How to become a great Step-Dad

A step-family, is a family in which one or both members of the couple have children from a previous relationship. The member of the couple to whom the child is not biologically related is the stepparent, specifically the step-mom or step-dad.

Building a strong, loving relationship with a stepchild can be a challenging task. Many stepfathers find it tough to forge a connection with their stepchildren.

So how can you become a great step-dad?

Don’t try to win them over with gifts, trips to the amusement park, or whatever. First of all, most kids are pretty savvy and will end up using your over-eagerness to manipulate you; second of all, you’ll rest your relationship on a foundation that you can’t possibly keep up — eventually you’ll run out of gifts to give and they’ll start resenting you.

You can also take part in their activities and involve them in yours. Not only will you find some common ground to connect on, but you’ll be able to take part in their development as people, which is what parenting is all about.

Make sure you listen and respond to their concerns. Don’t think you have nothing to learn from them, chances are, they’ll figure this stuff out faster than you and can show you a thing or two about being a step-dad.

Another problem is if you are insisting on being called “Dad”, that is a bad idea. Don’t push it, if the child(ren) want too, then let them, but don’t force them. Act responsibly, be there for the kids when they need you, share their joys and sorrows with them, build them up as much as you can, help them with their homework, offer advice, explain how things work, organize their day, and so on, this is all the things you’d do if you were their natural father.

Finally, you need to forgive them for being difficult, forgive mom for not always lending you a hand when you’re lost, forgive their friends for not understanding your new place in your kids’ home, and most of all, forgive yourself. You are going to make a lot of mistakes, just like I did. And am. And will. Accept that you and everyone else involved will experience failures — learn from them and move on, so you can embrace the joys and rewards of becoming a great step-dad.


Are you a step-dad?  Go to our forums and take a look and talk to other step-dads.


5 thoughts on “How to become a great Step-Dad

  1. The way I see it; although I am not a step-parent, another word for a successful step-parent is mentor. A mentor is there for their mentoree, to lead by example, to listen and respond to their needs, and to be consistent. A parent is a mentor, but more on an emotional level. A step-parent can become more than a mentor too, but that takes time & patience and may never be achieved, which can be hard. That being said as long as there is mutual respect and a good mentorship, then a good, fulfilling relationship can be formed different than that of a traditional parent-child relationship.

  2. This is a great blog. My sister’s husband made the mistake of buying the kids with money and fancy trips. When he had his own children with my sister, they became the focus of the money and trips. I’m not sure if he did this on purpose, or if it was accidental, but to the ones who aren’t his and to the outside world it appears that he cares more for his own than for the other two. I think that the idea that you should treat all kids the same in the household, regardless of blood relation, is an important one in addition to the ideas in this post.

  3. This is a great article as I started dating a girl with a 3 year old about 4 months ago and I am still learning everything as never being a father myself and there is so much to learn.

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