the tea in china!
    You’re doing a great job so far if he’s asking you for advice šŸ™‚

    • Thank you. I have been a stepfather for a little over 3 years. The kids are both teenagers. I has not been an easy transition for any of us, but we continue to work at it.

  2. Congratulations. That must have felt pretty great. As a divorced parent, I know that I am very grateful for the part their “step-mom” (she’s not official yet but she’s doing all the work already) plays. Sometimes they can receive from a non-parent what they could not hear from me. Your role is so important.

  3. Parenting is hard. Step-parenting is hard too. My kids have hated both me and their “step-father.” It’s what you do with it when it happens that makes the difference. Apparently, you made the right choice and the trust has been built. Sadly, that’s a bond my kids’ step-father was never able to build. Congratulations to you both.

    • It is still a work in progress. Any step forward marks a significant breakthrough for me, but challenges arise every day. Worth every moment though. Thank you.

  4. cyclonered says:

    You sound like a great role model as a step-dad. I too have a step-son. Some days are harder than others, but you live and learn and do the best you can.

  5. uniscikill says:

    ‘girls don’t need space, they need to be IN space.’

    That’s funny… I wonder what the feminazi will say about this.

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