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A Stepfather Gets No Respect II

The first post identified the four pieces needed build a foundation of respect for a stepfather and within the home:

  1. Stepdad Receives Authority to Parent from Wife,
  2. Wife Disciplines Children,
  3. Respectful Behavior is the Standard, and
  4. Stepdad Handling His Mistakes.

Implementing these pieces will help ensure you are respected as an adult and stepfather. Additionally, it helps to ensure the interactions within your home are based in respect.  This post will focuses on two more considerations influencing respect within the blended family: A Stepfather’s Expectations and Setting a Good Example.

A Stepfather Gets No Respect II

Stepdad’s Expectations

Ask yourself the following questions if you have concerns with your children’s behavior.

  • What are your expectations regarding the children’s behavior?  Are they beyond respectful behavior? How does your wife feel about your expectations?
  • Are you expecting your stepchildren to behave based on the way you had to behave?

Depending on when you enter your stepchildren lives it may be unreasonable to expect anything beyond respectful behavior.  When assuming responsibilities as head of your new family, please be patient and discuss any changes you’re considering with your wife.

Ensure your wife is completely onboard with any changes you would like to make.  Suggest waiting for at least six months before making any changes; remember you’re entering a new family system with established rules and standards of behavior. 

It’s wise to take time to observe how things work or don’t work before suggesting changes.  Remember to ask yourself the questions raised earlier regarding the changes you would like to see in your stepchildren’s behavior before deciding to pursue changes.

Stepfathers Get No Respect

Not So Good Example

Setting a Great Example

If you expect to receive respect, it’s important for you to give respect first.  Regardless of what you may be thinking and feeling inside you must set the proper example.  If you are constantly yelling at your kids, losing your temper, cursing or trying to manipulate them into doing as you said, is it any surprise your children respond in kind?   You, their stepfather, are teaching them to act that way by you own example.  When you speak in a respectful and calm manner, chances are good they will respond in kind.

Praise your stepchildren when you notice them behaving in a respectful manner.  For example, if you catch your stepson holding the car door open for his mom, sister, or a stranger be sure to compliment them for it.  Reinforce all instances of respectful behavior with praise and/or reward.

Be sure to treat your wife with respect and honor – to treat her otherwise is not only setting a poor example, but it will practically guarantee her children will give you a hard way to go.

The final post will address Teachable Moments.  Please read the book review for Smart Stepfamily, The: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family

The Smart Stepfamily Book Review

Review by Karon Phillips Goodman
Author of The Stepmom’s Guide to Simplifying Your Life
“If you want to feel empowered, inspired, comforted and renewed about your steplife, read this book. In his straightforward and calming manner, author Ron Deal brings hope and healing into a stepparent’s life in this easy-to-follow volume based on Christian principles. For the stepparent-to-be, the new stepparent or the veteran, this book is a lighthouse in a stormy world, reassuring us that we can find our way.
Right from the introduction, the overwhelmed reader breathes a sigh of relief and enjoys the reminder that there are, indeed, healthy stepfamilies out there, and having one is a real possibility. Deal gives us a deeply comforting and proactive approach to our steplives, zeroing in on the practical steps we can take right now. We’re all willing to work hard for our families, but if we don’t work on the right things, it won’t matter. Work smarter, Deal says. That involves two things very much within our control:  understanding stepfamily life and making intentional decisions about living that life.
Deal points out some “key stepping-stones” that we’ll need every day. These attitudes and perspectives will enable us to overcome obstacles and take advantage of the opportunities around us. They include Spiritual Integrity, Listening and Understanding, Perseverance, Commitment, Patience, Flexibility and Humor. It sounds basic, but Deal shows us how to master these skills so that we can have a more healthy and peaceful life all around.
With strikingly appropriate Biblical parallels, Deal likens the steplife we all want to the Promised Land the Israelites found after years of wandering. May of us stepparents wander for years, too, often wanting to give up. Deal’s reminder that God won’t abandon us either is just the beginning of the comfort and inspiration this book offers.
Deal lays out the seven steps in the journey to the “Stepfamily Promised Land.” Each one is clearly explained, and their presentation contributes to the book’s message of encouragement and possibilities. Deal includes studies of a stepparent’s expectations, how important the marriage is in the success of the family, parenting with former spouses and much more. You’ll see yourself time and again in his words, and more importantly, you’ll see how you can make positive contributions to your family, starting today.
The author includes stories of stepfamilies in trouble and stories of those who have made it to the Promised Land. Understanding that the journey is tough for others, too, gives the reader a sense of belonging, along with the impetus to step through the tough times because something good awaits.
Each chapter of the book includes questions and discussion topics to help couples understand each other’s perspective and to guide them in making responsible and healthy decisions. Now that’s working smarter.”

Click on the book to order your copy now.


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