As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we spotlight stepfamilies to learn how they've worked to bring their kids together. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we'll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life! Want to share your story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New to being a stepdad? It's a hard role to adjust to, especially if you didn't have kids before marrying. To help you bring your family together, we gathered the collective wisdom of stepdads that have been featured in our Blended Family Friday series. Read their tried-and-true advice below.
1. Ask for help.
"How things are at one moment won’t necessarily be the way they are six months in the future, a year later, or five years down the road. And really, don’t be afraid to get help. There is nothing wrong with therapy or other avenues to help unite the family." -- Nicholas Golden
2. Save the important family conversations for the morning.
"Trying to discuss things late in the evening, after the boys have gone to sleep and we’re both tired, is a danger zone for us. And when we don’t have the boys, above all else, we spend quality time with each other, allowing our batteries to recharge." -- Carey Fan
3. Keep your expectations reasonable.
"We try hard to be sure all of our children see us as caring parental figures rather than nagging stepparents. We have to make sure our expectations are reasonable given our amount of custody of each child, the child’s age and each child’s emotional needs for stability." -- Martin Cordell
4. Make sure the kids have clothes and school supplies at both houses.
"Small changes at home can make a big difference. I would make sure that the children have clothes and their personal belongings at both houses. It is important for the children to feel like they are at home at both houses. Avoid packing bags because your house will feel like a hotel and not their home." -- Todd Melloh
5. For the kids' sake, try to work with your exes.
"I'd argue that our situation was more stressful when we maintained a separatist attitude with our individual households. I don't feel family-related stress as much as I used to because of the way we've come together as a team." --Prentiss Earl
6. Focus on your marriage but recognize the kids' needs too.
"The key thing to success is to remember to focus on your marriage first. This weekend we did a date night, leaving the kids with their other parents. We also have to remember to focus on the needs of the children, even to our own detriment. We try to address anything they need -- they didn't ask to be put in this situation and shouldn't suffer from it." -- Miko Velez
7. When things get stressful -- or you start to wonder if you and your spouse are cut out for this -- laugh it off.
"No matter how tense a moment might be, if you can get someone to start laughing it becomes contagious. The other go-to stress reliever for our family team is music and singing. Singing often leads to dancing, which sometimes leads to me dancing, which then leads to everyone laughing, and the stress just melts away." -- Matt Robertson
8. Remember that you and your spouse have a right to be happy.
"Follow your heart. Life is short ... It may not be easy, but it will be good. Don’t be afraid to work hard and take the right risks." -- Joe Walko
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