Fathers in Stepfamilies: 3 Do’s and Don’ts

Remarried fathers often struggle with balancing their relationships with their biological children and those with their step children. Fathers feel guilty for spending more time with their step children than with their biological children due to custody arrangements. Biological children get jealous of their stepsiblings for that very reason. Identifying the guilt and working through it is very helpful for both fathers and children.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you strengthen your relationship with the children.

Do’s

  • Do spend time alone with your biological children on a weekly basis, even after you get married. It will help maintain and nurture continuity of your relationship.
  • Do balance your your relationship with your children and your relationship with your wife. It is important that you role model to them how to function in a healthy and happy marriage.
  • Get to know your step children gradually. Be attentive and sensitive to what is important to them. Give them space, and let them set the pace of your relationship.

Don’ts

  • Don’t delegate the discipline of your biological children to their stepmother, your wife. Your children will feel emotionally abandoned, angry, and resentful.
  • Don’t treat your step children differently from your biological children. You may not love them the same, and may not have an established bond with them, but it helps the family’s sense of togetherness when all children are given equal caring and concern.
  • Don’t make any plans for your children with your former wife without first consulting with your present wife. Your marriage needs to be your top priority. You are part of a team. Maintain transparency. It will help your marriage, and prevent misunderstandings and potential manipulations by your ex.

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