Respect is extremely important to men. “Respect” means to show the honor due a man simply because of who he is. It affirms he is valuable and people take his value into consideration in how they view and treat him.
A man feels respected by the following things:
He is appreciated for what he does for his family. A man wants to know his family gets how hard he works for them and how much he sacrifices. He does it because it is his nature to provide and care for them.
He is willing to work hard and forego things for himself without being resentful unless he feels it is not recognized and taken for granted.
He is liked. Women want to be loved, but men want to be liked. When you are liked, it feels respectful because “you” are valued for who ‘‘you” are. When you aren’t liked, it feels dishonoring because it feels rejecting of your person.
Stepchildren don’t naturally like you and have reasons not to like you based on the circumstances.
He is valued for his input. Men naturally problem-solve to fix dilemmas presented to them. This is the way they show their love and concern.
So when the advice is spurned and disregarded, they feel disrespected, misunderstood, and undervalued. This is made even worse when the child rudely says, “You aren’t my dad. Don’t tell me what to do.”
He is allowed to lead. Men want to be the head of the house to lead and protect. Because of the inherent difficulties with discipline in step-parenting, a man’s natural place as head of the home is compromised.
If the children disobey him and he cannot handle it in the way he feels is best, he feels disrespected. If this isn’t handled with clear communication and in a way that still affirms his place as head of the home while giving his wife, the biological parent, the final say, he will struggle with feeling disrespected by not being able to handle disobedience his way.
So what should a stepdad do when any or all of these things aren’t shown to him and the result is he feels disrespected? He should act respectful.
The natural tendency when you don’t feel respected is to get angry, demand respect, use your authority to push your weight around, and threaten not to do the things you should do.
This will decrease your self-respect, give your family a reason not to respect you, and cause further problems which in turn will make you feel even less respected.
Continue to do the things you know are right and communicate your needs in a healthy way. Mutual respect in a stepfamily takes time to grow. In the meantime, don’t give your wife and stepchildren actual reasons not to respect you.
Are there other things that contribute to a man feeling respected? Please add them in them in the Comments below.
This post was contributed by Karla Downing, M.A., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author and founder of ChangeMyRelationship. Karla grew up in a dysfunctional family and eventually found herself in a difficult marriage. Through her personal struggles, she discovered biblical and practical principles she now teaches to others to change their lives and relationships.
She has a strong background in recovery through personal involvement and as the leader of a church-based Twelve Step recovery program at Yorba Linda Friends Church, Friends in Recovery. She also teaches these principles to lay counselors, Stephen Ministers, pastors, and Women’s ministry and small group leaders.
Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, misunderstanding, and emotional pain through a correct understanding of what the Bible teaches about relationships.
Her book “When Love Hurts: 10 Principles to Transform Difficult Relationships” will provide you with practical relationship tools to deal with your difficult relationships. Here is the link for more information: http://www.changemyrelationshi