Home » To Be a Father » How to Be a Good Stepdad » A Good Stepfather – Two Ways to Be One: #5 & #6

A Good Stepfather – Two Ways to Be One: #5 & #6

The following is part of the continuing series of tips to be a good stepfather:

  • Respect your Stepchild’s Private Space.  From the time they’re preteens through their teenage years your stepchild deserves a reasonable amount of privacy and private space.  An exception would be if there is serious concern about the child’s behavior or activity, the more space they are given the more trusted they will feel. 


  • Be Involved with Your Stepchild.  Spend time with your stepchild in their activities.  Help them with their school work, projects, and attending sporting events or clubs like scouting they are involved with. This will show them you are willing to support their efforts.  


Check out the several books available on Stepparenting in Book Reviews.  This time I recommend 7 Steps to Bonding with Your Stepchild by Suzen J. Ziegahn.  Suzen provides practical, realistic and upbeat advice — from sharing a bathroom to initiating conversations — for people who “inherit” children along with a new spouse.  The success or failure of a stepparent to bond with stepchildren can make or break a new marriage.  This book has a refreshing message — it is possible to achieve longlasting, rewarding relationships with your new children.

Most stepparents feel caught in a bind because in order to connect with their stepchild, they have to reach out — but not too much, too little or too deliberately.  And relationships with stepchildren are inherently different from those with biological children who love their parent unconditionally.  But these seven basic steps will give you the essentials, from deciding what kind of stepparent you want to be to realizing that love comes later.

The author, Suzen J. Ziegahn, is a clinical psychologist and writer specializing in stepfamily issues. She also has over 12 years of experience in the administration of mental health services, serving as Director and CEO of mental health systems in the Midwest.  She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the stepmother of two children.  She lives in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.


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